5 top tips for maintaining your mental health on the road
Written by Millie Paine
As the coronavirus crisis continues, we’re counting on thousands of professional riders and drivers to keep the nation running - from helping passengers safely complete essential journeys, to delivering food and supplies to the vulnerable and isolated.
Spending a day behind the wheel can be physically and emotionally challenging. And at a time like this - when all of us are keeping a safe distance, and masks have become an essential item - the lack of interaction with others can have a huge impact on how we feel.
For Mental Health Awareness week, we’ve rounded up 5 top tips for maintaining your mental health on the road.
1 - It’s good to talk
Talking with other people is really important for our mental health. Whilst it’s tough not being able to catch up with friends face-to-face at the moment, text messages, phone calls and video chats can help you stay connected with the people you care about. If you’re finding things hard to cope with, and want to talk to someone in confidence, there are resources available to offer you support, and guidance as a keyworker.
2 - Get moving
Finding time to exercise can be tough when you work long hours, but just 30 minutes of exercise a day can help to reduce stress, boost your immune system, and have a positive effect on how you feel. The government suggests walking, jogging, or cycling - but you can also try low impact exercises that can improve flexibility and breathing, like Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong.
3 - Make time to relax
With a very busy working day, and a family life to balance, it can be hard to find time to relax and unwind. But switching off is very important. Setting a time each day where you do something you enjoy - watching TV, gaming, reading, or playing sport - can help you to relax. It’s very tempting to check the news, but limiting the amount of time you spend reading about distressing things can help to improve how you feel.
4 - Get some rest
Getting good, consistent sleep helps your body and mind to recover from the working day. Setting a time to go to bed, and a time to wake up that you keep to each day can improve the quality of your sleep. Doctors recommend that you sleep 6-8 hours a day to ensure your body is well-rested.
5 - Fill up your tank
Your car or scooter won’t run without good quality fuel, and neither will you. Make sure that you eat a balanced diet, at regular intervals to keep your energy up. Sugary, caffeinated drinks can lead to peaks and crashes, and make it hard to sleep - so try to stay away from them if possible. It’s really important to keep hydrated too - try to drink at least 2 liters of water during the day - you can refill water bottles at filling points in most cities.
Remember - you can always ask for help
We all have bad days, and sometimes the thing you need most is to talk with a professional. There are lots of resources available - many of them free - including the wonderful volunteers at Samaritans and Mind. If you feel that you’re having more bad days than good, don’t panic. There is support available to you through your GP, and they are ready and waiting to help.