Driver burnout is a real problem that many drivers don’t want to admit experiencing. The long hours, loneliness, stress, traffic, all of it can get to a driver and make him want to leave a job that he once enjoyed.
Causes of Driver Burnout
Usually, it’s not the job itself that leads to driver burnout but rather, specific aspects of it.
Lack of Real Downtime. Instead of being able to do something relaxing during downtime at home, time off is usually spent in the cab of the truck or in truckstops. A day off on the road is not the same as a day off at home.
Drivers Are Overworked. Because drivers are paid by the mile, they need to be constantly moving to make money. Even with HOS restrictions, drivers spend long hours without breaks to meet strict deadlines.
Lack of Sleep. Sleeping on the road can be tough. Truck stops can be noisy and sleep schedules irregular. Often a driver’s sleep habits are just sleeping whenever they can. Not getting a full 8 hours a night can lead to problems with both mental and physical health.
Signs of Driver Burnout
Signs of driver burnout may be brushed off as being tired and needing a vacation but it can be more serious than that. Some signs include irritability, insomnia, getting sick frequently, exhaustion, obesity, and signs of depression. One of the most obvious signs of driver burnout is not wanting to drive anymore. A burnt-out driver may dread getting behind the wheel of their truck, a job they used to love. Once they do get in the truck, they may take frequent breaks or spend lots of time at truck stops, not for rest but as a way of avoiding the job. The next step is quitting altogether.
How To Get Over It
Driving a truck is not an easy lifestyle. If there was a time that the job made you happy and you’d like to get that feeling back, you may be able to overcome your burnout and enjoy driving again.
Take regular days off each week. This may not be easy but if you can swing it, having regular days off at home will give you something to look forward to each week and your mind and body will get used to the routine.
While on the road, take breaks. Again, it may not always be easy, but it’s important for your mind and body to relax during a hectic day.
Try a regular route. Having a regular route with regular stops can help your body get into a regular pattern of sleep.
Take time off. A vacation, even if it’s spent at home can recharge your batteries and give you something to look forward to. It’s better than being forced to take time off because you’ve burned out and made yourself sick.
Make time for exercise. Regular exercise will help fight obesity, depression, and a whole bunch of other health problems.
Eat healthy foods. A healthy diet goes hand-in-hand with exercise to make your mind and body strong and healthy.
Get a hobby. Nourishing your interests will give you something to think about instead of only the job. If it’s one that can be done in your truck, even better!
Occupy your mind. Listen to something stimulating like audiobooks or podcasts. They’ll pass the time while entertaining you or teaching you something.
Get help. A therapist can help you work through your issues that may be causing your burnout and help you find the right path forward.
Driver burnout can ruin your driving career. By taking a proactive approach and keeping some of the usual causes of driver burnout in check, you may be able to have a long and rewarding driving career without burnout.
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