Prioritise your mental health within your driving role
Driving heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) can be a demanding and isolating job that presents unique challenges to mental health. The long hours on the road, tight schedules, and physical and mental strain can take a toll on your well-being.
Research from Mind showed that 30% of self-reported illness in the transport and logistics sector is a result of stress, depression, and anxiety.
In this blog, we’ll explore practical strategies to help HGV drivers look after their mental health while on the road.
Adequate sleep is vital for both physical and mental health. Long hours behind the wheel can disrupt your sleep patterns, leading to fatigue and irritability. Establish a sleep routine that ensures you get enough rest before each journey. Quality sleep can improve your alertness, mood, and overall mental wellbeing.
Eating well-balanced meals on the road can be a challenge, but it’s essential for your mental health. Aim to include fruits, vegetables, lean foods, and whole grains in your diet. Avoid excessive caffeine and sugary snacks, as they can lead to energy crashes and mood swings.
Dehydration can affect your concentration and mood. Carry a reusable water bottle with you and make a conscious effort to stay hydrated throughout the day. Proper hydration can help you stay alert and focused on the road.
Driving for extended periods can be mentally exhausting. Ensure you take regular breaks to rest, stretch, and recharge. Use these breaks to clear your mind, take a short walk, or engage in deep breathing exercises. These moments of respite can help reduce stress and maintain your mental wellbeing.
It is also against the law to drive longer than the allocated time, so make sure you stop and rest!
Long hours on the road can lead to feelings of isolation. Stay connected with your work colleagues and/or loved ones through phone calls, video chats, or messaging apps when possible. Regular communication with friends and family can provide emotional support and combat feelings of loneliness.
Mindfulness techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing exercises, can help you stay focused and reduce stress while driving. Take a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness and maintain a calm and centred mindset.
The nature of HGV driving can be stressful, with tight schedules and traffic challenges. Learn effective stress management techniques, such as time management, goal setting, and relaxation exercises. These skills can help you cope with the demands of your job.
Exercise is not only essential for physical health but also for mental wellbeing. Incorporate physical activity into your routine, even when you’re on the road. Simple stretches can help you stay active and release endorphins, which are natural mood lifters.
If you’re experiencing persistent mental health challenges, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. These resources can provide you with the support and guidance you need.
Challenge-trg Group have partnered with Able Futures, who deliver the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service which can give you a mental health professional to talk to about whatever is on your mind.
Familiarise yourself with your routes and plan your journeys in advance. Knowing the road conditions, rest areas, and potential challenges can reduce stress and increase your confidence while driving.
Driving HGV lorries can be a mentally and physically demanding profession, but it’s crucial to prioritise your mental health. By focusing on sleep, nutrition, hydration, regular breaks, and stress management, you can maintain your wellbeing on the road.
Remember that your mental health is as important as your physical health, and taking care of it will ensure you have a safe and fulfilling career as an HGV lorry driver.
If you feel you could benefit from some support with your mental health and wellbeing, call Able Futures on 0800 321 3137 or visit www.able-futures.co.uk to find out more about the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service and sign up online.
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