In my last post I talked about how to mentally prepare yourself for the upcoming holiday season as it applies to making healthy eating choices and sticking to an exercise routine. Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, it’s time to get in gear for Christmas. The holidays can be a stressful time for anyone, but I feel trucker stress is at an all time high through the holiday season because of the type of work we do and the lifestyle we live. So, let’s take a look at some of those added truck driver stresses and how to minimize them, which will help lead to a healthier you and a happier holiday!
Christmas is supposed to be a time spent with family & friends, cherishing the time together and being appreciative of what you have, but more often it turns into a spending spree, last minute shopping to get the “perfect” gift, and hectically running around from here to there without taking a moment to relax & enjoy the moment and this applies to people with a 9-5 job, weekends off and a home life!
For truckers it’s even harder. We can’t just pop into a store or the mall and get our shopping done and getting home time during this season is hard to schedule. Your dispatcher may promise to get you home on a certain day, but we all know how that is…doesn’t always happen as planned. Some other obstacles we face are deliveries that take hours longer than planned or bad weather, both of which delay getting back home to family, which puts tremendous stress on a driver. Some of these things are completely out of your control, but there are some steps you can take to minimize some of the holiday stress.
1. Order gifts Online
I did all of my Christmas shopping online and it was worry free. Many websites offer sales and deals throughout the month of December, not just on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. You can have your packages shipped to your home (or in my case since we live full time in our truck, have them shipped to your nieces house where you’ll be staying for Christmas), and most companies offer free shipping throughout the holidays.
Need Help? If you’re a trucker buying for another trucker or friends and family of a trucker, signing up for this free truck driver gift guide will definitely relieve some stress.
2. Get Organized
I’m a list maker. I’m not ashamed to admit it. This is especially important if you have a spouse or family member living off the road and whom are making holiday plans while you’re out working. Keeping track of events (with something like this handy pocket calendar) to attend and gifts to buy will help minimize stress.
Instead of trying to do it all yourself while working 12+ hour days, delegate a little to friends or family members. Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of others to pick up a special gift, wrap presents or hang up your Christmas lights while you’re away.
4. Learn to say no
If you’re like most truckers your home time is precious and short lived. Don’t over book, learn to say no and make the most out of a few special events vs. running around from one event to the next and truly not taking the time to enjoy it.
5. Be Realistic
Don’t put added pressure on yourself to create the “perfect” holiday for you and your family. Celebrate some personal family traditions and be flexible if things don’t go as planned, especially since your plan to get home may constantly change down to the last minute. If you have a hard time being around your relatives, remember it’s okay to limit your time at family events also.
6. Get Support
The holidays can often trigger depression, especially if you have lost a loved one or are unable to make it home to your family at all, which is common in this industry. Reach out to friends and family members about how you are feeling, make an effort to stay connected through phone calls, emails, Facetime or Skype. Having contact with loved ones can go a long way in lifting your spirits and giving you a sense of belonging verses isolation. If you are unable to schedule time home during Christmas you can always plan a belated celebration in January when things aren’t so hectic, maybe it will even become a new tradition.
7. Lastly, rest up!
Make sure to stay on track with your healthy eating habits, exercise and sleep. Taking care of yourself will help you deal with the holiday stress a lot easier.
BONUS: Keep the Holidays Stress Free for Friends & Family Too
What do you want for Christmas? Inevitably truck drivers will get asked this question by friends and family. The Healthy Trucker has made it simple to answer. Just send them here to see the Top 3 Gifts for Truckers and they can sign up for a free gift guide with tons of suggestions for any budget. Now that’s easy and stress free!
I hope these tips help you have an enjoyable, stress free holiday season! Remember, keep the shiny side up, the rubber side down and make healthy choices!