Stay Strong: Tips to keeping good physical and mental health in the midst of COVID-19
As COVID-19 continues to spread, we want to thank, thank, thank, thank our truck drivers who are out on the front lines, ensuring the supply chain continues to move so that shelves can be restocked and much needed medical supplies are delivered to healthcare providers. You are the true heroes in the logistics world — our first line responders.
While much of the workforce outside of trucking is hunkered down, working from home, we know drivers constantly run the risk of being exposed to the infectious virus themselves, especially in the hot zones on both coasts.
The end of COVID-19 can’t come fast enough – thankfully, the curve is flattening in some areas. There is light at the end of the tunnel. But, the fight is still one. It’s important for drivers to maintain good mental and physical health.
Safe and sane
It’s been a grind. Keeping mental health in check is key as we get through this. We know the time a driver spends out on the road away from family and friends, combined with the overall lifestyle of living on the road is difficult enough. But, add in COVID-19 and it takes things to a whole new level. What’s happening in the world is a breeding ground for depression and anxiety amongst drivers. That makes it so important to ensure you’re in a good place mentally.
Resources can be difficult for drivers to find on the road, which is why the group Truckers for Truckers (Fight Against Depression and Suicide) Facebook group was created. The group allows drivers to reach out to other drivers and share what’s on their mind. It’s a safe place for drivers to be open about their struggles and help one another. With drivers often having limited time to meet with therapists and health care providers, this group helps fill that void. You’re not alone!
Improving physical healthy can boost mental well-being
With businesses closed and restrictions put in place to assist efforts in social distancing, options are limited on what you can do during your downtime. If there’s ever a time to get into exercising, walking, or jogging, this is it. It’s an excellent way to kill time, and it’ll make you feel better, mentally and physically. The endorphins you get from working out will improve your mood and it can help take your mind off of all the negativity surrounding COVID-19. According to the Mayo Clinic, 30 minutes of exercise a day, three to five days a week can make a big difference. Rolling Strong offers some great programs specifically for truckers. Check ‘em out. There are other options too: Go on YouTube and search home workouts – there are plenty of videos. And, most of these workouts can be done in your cab or in the parking area, with little or no workout equipment.
If you’re more serious, there are quite a few home workout apps, such as You Are Your Own Gym, and Bodbot that offer bodyweight workouts. These apps generally give you a more regimented workout than videos you can find on the Internet.
On the road: access to parking and amenities
As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, states are taking unprecedented measures to try and slow the spread – including closing rest stop locations in Pennsylvania. Some areas simply don’t have the manpower to keep rest areas sanitized, so shutdowns were required. In Florida, two rest areas are now closed to truckers since they’ve been converted to COVID-19 testing stations.
To eliminate the ‘guess work’ of which rest stops are open, we recently added Rest Area Notifications to our Drivewyze Safety Notifications service. That’s a big stress reliever for drivers and alerts will be in place for as long as there is an interruption in rest area availability. In addition to Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, we also worked with the state of Arizon to provide rest area alerts.
But, as you know, finding parking is just the tip of the iceberg for many drivers who are having difficulty finding places to shower. Many of the truck stop stores that are open are restricting access to their restrooms. Finding restaurants that are open is becoming a challenge too. In response, the Truckers Relief Fund has been posting updates on rest stop status’ and businesses offering special deals to truckers throughout the U.S. It’s a terrific resource, and it highlights how people come together during difficult times.
We’ve also tracked a few trucking Facebook pages that often share information regarding which facilities and restaurants are open, including a Canadian truckers and a U.S truckers page. They’re worth checking out.
Family connections and entertainment
As previously mentioned, exercising is a great way to pass the time, and it keeps your mental and physical health strong. But, even more important is staying in touch with family and friends and video chat is an excellent way to make it happen. If you have an iPhone, FaceTime is the easiest way to connect. Skype and Zoom are other options that are user friendly but require a few more steps to set up. Stay connected.
If you’ve been meaning to start a new show on a streaming service, now has never been a better time. If you have Netflix, the Top 10 category is a cool new function. Hulu, HBO Go, YouTube TV are other great streaming services, and they all offer free trials.
Or, if you’re looking to watch some vintage trucker movies, check out our list we put together a few years ago, it’s sure to take you back in time to less complicated days.
Looking to work the mind a bit? There’s a long list of games available for free or for subscription via download on the App and Google Play stores. You can even find classic board games like Monopoly and Chess on them that allow you to play online with family and friends. Whatever game you’re looking for, you can probably find it. It’s worth checking out.
While it’s unknown how long we’ll have to make adjustments to our lives in response to COVID-19, we’ll get through this. These are unprecedented times. Stay strong and stay safe.
For more information regarding COVID-19, the following links are great resources.
Center For Disease Control (CDC) – For general health info pertaining to COVID-19 – symptoms, prevention, what to do if you become sick, etc.
American Trucking Associations – For the latest trucking-related updates throughout the U.S.
Canadian Trucking Alliance – For daily COVID-19 updates for Canadian provinces.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) – For state-by-state declarations, waivers, exemptions and permits.