It's a Team's Life

Mental Health and The Reality of Driver Burnout

By Millennials in Trucking
Posted Mar 2nd 2023 10:00AM

Mental health has been much less stigmatized within the millennial generation. In fact, you can frequently overhear conversations between us regarding mental health; where we will go as far as sharing tips and insight from recent therapy sessions, bonding over triggers, and sharing our stories of ways we've learned how to better process those past traumas. We aren’t ashamed to discuss these issues, because we inherited just as much of the culture as we did the industry.

Now we’re trying to fix it, and the best way to start is by talking about it.

Mental Health Millennials in Trucking Blog

Truck drivers suffer the highest rates of mental and physical exhaustion. The truck driver turnover rate in 2019 was at 91%, estimating that a mere 9 of every 100 new drivers would stay in the industry. We have a long list of issues in the trucking industry, but one of the root causes for this high turnover rate was driver dissatisfaction. So if you really love trucking, see yourself in it for the long haul, and want to lessen the load of your burnout before it drives you to hang up the keys - you have to start with you as the driver.

Driver burnout is real, and we’ve all felt it at one time or another. You finish the week, just to end up laying in bed all weekend - only getting up for snacks or to pick up a mobile food order at best. Finding the motivation to do your laundry, tidy up your truck, or taking the dogs out, all of a sudden feels like a burden. These days will happen - allow yourself to have a bad day, it's okay. Be lazy and don’t feel bad for it - you need the rest.

We know that trucking is a balancing act because home time isn’t always timely, or even certain at some points. So setting aside time for therapy, your hobbies, or some self-care can seem like a daunting task with more reason not to do it. We’re here to tell you however, you can do these things over the road, and we hope we can convince you as to why you should.

We are more than thankful for today’s technology, as it opened the door to telehealth so now there are multiple sources for therapy on the go. A few companies we can personally recommend are DrOnDemand and Teladoc. Both of these platforms allow you to have video and/or phone calls with licensed psychologists, or psychiatrists if you need medicinal treatment in addition to talk therapy.

Start to implement gratitude and refocus your energy on self-care. Treat yourself to a manicure and/or pedicure at a salon, or splurge and go for a full body massage at the spa. Get out of the truck, save money, avoid people, and connect with nature and go camping or find a nice walking path in a local park, an all around win. Then on days when you’re feeling unmotivated, or just down overall - remind yourself of all of the things you’re grateful for. You can even start a gratitude journal, and on those bad days when you feel like you can’t find a reason to be thankful, you can reread what you’ve written on days before, and it can come as a small reminder that the moment is temporary.

Reconnect with your hobbies by making them mobile and taking them with you on the road. Do you have a love for exercise? Kettle bells, dumbbells, and resistance bands are some of the easiest pieces of workout equipment to pack on the truck. Love photography? Grab your DSLR, GoPro, or your drone, and find the best area near you with the subject you love to photograph most. Or maybe you’re more a gamer? Draw the curtains and get lost in your favorite video games! Maybe you’re a foodie or grill master? Find yourself a portable grill or slow cooker that best fits your needs, pack it into your toolbox, and treat yourself to a home cooked meal in your down time. Make the road your home, because that's where you're spending most of your time.

It’s easy to lose yourself over the road, but we want you to stay en route. Before you log yourself into the sleeper and head back to the bunk, we want to remind you to show yourself compassion. Allow yourself that time to decompress, to breath, to accept your mistakes, to grow, to heal, and to better enjoy the roads trucking can take you on.

We live life with a “day by day” or “one mile at a time'“ mentality, and we challenge you to as well.

There are resources readily available for you when you’re ready to take the journey to improve your mental health - you can start with the National Alliance on Mental Health, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or the Trevor Project, specialized in helping our LGBT community.

If you or someone you know, is struggling or in crisis, help is available and you are not alone.

Call or text 988.

As a reminder, please feel free to write into us with any questions or topics you'd like us to cover - you can even do so anonymously.


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