Six Strategies for Drivers to Reduce Stress on the Road

Author: AnnaBeth Rouse

If you drive for a living, then chances are you’re on the road more often than not.

Although stress is a normal part of everybody’s day, the stress is even greater for truck drivers, as they are away from home, family, and friends for several days or weeks at a time. Here are six easy ways to help reduce stress while traveling on the road.

Move and Stretch as Often as Possible
While you may be eager to reach your destination as soon as possible, it’s important to take breaks. Your body isn’t meant to remain in one position for long periods of time. To help your body relax, stop every couple of hours to stretch and grab some fresh air. This can also be a great time to take bathroom breaks, grab a snack, or fill up with gas.

For those who can’t stop, you can still take little moments to rest. For example, if you’re stopped at a stoplight, take advantage of the time to stretch your legs and back or try shifting your weight a little to help break up the pressure placed on your body. You can also take deep breaths to clear your mind and relax your body. Do this by inhaling slowly through your nose for a count of six or seven and then exhale slowly through your mouth while on a count of eight to nine.

Listen to Podcast/Favorite Music
If you’re alone on the road, it can become quite boring in the car. Listen to podcasts or your favorite music. Podcasts offer the chance to get your brain actively engaging with others. By staying mentally focused on something, you can ignore rising stress levels. Music is also a great way to stay focused and engaged in driving. Soothing music can help ease your stress levels and keep you calm.

Get Adequate Sleep
Not getting enough sleep can lead to higher stress levels. Getting an adequate amount of sleep is vital to your health. It acts as a time to refresh and prepare for the next day. Drowsiness and grogginess can lead to dangers on the road; for example, your reaction time may be hindered, you might begin to drive recklessly, or even fall asleep while driving. All of these things can place you and those around you in significant danger.

If you find yourself becoming tired on the road, stop and rest. If this isn’t possible, then grab an energy supplement to get you through the remainder of your drive. Just remember, these supplements aren’t equivalent to a healthy amount of sleep and will wear off after time. It’s important to only use these in situations where other resources aren’t available.

Plan Your Route
A lot of stress can arise when you’re not sure where you’re destination is. Being lost can be terrifying, frustrating, and definitely stressful. But with today’s technology, it’s relatively easy to get directions. Take advantage of your GPS before you travel. Having a base knowledge of where you need to go will help in the event that technology fails. And don’t forget to check for heavy traffic jams. You might want to plan a course of travel that goes around those heavy traffic areas.

Practice Breathing Exercises
Time on the road is a great time for breathing exercises. Begin by breathing through your nose. You should hold your breath for seven or eight seconds, and then slowly exhale on count nine or ten.

Eat as Healthy as You Can
Good nutrition is proven to reduce stress levels. By eating well, not only will lower your stress level and feel calmer, your diet can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of chronic diseases.

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