No matter what you do for work, maintaining a good work-life balance is important to keep you healthy, avoid burnout, and enjoy the job you do. For truckers, work-life balance has always been a challenge, especially for OTR truckers on the road for days or weeks at a time. Learning how to balance work and life as a truck driver takes practice, but if you plan to be a trucker for life, it’s something you’ll need to put into practice.
Tips for Learning How to Keep a Work-Life Balance
If you choose to be a trucker for life, you’ll need some solid tips and strategies for maintaining a work-life balance. The daily life of a trucker is hard, but with these tips you can be well on your way towards a great work-life balance in a career you love.
1. Get Sleep
When you’re on the road, getting the sleep you need can be difficult, but it’s essential for your safety and well-being that you prioritize your sleep time. If that means turning off the lights a little earlier or turning off the TV in the evening, then make it a priority. Make sure you invest in your sleeping area to make it as comfortable as possible.
2. Exercise Regularly
Truck driving usually requires you to sit for the majority of your day. Unlike a desk job, you can’t just get up and go for a walk any time you need to stretch your legs. Because of this, it’s especially important to stick to a regular exercise schedule and have a plan to stretch out when you’re on your breaks. Whatever exercise you choose, make sure you stick to it and do it on a regular schedule.
3. Eat Healthy
Along with getting enough exercise, eating healthy while you’re on the road will help you learn how to keep a work-life balance as a truck driver. Going grocery shopping for your food and preparing healthy meals and snacks in advance will help you stay healthy and save money while you’re on the road. If you have a sleeper cab and kitchen setup, you can use that space to make healthier meals while you’re on the road for long periods of time.
4. Prioritize Carefully
Just because you can earn good money as a trucker doesn’t mean you should grab every load available for the sake of asking for more money. Learning how to keep a work-life balance also means knowing when to say “no” to loads you don’t need. Once you have your bills and finances down, you may not need to pick up that extra load just because you need a little more money in your pocket. A good way to weigh decisions if you will miss something at home is to ask yourself if will matter in a few days, weeks, months, or years.
5. Take Breaks
One of the best ways to learn how to balance work and life if you’re a trucker for life is to remember to take regular breaks. Give yourself time off work to balance the time you’re out on the road. If you struggle to take time off, set up a vacation with your family and set that time aside for them. Taking regular breaks allows you to focus on what’s most important and helps you keep a work-life balance as a trucker.
Staying connected to your family, spouse, or significant other while you’re on the road is very important. Thankfully, there are lots of great options with today’s technology that allows us to feel closer than ever and communicate easily and quickly with our loved ones and friends. Facetiming your family for dinners together or to read bedtime stories can make it feel like you’re there, even when you’re on the road.
7. Keep a Regular Schedule
Keeping a regular schedule is another way to learn how to keep a work-life balance when you’re on the road for long periods of time. This is also true when you head home during your time off. If you wake up at a certain time when you’re on the road, make sure you keep that schedule when you’re home as well. This will help you stay rested and make the transition from work life to home life easier.
8. Be Present
When you have a job that becomes a major part of your life, you need time to decompress and leave work behind. One of the best ways to learn how to keep a work-life balance is to make the most out of your time at home. Spend quality time with those you care about and be present with your loved ones. You may even find it strengthens your relationships to savor the time you have with your family while you’re there.
9. Bring Your Family on the Road
In some cases, truckers find the best solution to maintaining a great work-life balance to be bringing their family with them on the road. While it’s not ideal for everyone, bringing your family with you makes it easier to spend time together and build experiences you can share with one another. Living the life of a trucker’s wife can be difficult, but your wife (or husband) may enjoy spending more time with you on the road.
Learning how to keep a work-life balance depends on your personal needs and situation, buy following these tips can make it a little easier to manage.