by Pride Transport | Feb 27, 2023
As magical as it is to make a living out on the open road, long days in the cab of a truck can leave some drivers feeling a little lonely. Although it’s becoming more common to see teams driving trucks, allowing drivers to trade off on the workload, OTR driving is mostly a solo gig. In fact, many drivers like the hours of solitude they get while sitting behind the wheel.
It can be exhilarating to have time to yourself to explore our great nation while on the job. Keep in mind that being alone doesn’t have to mean you’re lonely! There are actually many ways you can use your alone time to feel productive and connected to your communities. Let’s take a look at some ways to take care of yourself, connect with old friends, and join a new community — all while driving solo.
Restore and Reflect While on the Road
Coping with loneliness on the road is certainly easier said than done, but it can be beneficial to shift your mindset to think of that solo time as an opportunity to reset. Use time away from home wisely so that you can return as a better partner, parent, and friend!
Schedule time to write in a journal on the nights you have to yourself. Not only can documenting your travels in writing be a great way to help your future self remember all of the wonderful sights you get to see while traveling, but writing things out helps reduce stress and anxiety and can even be a way to engage in positive self-talk.
Along those same lines, you can spend your solo driving time meditating, exercising, or listening to a personal development book or podcast. Many books have been written on the topic of loneliness. Brené Brown, author of the popular Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience, recorded a series of episodes on her podcast, Unlocking Us, all about naming emotions. Putting words to your feelings of loneliness might help you navigate them and figure out new coping strategies.
And who knows? Distance from home might actually give you a more neutral environment to reflect on any problems, fears, or distressing situations. Space between you and whatever might be giving you grief could be just the thing you need to feel more restored and focus on taking care of yourself.
Stay in Touch
The inability to spend time with loved ones while on the job can, as mindfulness app Headspace puts it, “fuel negative feelings around self-doubt and self-worth.” However, modern technology makes it easy to stay connected even when you’re miles apart.
Plan a daily phone call with a loved one to make sure you have some social interaction each day. Talking on the phone or over video is a great way to spend time with your spouse, friends, mother, father, or children. This can help you keep up with family events and learn how other family members are doing. Scheduling phone calls can help you both stay accountable for maintaining the relationship, and keeping a consistent time might help you schedule around meals, important drop-off times, busy hours, and bedtimes to make sure you’re both available.
You can also write texts or emails to a friend/family member to document your day and get things off your chest. Vent, rant, or rave about your day, tell them funny stories, or share photos of cool places you saw during your trip.
While social media certainly has its downsides and can inspire FOMO (or “Fear of Missing Out”), it can also be a wonderful tool to help you follow along with what the people in your life are up to. If you feel comfortable doing so, share your own stories and post pictures from your travels on your profile so your followers can keep up with you, too!
And if you’re a little more analog, we’re confident your loved ones would be thrilled to receive a handwritten letter from you. After all, who doesn’t love getting mail?!
Be a Part of the Truck Driving Community
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Loneliness may affect your concentration, how you sleep, your appetite or energy level.” Working alone all the time can negatively impact many other aspects of your life, so maintaining your physical and mental health should be of the utmost priority.
Who better to talk to about feeling lonely on the road than another truck driver who might feel the same way? No one will understand your circumstance better than someone else living it, too. You can help hold one another accountable for maintaining your relationships and wellbeing.
Another truck driver can be the perfect workout buddy or someone to meet up with while you’re out and about. Grabbing dinner with other OTR drivers or planning an outing once you’re parked for the night can be a good way to shake the blues. There’s even a possibility of partnering up to become a driving team if you really hit it off with someone!
If you’re not sure how to meet other truck drivers who might be in a similar spot, try connecting with other drivers by joining groups on Facebook. (Sometimes, ironically, it’s easier to share your feelings from behind a screen than in person.) Reddit and Twitter threads about the shipping and transportations industries might offer you some sense of connection to others working in the industry, too.
Going back to social media as a way to stay connected, you can also follow TikTokers or YouTubers who make videos. You might even feel inclined to film your own videos!
At Pride Transport, we operate as a family. We prioritize care, dedication, truth, and respect on the road, which has helped us connect with our employees as friends and stay on top in the industry for close to 40 years. To us it’s simple: do what you love, do it well, and treat everyone with kindness. We promise to do the same.
If you’re interested in joining our team, we’re hiring! Consider applying for one of our open roles so you can drive with Pride.