We all applaud the deeds and efforts of health workers and those at the front line of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic – and rightfully so. One of the groups of pandemic heroes though that are often not recognised are our Truckers who tirelessly and unselfishly have continued to ensure that essential supplies have been delivered, in spite of the health risks that they face.
Stress is a health hazard too!
We recently posted a two-part series on good habits that truckers can adopt to fight health hazards, and not the least of these is stress. The stress of long hours of staying awake, staying alert, staying fit in spite of spending hours cooped up in a confined space – these all take their toll.
So what are some good habits for Tuck Drivers to relieve stress?
Eat and drink well
Just like maintaining general health, stress is greatly reduced by the body being filled with the right nutrients. Foods like Brazil nuts, containing selenium which calms the brain, fatty fish like sardines or salmon which contain omega 3 – and anything high in antioxidants like dark chocolate and green tea – are all good calming agents.
Caffeine, like that, found particularly in coffee and high caffeine drinks, creates mood swings and anxiety, and although many truckers use it to stay awake, it is not a good idea to have too much. Moderate this and drink juice and teas – especially Chamomile tea – which is very soothing.
One of the best ways to control stress is to breathe – nice and easy and deeply. If you find yourself getting very tense, as being on the road can often cause, just breathing in through the nose slowly for the count of eight and then out through the mouth slowly for the count of 10 – can work wonders!
Keep it smooth
Play soothing, calm music on the radio, or listen to any audio that tends to make you relaxed, possibly something spiritual? Just be sure it is not so soothing that it makes you drowsy. Classical music or smooth jazz is always good and will have you smiling at that lunatic that keeps honking at you so he can pass on a blind rise!
As any traveller knows, sitting and concentrating too long can become tiresome and stressful. Even if you pull over into a lay-by from time to time and walk around the truck a few times – try to get some regular exercise breaks. If you are feeling very stressed or anxious, even try a short ‘power nap’ to calm the brain.
Plan ahead and leave on time
They say the biggest stress (and one of the most significant causes of accidents) that Truckers face is the impatience and recklessness brought on by fearing you will not deliver in time. The golden rule for Truckers is to plan your route and the timeline of your trip (allowing for comfortable stops) well in advance.
Don’t leave anything to the last moment and leave in plenty of time to deliver on time. Remember that being late means you won’t take those very important exercise breaks and find it hard to breathe easy.
Drive a reliable vehicle
Knowing you’re in a good, well built, solid, reliable vehicle with a good warranty, gives you a lot of peace of mind and that’s the best way to beat stress. FAW South Africa have been building Freight carriers, Truck tractors, Tippers and Mixers in South Africa, for Africans, for many years – and all come with great warranties and 24/7 backup.
Visit our website, and you could find all manner of great deals on used and brand new vehicles – like the FAW 6.130FL for only R239 000 excl. VAT. (Chassis Cab only). Which means – this 3.5-ton workhorse, complete with a Cummins engine and an optional 3year/180 000km Service Plan could be yours for the price of a 1 ton. This is the lowest cost per ton anywhere!
Stay calm – stay healthy – and especially, stay safe!