May 29, 2023Mental Health Awareness for Truckers
May was Mental Health Awareness Month, highlighting the importance of maintaining our mental well-being. For truckers, many stigmas surround mental health, discouraging the want for help, and can lead to emotions and psychological stress being buried or pushed to the side. This month is about encouraging the normalcy of talking about mental health, learning about what it means, and providing access to help for those who want it.
What is Mental Health?
Mental health refers to our psychological, emotional, and social well-being, and our state affects what we think and feel and whether we handle stress and make choices effectively. Issues can affect mood, thinking, and behavior, making it critical to keep our brains healthy. About one in every five adults lives with a mental health illness, making it a prevalent issue that can be brought on by something as simple as sleep problems.
The spectrum of mental health issues is broad and can range from being a minor nuisance to something that inhibits your ability to function in everyday life. Disorders can range from different levels of anxiety and depression to PTSD, ADHD, eating disorders, and more.
Common Misconceptions About Mental Health
Raising awareness about mental health also involves correcting the stigma around it. Brain disorders such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis are neurological, physically affecting the brain, and are often miss-categorized under mental health disorders. Although maintaining good mental health will help calm the effects of these disorders, it’s a common misconception that having mental health issues means you have a neurological condition.
Any person on all ends of the success scale can suffer from mental health issues, and the effects can present themselves discreetly, such as road rage, exploding at loved ones, avoiding social interactions, or losing interest in things you usually like to do. Not all issues are as obvious as others, and it may take some time to realize how they affect our lives.
How Can Truckers’ Mental Health Be Affected?
For truckers, it’s crucial to maintain a state of good mental health because life on the road can be hard work at times. Not everyone has what it takes to become a truck driver, and spending hours on the road away from social interactions can negatively affect mental health. Not getting adequate sleep can also affect your mental state, so try to find some shut-eye any chance you get if you don’t usually get enough.
Mental health can also be affected when dealing with homesickness, which is common if you work on the road. Stress is also a mental stressor, negatively affecting our bodies in more ways than one, and should be avoided at all costs.
How Can Truckers Prevent or Treat Mental Health Issues?
With everything present in our daily lives that are set up for mental failures, such as long work hours, and less social interaction, it may be challenging to try to prevent or even help cure some effects that mental health issues might be having on you. If you’re having a problem functioning in your day-to-day life due to issues with your mental state, treatment is available in the form of medication or psychological therapy.
Some people can’t afford therapy or are looking for more holistic approaches, which is a great place to start if you have reservations about seeking help. A great way to heal your mind and soul is to turn to nature, whether walking in the park or hiking in the woods. Finding ways to be more active is vital for truckers physically and psychologically, and finding a place to take a walk in nature would be a two-for-one deal.
Taking a vacation, especially when things start to feel overwhelming, can be a very healing experience. Take a quick vacation to Palm Springs, where you can spend a few days but still feel like you’ve had a solid getaway. Don’t shy away from social interactions while on the road. Truckers often build particular communities and relationships with those they usually see, which helps prevent negative stress on our social well-being.
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