When asked about what may be the most difficult part about trucking, many truckers would admit to the solitude. At first, it may be both exciting and calming to be alone, but after two or three months, those long stretches can cause one to feel anxious, lonely, or even depressed. Here are a few tips for dealing with loneliness:
• Listen to an audiobook. The sound of someone else’s voice narrating a story can relieve some of the loneliness that accompanies a life spent on the road. There are literally thousands of audiobooks from every genre imaginable, including science fiction, thrillers, and the classics. If you don’t want to fork over money for a costly audiobook, try downloading the OverDrive app or getting a local library card, which will give you access to thousands of free books.
• Avoid negative thinking. Sometimes when we’re alone, we tend to think about the worst things about our lives, which can compound loneliness. Focus your thoughts on the positive (there are bound to be so many), and tune out the hurtful and distracting thoughts that may leave you depressed.
• Make the best of your time when you are at home. Don’t try to cram in a million projects and activities. Just simply spend it with loved ones, enjoy their company, cook a good meal, and relax. Those memories will stave off some of the loneliness when you get back on the road.
• Consider switching to local driving. Many companies offer the ability to go on local, dedicated runs with minimal time spent away from home.
• Turn up the radio. It always helps to listen to a favorite album and sing along. You’ll find lyrics you never knew were there, or you’ll recall old tunes that you had forgotten about. Music has the ability to recharge and refresh the mind.
• Talk to other truckers. This one is fairly obvious. You can use your CB to reach out to other truckers and share your stories. Some have given up the CB due to foul language or others who hog too much air time, but it can still be a valuable source of information during long hauls.
• Take a photo album with you. The photos of loved ones, kids, and grandkids will put a smile on your face if you’re feeling especially lonely.
• Talk with people when you make your stops. At the truck stop, the gas station, or the restaurant, take the time to smile and engage people in conversations. Even a few minutes of small talk can help. And there’s usually no short supply of people willing to talk at a truck stop.
• Treat yourself to a healthy meal. Good food nourishes us, makes us feel less depressed, and sets off healthy chemicals in the brain that keep us happy and alert. If you eat food loaded with fat and sugar, you’ll feel sluggish and you may not be able to handle your depression in a healthy way.
How do you cope with loneliness on the road? Please tell us in the comments!