Truck driver’s jobs are very demanding, fast paced, stressful and isolating. After years of sitting behind the wheel, you become conditioned to the lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t take its toll on you. Whether you notice it or not, you may be suffering from burnout.
Signs of Burnout
There are many signs of burnout that include physical, emotional and behavioural symptoms:
- Feeling tired and drained most of the time
- Lowered immunity, getting sick a lot
- Frequent headaches or muscle pain
- Change in appetite or sleep habits
- Sense of failure and self-doubt
- Feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated
- Detachment, feeling alone in the world
- Loss of motivation
- Increasingly cynical and negative outlook
- Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment
- Withdrawing from responsibilities
- Isolating yourself from others
- Procrastinating, taking longer to get things done
- Using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope
- Taking out your frustrations on others
- Skipping work or coming in late and leaving early
Dealing with Burnout
Find a healthy work-home balance for your life. As a truck driver, this isn’t always easy because you know if the truck isn’t rolling, you aren’t getting paid. You will have to find a balance that works with your lifestyle and life circumstances. Perhaps that means being away from home a little longer so that you can take more consecutive days in, or perhaps you need to get home more often, so taking shorter runs works better for you.
Make the most of your Off-Duty time and get away from work. It can be hard to separate work time from down time when you’re cooped up in your workspace for 70 hours a week. Sometimes you just need to get out of the truck and away from the truck stops. Grab a cab and check out the local sites, go to a movie or a game, whatever gets you away from work for a little while.
Get a hobby that has nothing to do with the truck, but can be done when you’re in it. Pursuing a hobby that has little or nothing to do with what you spend most of your waking hours doing can give you a satisfying break from the daily grind of your job. Simply shutting down and vegging out with Netflix will add to your listlessness and not help you recover or avoid burnout.
Take your vacation time. So many drivers are guilty of never taking their vacation time because we all know that if the truck isn’t moving, we aren’t making money. Vacation time is important to stop and recharge the old battery. Two weeks away from the truck will do you a world of good and help you avoid burnout.