SHARP AS A TACK – MENTAL FITNESS ON THE ROAD
One of Australia’s highest employing industries is automotive and transportation. But recent studies back what Australian truck drivers have been saying for a good while, that supply chain demands are unreasonable and there needs to be drastic change to support Australia’s hardworking truck drivers.
Truck driving does entail a range of stresses, some of which are unique to the industry and some that are more universal to high stress, autonomous working environments.
It can be hard to speak up when you’re feeling down and out, and your body and mind can suffer as a side effect of demanding and labour-intensive work. The industry has seen it fair share of ‘burn-out’ under the pressures of supply chain demands along with lack of community, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
There are a range of proactive steps we can take before it gets to a point of no return and it’s critical to have an awareness of our overall mental wellness. Even this recognition can lead to a less anxious mindset, and the effects of simply a changed outlook can flow through your entire life.
Here are a few ways to improve your mental fitness…
KEEPING YOUR MIND ACTIVE
We all know how easy it is to simply switch off during longer stints behind the wheel, however keeping your mind occupied and engaged can be key to improving and maintaining good mental fitness.
Try switch up your usual radio station to a podcast. The conversational tone can be relaxing, not to mention informative and thought provoking. Studies show that learning new things leads to a sense of wellbeing and accomplishment.
Audiobooks are a growing way to consume literature too. Your favourite TV series is most likely based on a novel, which is just as entertaining when consumed through your ears and on the clock.
Schedule handsfree phone calls to catch up with family, friends, and co-workers in the industry. Staying in touch with our community improves our sense of connectedness and fulfillment.
This is an important one, as it works both ways. In most cases, we all love to hear from an old mate or family member, and the spontaneity of this act can have lasting effects at both ends of the handset.
MAINTAIN A HEALTHY DIET
Easier said than done when out on the road – managing a decent diet can be one of the hardest things to do when driving, as it requires a degree of forethought and planning.
A few extra minutes in the supermarket and some meal preparation before a long trip can make a huge difference to your body and have a massive knock-on effect with your mental fitness.
An esky in the cab, stacked with healthy meal options and plenty of fruit – can make a big difference to your mental wellness as you fuel your body with high powered nutrients. There’s also a range of new brands offering balanced meals with controlled quantities to ensure you know exactly what you’re putting in.
If you need to grab something on the go, there’s an emergence of healthier food options appearing along our well-worn truck routes, so the more customers they attract, the more likely they are to flourish with more options and increased variety.
Isolation from family and friends is one of the biggest complaints professional truck drivers have. Luckily, technology offers new solutions to achieve connectivity with friends, family, and community.
Messaging apps and social media have made it easier than ever to keep in touch with those in our lives. Sometimes a quick call or even a message exchange can turn your day around.
People who stay in close contact with their loved ones’ report feeling less isolated and more engaged. If you’re missing someone, take the step to reach out or schedule in phone or video chats. If you are missing them, then they are more than likely missing you as well.
The best thing to do if you’re feeling emotional strain or mental fatigue is to talk. Not everyone has access to people who they feel they can discuss their stresses and concerns with and if this describes your situation, consider using foundations such as Gotcha4Life.
Created in 2017 by media personality, Gus Worland, Gotcha4Life is dedicated to encouraging people to lend an ear to those who need a friend or an outlet to discuss what’s going on.
“Our mission is to improve mental fitness in Australia, and we want everyone to have a ‘Gotcha4Life Mate’—a go-to person that you can rely on and talk to about anything when times are tough, so no one has to worry alone,” Gus explained.
Through promoting and building mental fitness, Gotcha4Life aims to engage, educate and empower communities on how to have healthier conversations.
Many people have reported increased strain on their minds and emotions since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020. Whether you have been directly or indirectly impacted, it is normal to feel overwhelmed and under pressure with daily changes and challenges with what’s going on.
One of the best avenues for dealing with this is talking, communication and sharing what’s on your mind. Foundations like Gotcha4Life are a fantastic avenue to access mental fitness programs, workshops, and training to develop the skills to support yourself and your community.
Take action now with Gotcha4Life – make a list of the important people in your life, your mates, and your go-to people you can talk to no matter what. Reach out and reconnect with them, your village/community, and build the mental fitness around you.
To learn more about the programs launching this year with Isuzu read on for the exciting events coming your way in 2022.