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Trucking Through The Holidays: How To Manage Life On The Road This Season
Taking care of business through the holidays is hard for everyone, but truck drivers especially are facing a lot of pressure and schedules which take them away from home and loved ones. This time of year highlights how lonely the job is, and how much truckers sacrifice to make goods and necessities available to everyone who needs them. While receiving a little appreciation is important, so is getting through this holiday season. This time of year requires some planning and thinking outside the box to get by a little easier. No matter where you are headed, here are a few small ways you can adjust your routine to make trucking a little more enjoyable and a little less lonely this holiday season:
Use Technology To Bridge The Distance
It is very difficult to be away from home during the holidays, but in this modern age drivers can connect with loved ones through a quick click or two. If you are working through the holiday season, you can try to use Facetime, WhatsApp, Skype, Duo (Android) or even Zoom to get in touch with your loved ones. It may not be the same as being home, but it helps the holidays pass a little more easily. These apps require Wi-Fi service, but luckily most truck stops are equipped for this already, which allows you to utilize these resources when you are on the road.
Eat Like It’s a Holiday
Being away from home is difficult enough, but having to rely on your stash of food or gas station offerings can be a bit grim. Use this holiday season to take up some holiday meals, which are offered at a variety of places across the nation this month. Truck stop chain restaurants tend to offer seasonal holiday dinner options. You may want to RSVP as some of these are on an RSVP basis, depending on where you are headed.
A quick search will let you know where the nearest place to you will be offering a holiday feast. Even if not directly advertised as a holiday dinner, you can also find your favorite holiday staples at local diners, if you are in the area of one.
Consider The Long Term
Though you may be missing holiday season with your family this month, you can always reschedule and take some time another week, to spend time with them and celebrate. Remember that you don’t have to be right on schedule to celebrate holidays, make your own family traditions when your schedule permits.
January is a slower season in terms of freight, so you won’t be missing out on much money if you take some time off and go home. If you are pushing hard during November and December, then January and February may be months you can find some downtime and family time in. The money you have made during this peak season can help make up for any time taken off in January. Traditional dates are a good anchor for celebrations, but they do not have to be ones you are tied down to.
Make It Feel Like Christmas
While it is not easy to be working when everyone else is enjoying home, you can still add a bit of cheer and celebration to your trip as well! Consider decorating your truck or cab, and adding some lights or festive décor. Just be sure not to violate safety regulations, with any external decorations. You can usually pick up affordable décor at even the local dollar store, which will allow you to make it feel a little easier on the road. Make a playlist or find holiday tunes that you enjoy, to add a little more cheer. Onlookers are going to be thrilled and enjoy your rig no matter where you go, which will help you connect with a larger community of people.
Don’t Miss Out On Sleep
This peak season time period requires a lot more energy, especially given the cold weather and stress of the job. It is important to give yourself proper breaks, in order to keep your energy and immune system at its best. Sleep is essential not only for focus and working, but also your mental health. The more rested you are, the easier it is to deal with the day to day grind and all the stress that results from driving long hours with tight delivery schedules.
Bridge the Gap Between Your Two Worlds (When Possible)
While this is not always the case, some companies do allow for drivers to bring along a family member for a brief period of time, if it is arranged or discussed ahead of time and the proper forms are filled out. The motor carrier has to allow and clear this event. However, if you have a loved one who would love to tag along for a few days with you as you run your loads, it may help create a sense of comfort and make things feel different. Some companies are stricter on these rules due to insurance and safety liability, so check with yours. Make sure to discuss this with your company ahead of time and that proper clearance is completed. If this is not the case, consider bringing your pet or a furry companion with you as you complete your holiday trips, it will make things feel a little less alone and give you something to focus on in your off-duty time.
Share the Season With Your Fellow Drivers
Nobody understands a trucker better than another truck driver. This season, you can redefine the term family and create a small extended work family of your own, where you can celebrate with other drivers either by exchanging small gifts, or time together. You can spend time locally or at a truck stop driver’s lounge. This shared experience will make it feel less lonely than if you were to go at it alone. Get out of your cab and talk to those around you, or even share a meal. Share stories or photos of your family or loved ones. It is a lonely time to be on the road, so don’t be afraid to network and connect with other drivers who share your same situation.
Find Your Silver Lining
It is not easy to sacrifice so much and consistently miss out on time with loved ones, but there are ways to make things easier to deal with. The most important thing to consider and keep in your mind is the reason why you are working so hard, and what your silver lining or reason for doing the job is. Perspective is important. Knowing why this is a priority for you, can help ease the feelings of loneliness and feeling left out during the holidays. Consider how your effort is benefiting your loved ones, future plans you have with them and the reason you started in the first place. This may help keep you in better spirits during this period, despite the difficulties of the season.
Ask For Help When Needed
It is stressful enough to do the job of a truck driver, let alone work during some of the most home and family oriented holidays. Do not be afraid to take some time to stop, rest and recharge. You can also reach out to your trucking community either online or in person, and ask for help when the stress becomes too much. Mental wellbeing is important, and during the winter months it can put a strain even the toughest of drivers.
Remember this time of year is a difficult time for everyone in our industry. It’s the time of year when we all remember those we love, and feel grateful for everything that’s good in our life. It’s also a reminder to be kind to others. It’s important that trucking companies stay connected with drivers and families during these times. Truck drivers are the unsung heroes of our economy. The team at Zipments.io would like to thank all the drivers out there for your dedication, hard work and sacrifice. Have a safe season!