5 top tips for maintaining your mental health when driving on the road

Written by Millie Paine

Published on

In these challenging times of the coronavirus pandemic, our society leans heavily on the dedication of countless delivery drivers and taxi services like Uber and Uber Eats. These professionals are the unsung heroes, ensuring that essential journeys are completed safely and that food and supplies reach the vulnerable and isolated.

However, spending hours on end behind the wheel, especially during a period where social distancing is paramount and masks are a daily necessity, can be both physically and emotionally taxing. The diminished human interaction can significantly affect one's mental well-being.

In light of Mental Health Awareness week, we've curated a list of 5 essential tips tailored for our drivers to help maintain their mental health while on the road.

1. Stay Connected

While face-to-face interactions might be limited, it's crucial to remember the importance of communication for our mental well-being. Text messages, phone calls, and video chats are excellent ways to stay connected with loved ones. If you ever find yourself struggling, remember that there are resources specifically designed for keyworkers like you, offering support and guidance.

2. Prioritize Physical Activity

Long hours on the road can make it challenging to find time for exercise. However, even just 30 minutes a day can significantly reduce stress and boost your overall mood. Whether it's a brisk walk, a jog, or even low-impact exercises like Yoga or Tai Chi, the key is to keep moving.

3. Dedicate Time to Unwind

Balancing work and personal life can be overwhelming. It's essential to carve out moments in your day dedicated solely to relaxation. Whether it's reading, gaming, or just watching your favorite show, these moments can be a sanctuary. Also, consider limiting exposure to distressing news to maintain a positive mindset.

4. Ensure Quality Sleep

A consistent quality sleep schedule is paramount for physical and mental recovery. Aim for 6-8 hours of sleep daily to ensure you're well-rested and ready for the challenges of the next day.

5. Maintain a Balanced Diet

Just as your vehicle needs quality fuel to run efficiently, so does your body. Ensure you're eating a balanced diet and avoid excessive sugary or caffeinated drinks that can disrupt your sleep. Staying hydrated is equally important; aim for at least 2 liters of water daily.

Remember, It's Okay to Seek Help

Everyone has their off days, and it's perfectly okay to seek professional help when needed. Organizations like Samaritans and Mind are there to support you. If you ever feel overwhelmed, remember that your GP and various other resources are readily available to assist.

Stay safe, stay connected, and remember that your well-being is paramount. How Can Drivers Create a Comfortable Workspace in Their Vehicles?

Creating a comfortable workspace is essential for drivers who spend long hours on the road. Investing in ergonomic seat cushions, ensuring proper lumbar support, and regularly adjusting the seat and steering wheel position can make a significant difference. Additionally, keeping the vehicle clean and organized can create a more positive and stress-free environment.

Are There Specific Mindfulness Practices for Drivers?

Mindfulness practices can be a game-changer for drivers. Simple breathing exercises, where drivers take deep breaths and focus on their breathing for a few minutes during breaks, can help reduce stress. Listening to calming music or guided meditations can also be beneficial, especially during traffic jams or after a challenging delivery.

How Can Technology Assist in Mental Well-being for Drivers?

There are numerous apps and platforms designed to support mental well-being. Drivers can utilize meditation apps like Headspace or Calm during their breaks. Additionally, apps that offer cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, such as MoodKit or Pacifica, can provide tools and insights to manage stress and anxiety on the go.

What Social Networks or Groups Can Drivers Join for Support?

Joining driver communities, both online and offline, can provide a sense of belonging and support. Platforms like Facebook or Reddit have specific groups for delivery drivers and taxi services where members share experiences, tips, and offer encouragement. Local driver associations or meet-ups can also be a great way to connect and share in-person.

How Can Drivers Handle Difficult Customers or Situations?

Handling difficult situations or customers gracefully is a skill every driver can benefit from. It's essential to remain calm, listen actively, and avoid escalating the situation. Taking a few deep breaths, reminding oneself not to take things personally, and seeking support or advice from fellow drivers or supervisors can help navigate these challenges effectively.