Wintertime blues can affect anyone. In fact, for 5 percent of the population, this seasonal sadness is classified as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or clinically diagnosed depression with a seasonal onset. However, even if you aren’t a part of that 5 percent, you can still suffer from the wintertime blues. For truck drivers, wintertime blues can hit hard—the short, cold days with little sunlight coupled with the isolation of being on the road for long stretches of time can take its toll. Here are some solid tips that will help you avoid feeling down in the dumps this winter.
1. Talk to your loved ones.
There is nothing that lifts your spirits more than talking to your loved ones holding down the home front. But make sure that those conversations last longer than a few quick minutes to reap the feel-good benefits that a great talk can bring. If you have a good, strong internet connection, you can even video chat while you’re shut down, which helps you see your family and friends, allowing the connection to feel even stronger and more satisfying. Never underestimate the power of connecting to the people you love most back home—those relationships can help you find your light, no matter how dreary the weather may be outside of your cab.
2. Scroll through social media.
While social media can be a downer if you spend too much time on it, it can also bring a lot of mood-boosting benefits as well. As a matter of fact, spending about 20 minutes on Facebook, Instagram, or whatever social media app you prefer can act as a little microbreak for your day and can make you happier. Seeing your friend post their cute dog, your mom post her favorite recipe, or your spouse share what the kids are up to—these little moments are precious and help you feel more in the loop. All that dopamine will add up and help shake off some of the sadness you may be experiencing.
3. Take in the great outdoors.
Sometimes a little bit of movement in nature is exactly what you need to feel happy, especially after sitting all day. Make time to get out and stretch your legs by going on a short or long walk. Make sure you’re properly prepared for whatever the weather may bring and get that blood pumping! That little walk will connect you back to the world around you and fill your lungs with fresh air. What can be a better mood booster than that?!
4. Get enough sleep.
One of the most important things you can do to ward off the wintertime blues is to get an adequate amount of sleep. Your body needs rest to function properly, and without it, your brain sends off all kinds of signals that can greatly affect your mood. Things like rushed schedules, driving at night, sleeping during the day, and upside-down schedules can really muddle up your sleep cycle. To help achieve quality sleep, avoid caffeine a few hours before you know you’re going to pull over for the night and invest in a good mattress. Some truckers even like to use a white noise machine or relaxing meditation music to put their minds at ease. Whatever you do, don’t skimp on the ZZZs.
5. Get help when you need it.
If your wintertime blues feel impossible to shake, it’s time to seek professional help. There is no shame in seeking out mental health services if you need them, and it’s so much better to be safe than sorry. Thankfully, we live in a world where mental health help is right at your fingertips. You can utilize online counseling services such as TalkSpace or Cerebral, both of which even accept insurance. If you are actively experiencing a crisis, you can always dial the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. By calling or texting 988, you’ll connect with mental health professionals with the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which provides 24/7, confidential support to people in suicidal crisis or mental health-related distress.
Beat the wintertime blues by enacting these tips the next time you’re feeling low during the winter and be sure to tune into our podcast to learn more about ways you can live your best life while you’re on the road.