2020 and 2021 have been difficult so far – especially for our HGV drivers who have been working tirelessly throughout this pandemic. Furthermore, Monday 18th January has been dubbed as “Blue Monday”, the most ‘depressing’ day of the year. At The Barnes Group, we recognise the importance of looking after your mental health as well as your physical health and aim to make next Monday just another day of the week.
Here’s some of our advice on how to take care of your mental health as an ever-important HGV driver.
Brew Up & Have Conversations
Instead of recognising “Blue Monday”, the Samaritans are running a campaign called “Brew Monday” which encourages us to enjoy a relaxing cup of tea, coffee or any drink you choose and have a virtual conversation with a friend, family member or co-worker. A problem shared is a problem halved and talking out issues can really help to clear your head, even if there isn’t something specific bothering you. You can find out more about Brew Monday on the Samaritans website.
Keep Active Responsibly
In between drives be sure to take a few moments to get a few steps in and some fresh air in the lungs. Moderate exercise is clinically proven to be a mood booster, it stimulates the production of endorphins, that are chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators. Remember to exercise responsibly in line with government guidelines.”
Switch Off, Wind Down
A consistent flow of negative news and tension is no good for mental health, so you may want to switch off your smartphones and even your TV for a few hours a day to get a well-needed break. Instead, why not enjoy a good book or some light exercise? Even taking just a small amount of time away from screens can have such a positive impact on your mental health. A great time to practice this might be the time between when you return home from work and going to bed. Try it and see if it makes a difference.
Take A Look At Your Diet
If you’re feeling a bit off, it might be worth taking a look at your diet and seeing where some changes can be made. Cutting back on added sugar can help keep your blood sugar levels stable, which can help balance your energy levels throughout the day. Magnesium has been shown to help alleviate headaches and fatigue too, which can help improve your overall mood. As an HGV driver, why not try bulk cooking healthy lunches to enjoy on your breaks whilst on the road. You can find out more about what foods to eat, and what to avoid, to manage stress by clicking here.
Appreciate The Outdoors
As an HGV driver, you’ll be on the road a lot and also have the chance to get outdoors too. Just being outside, especially when the sun is shining, is proven to boost both your serotonin and endorphin levels, both of which are known as “happy hormones”. Where you can, take a minute to breathe in the fresh air and embrace mindfulness.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to looking after your mental health as an HGV driver, but one of the most important things is knowing where you can find additional resources should you need them. Here are just some of the organisations that we’d recommend for more information…
Mind | https://www.mind.org.uk/ | 0300 123 3393
Samaritans | https://www.samaritans.org/ | 116 123
OCD UK | www.ocduk.org | 0333 212 7890
Anxiety UK | www.anxietyuk.org.uk | 03444 775 774
CALM | www.thecalmzone.net | 0800 58 58 58
Men’s Health Forum | https://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/beatstress.uk