We are all sick of dealing with COVID-19. But we’ll get through it! These tips for drivers will help.
There’s no question that living in a COVID-19 world is really testing us. COVID protocols protect us and keep us on our toes but they’re stressing us too. COVID fatigue is very real; we may be too tired to sanitize our truck cab, weary of distancing ourselves from others, and sick to death of the constant handwashing and mask wearing. It can be tough on us, our families and our friends, many of whom we now see only online. So it’s important to maintain some normalcy by following our regular routines as much as possible.
As professional drivers, staying vigilant in our COVID protocols is important for the long term. We all want to come home safely and not infect our loved ones, or anyone else. COVID safety is particularly important for us as professional drivers travelling to many jurisdictions, including some that have higher infection rates. Reduce COVID fatigue and keep your mental health on track with these tips.
– Stay active: Exercise is a great way to cope with feeling down. A recent Harvard study showed that 15 minutes of higher-intensity exercise, such as running, or an hour of low-intensity exercise like walking, daily prevents depression. And just moving your body—a short brisk walk, stretching, taking the stairs—helps to elevate mood. Get out of your seat and move to clear the cobwebs and feel better about your day. It can be as simple as walking a few laps around your truck. And don’t forget—you need to sleep too.
– Talk with others: Whether it’s a live conversation two metres apart or a video call, discussing how you’re feeling and the difficulties you’re having can be calming and beneficial. Chances are, others are feeling the same frustrations. They may have ideas you’ll find helpful. But don’t let discussions become a session for complaining. Keep it positive and look for ways to get back on track.
– Eat well: Good nutrition plays a role in mental health. Try not to indulge in greasy or sugary snacks when you’re feeling down. Pack healthy snacks such as fruit, veggies, popcorn, unsalted nuts, or pretzels. Pack some healthy lunch items as well and make wise choices at restaurants. New studies show that some foods elevate mood, such as fatty fish, which are high in Omega-3 (salmon, tuna); fermented food that provides probiotics (yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut—sorry, not beer); bananas, which are high in feel-good vitamin B6; and for a treat, a little dark chocolate, which is rich in mood-boosting compounds. And stay hydrated with plenty of water—sorry again, not beer.
– Take a COVID break: Limit how often you look at the news about COVID-19 and avoid checking for updates online. Avoid sharing opinions about COVID; disagreements could just bring all those negative feelings tumbling down again. Taking a COVID break means just that — a break!
– Change your attitude: Remember that the protocols are for protection. Without them, there is the potential for one person, even without symptoms, to spread the virus to more than 100 people. Following the protocols is important, especially if others are not. With recommendations varying in different places, you need to protect yourself, knowing your actions are affecting those you encounter, including family and colleagues. Stay safe. Stay vigilant.
For now, COVID protocols are the new normal. It’s important for your own health and mental wellbeing to commit to them. Adopting these new habits will keep you safe; ultimately you’ll be less stressed and less affected by COVID fatigue.