The life of an over-the-road trucker is an exciting one. There’s travel and adventure, picturesque views, unique characters and plenty of memorable experiences. However, at one time or another, every long-haul driver will experience loneliness. Loneliness doesn’t have to drag you down, though. Try these brain hacks for battling the lonely trucker blues.
Loneliness is triggered by thoughts about the past. Rather than dwelling on thoughts about folks back home, or good times of the past, think about what is happening right in front of your eyes (especially if you’re driving!). Concentrate on the feeling of a rumbling engine, the smell of the mountain air or the sounds of a vibrant city. Do something fun, productive, relaxing – anything. Work or play, action of any kind, will help snap your mind out of a lonely loop and keep you moving forward.
Facebook, Instagram and other nostalgia-inducing social media can really trigger lonely feelings. All the old photos, status updates and special moments being shared can really make you miss being with the people you love. That’s why it’s best to avoid these social media indulgences until you return home.
While much of the trucker’s life is spent alone in the cab, there are also plenty of opportunities to talk to new and interesting people. Strike up conversations in line at the coffee shop, at the breakfast counter at Denny’s or while pumping gas at the truck stop. Wave to people on the road, tip your hat to fellow truckers and smile at everyone you walk past. Even the smallest interactions can make the heart warm up a little bit.
This may sound like a contradiction to the social media ban, but it’s vitally important to keep in touch with the people that you care about. However, keeping in touch doesn’t mean silently scrolling through Facebook pages. Keeping in touch involves real conversations, whether they happen on the phone or online. Make an effort to call or chat nightly, weekly, or monthly with friends and family. Make a phone call once in a while, or set up nightly skype sessions. Either way, you’ll feel much better after having a real interaction.
Besides battling the lonely trucker blues, keeping in touch will also improve home life when you return. By talking and communicating regularly, you will be on the same page as friends and family. This will make the transition from over-the-road life to home life much smoother. For instance, without any prior discussions your family may be planning a trip to the beach when you return home from a long haul. However, the reality may be that you will feel too exhausted to want to drive anywhere. Without talking about it, that point will never get across.
Rather than focusing on what you miss, learn to focus the mind on the things you enjoy about life at the moment. Are you fond of the feeling you get when you’re on the road. Do you enjoy the freedom? Do you relish the idea of waking up in the desert and ending your day in the mountains? How about that upcoming paycheck? Be sure to take stock of everything you have to be grateful for.
Finally, remember that you are not alone in your loneliness. This feeling plagues the minds of men and women everywhere, and there’s no reason to be embarrassed. So own it. People understand the feeling of loneliness and are often empathetic. That’s why some of the best conversations you will ever have are with fellow truckers and other long-distance drivers. So enjoy the company when you can, and use and share these brain hacks to help battle loneliness on the road.