You may have experienced it.
The job is demanding, fast-paced, stressful… isolating. It may seem exciting at first, but after sitting behind the wheel for years, you begin to become accustomed to the routine, and soon enough you will feel the burnout. This is just normal for anybody — truck drivers are not exempt. There’s always a “honeymoon stage” for every job but after that, reality sets in and you begin to feel some kind of resentment towards your once dream job.
If you want to avoid or overcome truck driver’s burnout, read on.
But first, you must recognize the symptoms. Here are ten obvious signs of burnout:
- An increasingly cynical and negative outlook
- Coming in late and leaving early, or skipping work entirely
- Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment
- Feeling drained or tired most of the time
- Feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated
- Loss of motivation
- Procrastinating, taking longer to get things done
- Sense of failure and self-doubt
- Using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope
- Withdrawing from responsibilities
Now here are five simple ways to avoid, deal with, and overcome burnout.
1. Find a healthy work-life balance.
Right now you might be thinking, “easier said than done.” After all, if your truck isn’t moving, you aren’t getting paid, right? Well, you’ll have to find some balance that works for you and fit in with your life circumstances and lifestyle. Maybe that means being on the road a little longer so you can take more consecutive days off. Or perhaps you may need to get home more often? Then taking shorter runs may be the way to go.
2. Start a hobby that can be done when you’re in your truck.
When you pursue a hobby that’s unrelated to your work, you give yourself a break from the daily grind. But when you simply shut down and just binge-watch Netflix, that might just be adding to your listlessness. It might not help you avoid burnout and recover faster.
3. Plan and implement a regular and consistent routine.
If possible, get on a scheduled run with a more predictable schedule. It’s a great way to avoid burnout. Your sleeping pattern will be more consistent and there will be no risk of you falling asleep behind the wheel.
4. Maximize the time when you’re off-duty.
For some, that means getting out of the truck and away from truck stops. For a change of pace, grab a cab and check out the local sites. Or maybe go to a game or a movie — whatever gets you away from work even for a little while.
5. Don’t feel guilty about taking that occasional vacation.
Many drivers never take vacations because of the thought that if the truck isn’t moving, you aren’t making any money. But taking a vacation is essential. It helps you recharge. Even a week or two away from the truck will do wonders for your health and helps you avoid burnout.
The Bottom Line
Burnout is a sad reality for many truck drivers. If it hasn’t caught up with you, good for you! But that doesn’t mean that you’re not at risk. By following the simple tips mentioned above, you will maintain both your health and your sanity. Not only that, you’ll enjoy your job a whole lot more!