Your health
Everyone is having fun this summer but you

By Buck Black, LCSW, LCAC

It’s finally warm. Moods are lifting, and things are a bit more tolerable. Many drivers discuss how they are so relieved that they no longer have to deal with the snow and other winter headaches. Research supports the idea that people are happier in the warmer weather, especially if they enjoy the activities summer has to offer.

Now, here is the downside to the warmer weather. Unfortunately, I frequently hear drivers tell me how depressing it is to pull up to a travel plaza and see campers, boats and vans full of families who are clearly on vacation. This often brings up vivid memories of the good old days or just plain jealousy. Some drivers are able to take time off and join in the fun. However, as you know, many drivers cannot afford to take time off at all.

If you are in the situation where you are unable to take time off, be careful of your thinking. It is very easy to focus on the negatives.

The much bigger challenge is to focus on the positives in life. Many people quickly forget the things they have to be grateful for, such as their health, the fact that they have people who care for them, and that they are not homeless. Most likely, they are living a better quality of life than their parents.

It is important to remember that vacations do not cure all of life’s problems. It is easy to be jealous when seeing others vacationing and having fun. However, many people on vacation cannot afford it or this is a rare event for them. We often assume that the rest of the world is having fun without us. However, that is likely not the case. People always want the next best thing. Therefore, we must remember these vacationers are not necessarily the happiest people in the world.

You are probably seeing the highlights of their life, and it may very well look more enjoyable than it truly is.

There are many drivers who find ways to get bigger returns on their efforts so they are not stuck in their truck all summer long. They may be able to have a side business that they run out of their truck or find other creative ways to increase their income. A good work ethic is important, but working smarter is what gets people ahead. Use the frustration of seeing others having fun as a motivator to be able to have time off, instead of letting yourself become negative. Invest in yourself and/or your business to find ways to have more freedom.

Life is about balance. You need to have time off, but you also need to work for a living. Responsibility and dedication are the keys to being a professional driver. Do your work to the best of your ability and find a way to make your life enjoyable and fulfilling. Remember, home time and vacations are a way of investing in yourself and your sustainability as a driver. If you do not have the ability to take time off, then you do have the options of enjoying the little things in life. LL

Tips to use the warm weather to boost your mood:

  • Walk outside whenever you get the chance.
  • If you have a camping grill, use it outside.
  • Keep a fishing pole in your truck (and use it in the state(s) where you have a fishing license).
  • If you can afford some home time, go for it.
  • Distract yourself with positive podcasts (free) or audiobooks.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk about your frustrations.
  • Make a goal to have some fun this summer. It’s important to have something to look forward to. You can keep it simple, affordable and enjoyable.

What are some tricks you use to de-stress? Tweet me: @TruckerTherapy

Buck Black is a licensed clinical social worker therapist who specializes in helping truckers and their families with anger and stress management, as well as depression and relationship problems. He does this over the phone, and Skype at TruckerTherapy.com. This column is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Land Line Magazine or its publisher. Please remember everyone's health situation is different. If you have questions regarding medical issues, consult your personal physician.