Keeping the Holiday Spirit.
Not even Santa logs as much time as truck drivers over the holidays. It can be pretty lonely out there. Try these tips for keeping spirits bright.
The holiday season is no holiday for many in the transportation industries. Consumer goods still need to be trucked so we can give and receive gifts. Food still needs to be transported so we can enjoy our holiday feasts. In fact, the seasonal demand for transport is much greater than during the rest of the year, so truck drivers may work even harder during the holidays.
You may cope well with separation from family and friends throughout the year but feel especially alone during the festive season. It can seem like everyone else is celebrating while you’re stuck out in the cold.
This year, COVID-19 is compounding our stress; lockdowns, social distancing and mask-wearing are the new normal, and the virus threatens from everyone we meet and everything we touch. Truck stops and restaurants may be closed. Extra precautions mean even more work for drivers. Staffing shortages in businesses may mean loading or unloading delays.
This year’s holiday season will be a test of spirit and resilience. Don’t let it get you down. Try these suggestions.
1. Stay active. Research shows that physical activity can help reduce depression and anxiety, improve how you react to stress, and build resilience. In fact, inactive men are 60% more likely to experience depression than active men. Being more active improves overall physical and mental health, which will help you cope with whatever this winter throws at you.
2. Take care of your mental health. Addressing Driver Mental Health During Covid-19 Crisis points out that under normal circumstances, professional truck drivers experience mental health issues more than people in most other occupations: “The very nature of the driving profession accounts for increased feelings of isolation, loneliness, and depression.” If you feel unable to cope, help is available. Talking with someone—a friend, family member, or professional—will help. You may wish to start with resources from SafetyDriven.ca:
3. Stay in touch with loved ones. Do whatever you can to feel close to those who are important to you. They want to know that you’re thinking about them and you need to feel included in their lives. Technology is your friend in this effort; stay in touch by phone, email, text, Skype, Zoom, Facebook, or WhatsApp. Keep favourite photos or videos of your family on your phone so you can see their faces when you feel alone.
4. Connect with other people daily. Take the opportunity to meet safely with those who share your road. Wearing masks and being two metres apart doesn’t mean you can’t chat. Try to have at least one social interaction each day to avoid loneliness. While you’re talking with other drivers, be sure to listen too. Lending an ear or offering a few words of encouragement could make someone else’s day. It will give you a lift as well.
5. Be flexible and positive. Don’t obsess about being at home on certain dates; if you can’t be there, fretting about it won’t improve the situation. Celebrate with your loved ones on a different date. Your family may actually enjoy getting to have two Christmases! Try to see the positives in your life and let go of the negatives. SafetyDriven’s Focus on What You Can Control Right Now is a good place to start.
We’d like to hear from you! How does your holiday season look? Do you have ways of coping with separation from family and friends during the holidays? Will COVID-19 change your plans or affect your celebrations? Please share your stories at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d also like to receive your nomination of a driver to be featured during Driver Appreciation Week 2021: https://safetydriven.ca/driver-appreciation/