Alone On The Road – Beating The Loneliness Of Driving Jobs
Driving jobs appeal to many people. If you love driving, enjoy the freedom of being out on the open road and hate the idea of sitting behind a desk 9-5, you might consider finding work as a driver. The more social among us tend to focus on short-distance driving, or driving the public. Many people today work as freelance drivers, driving people as taxi drivers or chauffeurs, or delivering food and parcels. Some even work as a driver in their spare time, making a little extra money around their careers and enjoying getting to chat with different people every day. Some driving jobs are remarkably social and a great way to meet a vast variety of people.
Other driving jobs are lonely. If you don’t like working with other people and prefer to spend your time working alone, you might be tempted by long haul driving. HGV drivers can spend anything between a few hours and weeks at a time on the road. Some, drive across relatively small areas and others drive across the world.
In the early days, this kind of long-distance driving can be appealing. It gives you time on your own, away from distractions and the stress of life. Being alone on the road can be a great chance to get in touch with yourself. It can be calming, exciting, and a fantastic way to spend time on your own, which is something that many of us crave.
But, even those people that like the idea of spending long periods on their own find that in time, they become lonely. Working on the road can lose its appeal, and this loneliness can start to hurt their mental health. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can beat the loneliness of being alone in your cab so that you can fall back in love with your driving job.
Take Care of Yourself
Loneliness often hits us hardest when we aren’t feeling our best. When we’re tired, ill, depressed or otherwise not feeling 100%, we need support, and we crave the company of our loved ones. Take care of yourself to minimize these periods of poor health. Try to get into the best sleeping routines you can, eat a healthy and balanced diet, even when you are on the road, take vitamin supplements to give your energy levels and immune system a boost, and try to exercise as much as possible.
Be Prepared for Each Journey
Take time to prepare for your journeys. Ask your employer about using a Watchcard to make refilling your fuel easier, safer and more convenient. Look at maps and plan routes. Make sure you are aware of any hazards that could run into and any changes to your route. Check weather forecasts, if you will have overnight stops, make sure you know where you will be staying and what you need. Preparing for each trip can help you to feel more comfortable and safe, which is a big help when fighting loneliness.
Stay in Touch with Home
Before you leave for any trip, make a plan to keep in touch with home. Decide with your partner, your parents, other family members and friends how you are going to stay in touch. Make plans for when you will call, or promise to send a good morning and good night text, every day, no matter what else is happening. This will help you to beat your own loneliness, but it will also keep your loved ones happy, and help with their loneliness.
Take a Friend
Research shows that drivers are often happier, more relaxed, less likely to have an accident or suffer from mental health problems if they have a pet on the road with them. More and more companies are allowing, or even encouraging their drivers to take a pet out on the road.
Your employer might even be happy for you to take your spouse or a friend on the road.
Of course, if they work, or if you have children, this might not always be possible. But, even if someone can join you occasionally for small chunks of your drive, it can be a big help.
Create Plenty of Playlists
Spotify and other streaming platforms don’t just play music. They also allow you to build playlists. Create lists for all of your moods, or to match your locations and what you will be able to see. You might also want to save podcasts that make you smile, motivate you or help you to relax.
Another option is a playlist of TV shows. You and your partner can binge-watch the same shows on Netflix while you are on stops, and talk about them later. Entertainment can be a great way to keep a strong connection with home.
Make Plans for Home
Spend some time on the road thinking about what you are going to do when you get home. Try to make some plans to give yourself something to look forward to and even spend time during your stops booking tickets to surprise your partner when you get back.
Chat When You Stop
As a long-distance driver, you will soon become very familiar with roadside stops, service stations, and cafes. But, the temptation can be to run in, do what you need to and get back on the road. You won’t know anyone there, and you might want to get on with your trip. Fight loneliness by chatting at stops, even if it’s just trading pleasantries with the people serving you.
Join a Community
You certainly aren’t alone when it comes to feeling lonely on the road. There are truckers and other drivers all over the world, feeling exactly the same. Get to know other drivers, both in real life and online. Join communities, make friends and talk to people. You might start to find yourself recognizing people at stops.
Pack Home Comforts
Packing a few home comforts can remind you of home, make you feel more comfortable and help you to relax and sleep on overnight stops. You might even want to take your own pillow and blanket.
Don’t Forget to Stretch
You are bound to miss home more if you are uncomfortable. Before settling down for a drive, stretch your limbs. Take your time to move your whole body. Then, when you stop for the day, stretch again, or even practice some relaxing yoga to help to avoid aches and pains.
Talk to Yourself
Talking to yourself isn’t the first sign of madness. Sometimes, we just need to hear a voice or vocalize our thoughts. If you are on your own, talking to yourself can be a useful way to unwind and destress.
Work on Your Confidence
We tend to feel less lonely if we are happier and more confident with ourselves. If you are often lonely, and it’s starting to affect your enjoyment of your job, it might be because you aren’t happy with your own company. Working on your confidence can help to ease your symptoms and make you feel more in control.
Appreciate the Sights
Try to see the positives of what you do. Enjoy the sights, appreciate the peace. Enjoy seeing parts of the world that other people might not, and spend time trying to spot interesting things.
Of course, for some, the loneliness is too much. They try different coping mechanisms, they do what they can to take their mind off it, and still, they suffer. If you are very lonely, and nothing that you do is helping, perhaps it’s time to speak to your employer about driving shorter distances or looking for alternative employment.
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