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Healthy Habits to Start the New Year off the Right Way

Working as a truck driver has many benefits, but there is no doubt it is a career choice that can impact your health. Truck driving is a high-pressure role that brings a fair amount of stress to deal with during your working day. The pressure to deliver on time when dealing with circumstances outside of your control can pile on the stress, yet the stress truck drivers face often overlooked. Aside from the mental pressure that truck drivers are exposed to, physical health concerns can damage your health. As driving is a sedentary job, the risk factors for certain diseases are elevated, and truck driver health can be a challenge to put first. Diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure are all associated with a sedentary lifestyle, so being aware of this and taking action to lower your risk factors is vital. 

Healthy Habits to Start the New Year off the Right Way Mother Trucker Yoga Blog 1

Developing healthy habits to improve truck driver health and then maintaining them is crucial to staying at your best when you are a truck driver. Working as a truck driver does not always make it easy to be healthy, but it can support your physical health and wellbeing. So, if you are keen to make this year your healthiest one yet, and to get it off to a great start, here are some of the ways you can make this happen:

 

Deal With Unhealthy Habits First

 

Developing new positive habits is crucial to ensure you get your health on track in the new year. However, it is also essential to address existing habits that may be harming your health. Being stuck in a cycle of negative behavior can sabotage your attempts at being healthier. This can leave you trapped in a negative cycle of behavior, which makes it more challenging to stick with your new positive habits. So, it is a wise idea to take action and deal with these unhealthy habits from the start of the new year so you can move forward more healthily. Seeking professional help from a center such as Sunshine Behavioral Health is an excellent way to get the help and support needed to break free from negative behavior patterns. With the right help, you should soon enjoy all the benefits of a healthier body and mind.

 

Try Mindfulness and Meditation to Lower Your Stress Levels

 

One of the most frustrating parts of being a truck driver is being stuck in tailbacks. Delivering your job late and being sat in a tailback can send your stress levels rising and put you under intense pressure. These feelings of stress not only feel unpleasant, but they could also be damaging your physical health. People who experience chronic stress may be at an increased risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke and are also more likely to experience feelings of irritability and have trouble sleeping. To reduce the risk of these issues, it is vital to take a proactive approach to managing your stress levels. 

 

Mindfulness and meditation can be a great help if you are trying to reduce your stress levels and are among the most effective methods when focusing on truck driver health. Mindfulness and meditation are beneficial, as they are helpful ways to focus your mind on the present moment and stop your thoughts from running away with you. The great thing about using these methods is that you do not need special equipment. Guided meditations and relaxation can be carried out comfortably in your cab, making them an ideal opportunity to reduce your stress levels and improve your wellbeing.

 

Make Physical Exercise Part of Your Routine

 

Working a sedentary job can be considered bad for your health, and you may become tired of all the advice telling you to make time to exercise during your workday. Getting up to move around every once in a while is not possible when you are sitting behind your truck’s wheel. However, learning how to stretch and move when you are in your cab can help you feel so much better and increase your activity levels. Research shows that being active outside of a sedentary job can help reduce the risks associated with long periods of sitting. So, learning how to exercise when you are in the cab, being active outside of work hours, and using guided meditation to reduce your stress levels could provide many benefits for your physical and mental health. Combining each of these methods will help you begin your journey to better health and get your year off to the very best start.

 

Resting & Relaxing Is An Essential Part Of Getting Fit As A Driver

It might seem as though relaxing and sleeping well are totally opposed to getting fit as a driver. After all, you’re not building muscle, flexibility, or endurance when laying down and resting, and certainly not when you’re snoozing.

Actually, you are. Lifting weights, for example, doesn’t build muscle. It tears your muscles down incrementally so that you can then recover with a higher protein diet. It provides a stress response t that builds then said muscle in your rest and relaxation periods.

For this reason, then, any excellent fitness habit, be that yoga, running, cycling, rowing, swimming, or lifting weights, is simply incomplete and will burn you out quickly if you find you’re unable to get the rest you need.

How should we regard this truth, then? Well, it’s important to make a worthwhile schedule regarding your fitness habits. This should include rest days. In this post, we’ll discuss the value of that, some advice to help you along, and suggestions for what to do on your rest days to aid your future workouts.

Without further ado, let’s consider:

A Worthwhile Diet

Many people think getting fit means limiting your diet and basically only ever eating rabbit food, but that’s not true. Sure, eating is often indulgent, but a proper diet helps you balance some of those issues. For instance, eating a high protein, relatively low carb diet with plenty of green vegetables, both fibrous and leafy, can help you feel more satiated. And when it comes to truck driver health, you must monitor what you eat because you aren’t moving much during the day.

That lack of movement can add weight when you consume more than you are burning. Switching up your morning breakfast for steel-cut oats can help you feel fuller for longer. And truck driver health foods that are travel friendly and can be made with little effort like steel-cut oats make eating healthy for a driver easy. Foods like this can be the start of a fantastic relationship with food,, learning to cook wholesome meals, and feeling amazing as a result.

With the holidays around the corner, it can be stressful to figure out what to eat. Check out our blog – Healthy Holiday Survival Guide: 5 Simple Strategies.

Light Walking & Stretching

Of course, avoiding all physical activity on your rest days isn’t necessarily what we’re going for here. A nice light walk with the dog, some light stretching, and using equipment like foam rollers can be a big helper here. Perhaps you could even use this time to practice your discipline and learn more about it. For instance, understanding the best yoga phrases to use can help you understand this discipline more intimately. That kind of approach can work wonders for all those reasons and more.

If you are looking for ways to motivate yourself to get out and away and aren’t sure how to structure your activities check out Mother Trucker Yoga’s Walking Challenge. THIS IS a FREE 30 Day guide to getting out and walking more. This is the perfect way to start your new path towards trucking fitness.

Perfect Your Sleep Habits

Sleep is one of the best things you can get right for staying healthy and fit, but it depends on your schedule. Eight hours is generally recommended for most adult people. Ensure quality sleep by ensuring your bedroom has good ventilation, that you keep a consistent bedtime, and that you give yourself time to wind down before bed. If you can do that, then you’ll be much more able to drift away comfortably. Some people use herbal sleeping tablets to help them get into a good schedule, but what works for you is often more than appropriate. What matters here is consistency.

With this approach, you’re sure to find rest and relaxation are the perfect supplements to your workouts.

Getting fit as a driver doesn’t have to be complicated. Whether you are focused on truck driver health or trucking fitness, all the above can help you take that next step so you can feel good again.

4 Signs You Are Overexerting Yourself Physically

It is not a good idea to overexert the body, no matter how fit and healthy you might be in general. When you use the body too much or in too strenuous a manner, it can lead to injuries and pain, which can often be severe and last a long time. If you are keen to avoid that, you’ll want to know what the signs are that you might be overexerting yourself physically. Driver fitness is you paying attention to how you move and how you exercise. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the clearest of these that you might want to be aware of right now.

 

 

Inflammation

 

Sometimes when you are working out too hard, you will end up with some serious inflammation in your joints or muscles. This is very much your muscles telling you that you need to relax a little more and not take it quite so hard. For instance, you might find that you get shin splints after running, and you have to make use of posterior shin splints taping with KT Tape. It is clearly best to avoid that altogether by just taking it a little easier when you are running in the first place.

 

Weak Muscles

 

If you are feeling a lot of sudden weakness in your muscles after you have been exercising, then this can be a sign that you are doing too much during the workout session. Driver fitness can be challenging given your schedule and space, but when you do have time make sure you exercise smart. Of course, you might often feel tired after working out, and if you didn’t then you probably wouldn’t be doing it right. But having incredibly weak-feeling muscles is a sure sign that you are doing too much. So rein it in a little and try to do a little less next time around when this happens.

4 Signs You Are Overexerting Yourself Physically Image Mother Trucker Yoga Blog

Dark Urine

 

It sounds unpleasant, but it is worth taking a look at what your urine looks like after you have been exercising. If it is particularly dark, that might mean that your body has gone through a lot of dehydration during the process, which is itself a clear sign that you are probably overdoing it. It might mean you need to relax a little, and also that you could probably do with a little more water. Remember when it comes to driver fitness and truck driver health you want to be getting in at least eight cups of water. Many health issues can be resolved by improving hydration. Ideally, your urine should be clear or very close to being clear.

 

Confusion & Agitation

 

Bear in mind that there are also some clear psychological signs that you should look out for too, and if any of these present themselves it is time to stop exercising and relax a little and look after yourself as best as you can. For instance, you might find that you feel confused or agitated after you have overexerted yourself, or even while you are in the middle of the workout session itself. This is a sign that you are doing too much, and it’s something you should pay close attention to.

 

As you can see, there are a few signs that you might want to pay attention to, and change what you are doing accordingly. You’ll find that these are important to bear in mind.

MOTHER TRUCKER YOGA DRIVER SPOTLIGHT – Idella Hansen

National truck driver appreciation week mother trucker yoga blog

Truck Driver Appreciation Week may have passed, but we still want to celebrate! And what better way than to highlight some of our road heroes. We interviewed drivers and asked them questions about their lives to help others see how amazing and hard trucking is.

It’s our truck drivers who keep our great country running strong. Many of these men and women go unnoticed, not because they aren’t important, but because what they do doesn’t live in a fancy building or doesn’t require a cap and gown.

These men and women are out on our roads, carrying all our essential and non-essential products we want and love day in and day out. And here at Mother Trucker Yoga, it’s not just trucking fitness that is important to us. It’s the men and women whom we serve.

idella hansen mother trucker yoga blog

Meet Idella Hansen!

People call Idella MaMA ChooChoo on the CB.

 

QUESTION 1: How long have you been driving?

Answer: 52 years

 

QUESTION 2: What do you love most about being a truck driver?

Answer: First off it’s not a job for me, it’s a way of life, and I love all of it from customer service to do the hardbacks.

Idella works for IBI Security Transport.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

IBI is a full-service armored transportation company, operating in all 48 Continental States of the USA, Canada, and Mexico. IBI is a privately held company based in Woodside New York. IBI has been in operation since 1966. IBI is a full-service security company, operating Nationwide and in Canada and Mexico.

In 2001 IBI acquired Securicor Valuables Transport, Inc., a high-value, secured, “over-the-road” transportation company. IBI operates this division as, IBI Secured Transport, Inc. This is a national and international operation, with terminals in Trenton, New Jersey, and Salt Lake City, Utah.

 

Recognition Well-Deserved!

Back in 2017 Idella Hansen was nominated and chosen as citizen driver of the year.

Known for her signature red cowboy boots, her willingness to help her fellow drivers, her community, and her fellow women, Idella Hansen leads by example. Idella’s ability and dedication have earned her the respect of her fellow drivers, and TA-Petro is proud to honor her as a 2017 Citizen Driver.

In 2013, TA-Petro launched the Citizen Driver Program to honor exceptional drivers who exhibit strong citizenship, community involvement, leadership, health and wellness, and safety. To date, 26 Citizen Driver Honorees have been named as the best of the best. Idella is one of five members of the 2017 class.

idella hansen cowboy boots mother trucker yoga blog

“Idella is a pioneer in our industry and is a great example of what the Citizen Driver Award was created to recognize. She exemplifies the qualities of the award by her words and deeds on a daily basis, and continues to be a shining example of safety, involvement, and passion within our industry,” said Rick Ash, 2015 Citizen Driver Award Recipient, St. Christopher Fund Board Member, Former Chairman Trucking Solutions Group, Chairman Onramp to Health.

 

idella hansen

 

QUESTION 3: Trucking is hard. Why do you keep on trucking?

Answer: Because it’s in my blood and it’s pays really great, I work for a super company and they keep telling me not yet don’t retire.

 

QUESTION 4: What do you want to say to new upcoming drivers in the industry?

The first year is the hardest. Be prepared to change your way of doing things.

QUESTION: What is your favorite truck stop?

Answer: Kenley95 North Carolina. I love the update and the facilities

QUESTION 7: What would make trucking easier for you and other drivers?

ANSWER: That the rules and state regulations would be more uniform

 

QUESTION 8: What do you do, if anything, to try to stay healthy on the road?

ANSWER: Mother Trucker Yoga and Rolling Strong and St Christopher’s Trucker Relief Fund.

Idella had a final thought he wanted everyone to know.

We are the lifeblood of the Country and will be for many years to come, which helps us to do a good job. I will continue to truck until I drive it off the end of the world and beyond

 

What do you like most about the trucking industry?

Have a comment to share with Idella or our readers?

Please share it in the comments below!

 

Mother Trucker Yoga® wants to help 1 million drivers change lanes in their health and fitness by 2031.

To get involved with Mother Trucker Yoga’s mission and help drivers just like you incorporate driver fitness into their lives.  Contact us!

 

Read our other Driver Spotlights:

VW Lady Trucker https://www.mothertruckeryoga.com/2021/09/14/mother-trucker-driver-spotlight-vw-lady-trucker/

6 Health Problems You Might Encounter As a Truck Driver

The world needs truck drivers. People want goods shipped from one side of the country to another, and they want it done quickly. However, as much as society recognizes how important the profession is, they often don’t consider how much health can be impacted by navigating long-haul journeys. 

6 Health Problems You Might Encounter As a Truck Driver mother trucker yoga blog health

You never know how much different truck driving is to other jobs until you experience it. Rather than have the freedom of an office, you are often confined to the small cab. Depending on the destination, you could be away for weeks on end before making it home again. This environment can lead to significant health issues, and here are some of the most common.

 

Mobility Problems 

 

It should be no surprise that sitting in your truck cab for eight hours on end every day can cause issues. The lack of movement will stiffen joints and put pressure on your lower back and neck. Similarly, constant focus could even cause headaches, which will affect performance. 

 

This issue is a lot like sitting at a desk all day. You can’t be rigid in a single place for the entire journey, so take every opportunity possible to stretch your legs and get some much-needed fresh air. As long as you stay on schedule, you can eliminate the risk of severe mobility problems. With Mother Trucker Yoga’s everyday movements you can keep your mobility and your body strong. 

 

Obesity 

 

A lack of mobility could also lead to obesity problems. You won’t get the chance to exercise, and you also can’t rely on a proper meal every day. Instead, you rely on ready meals and processed foods from truck stops and fast food places. 

 

Already, you’re at a disadvantage, especially when you’re on a time limit to complete a shipment. You can’t take a personal day and hit the gym, but you also can’t allow your body to deal with bad food. Instead, consider healthy snacks for truck drivers that will reduce weight gain and provide all the essential nutrients and minerals you need to stay engaged on the road. Read the food label not just for the nutrition but for the ingredients. Make sure you are actually eating real food.

 

Lung Cancer

 

Research from the Center for Disease Control discovered that around 70% of truck drivers smoke, and with little else to do on the road, this can quickly become a way to pass the time. You don’t need anyone to tell you how bad smoking is for your health, but you also might know how difficult it can be to break out of this habit. 

 

Excessive smoking will lead to lung cancer, so as much as it can pass the time and even reduce stress, it won’t do your health any favors. When you compound this with the carbon emissions from the diesel exhaust, you drastically increase your chances of significant health problems, so do what you can to reduce exposure and cut out any bad habits. Our friends over at St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fun has an amazing Rigs without Cigs program to help aid drivers in the process of quitting smoking. 

 

Irregular Sleep 

 

You would think that driving all day will make it easy to get to sleep when your shift finishes, but this isn’t the case. Truck drivers do not have the luxury of their beds, which for some can make it difficult to sleep, and this causes a range of issues that will affect health and performance. 

 

You should never drive while tired, but when you’re on a time limit and it’s dollars for miles you often feel the need to keep on trucking. Focus on a sleep routine and stick with it to help reduce the time spend trying to fall asleep. 

 

Hearing Loss

 

Truck drivers must be aware of everything around them, and this is not possible if they experience hearing loss. Typically, this occurs with older truck drivers who have been exposed to the noisy engine and highways their entire career.  

 

You can learn more about how moderate hearing loss feels, and consider how this could impact your truck driving. If it puts you and anyone else in danger – especially as you’re unable to differentiate sounds or hear upcoming cars – think about possible solutions. When is the last time you got your hearing checked? Some hearing loss as we age is normal, but don’t go without it unchecked if you feel you may have a larger issue going on. Truck driver health is essential and your health matters. 

 

Isolation and Loneliness 

 

There are few things lonelier than taking a journey by yourself and having to come back the way you came also along. Many truck drivers experience significant mental health problems caused by feelings of isolation and loneliness. 

 

As much as the radio or regular phone calls can help, they are no substitute for real human interaction. If you have a family or are someone who loves to spend time with others, you may struggle to cope with the loneliness that comes from driving a truck. So reach out regularly and even things like smiling at a stranger and drumming up a conversation with someone standing next to you can help you feel connected, with a purpose and happiness, and who doesn’t like feeling happy?

 

Keep On Truckin’ 

 

Truck driving can be an incredibly rewarding career, especially if you are someone who loves getting behind the wheel and seeing as much of the country – and perhaps the world – as possible. However, it does not come without its share of truck driver health issues, so consider these and how to overcome them to ensure you make the most of your truck driving career.

Here are a few other blogs you might enjoy:

Mother Trucker Yoga Driver Spotlight – Flatbed Foodie

National truck driver appreciation week mother trucker yoga blog

Driver Appreciation Week may be over, but we still want to celebrate! And what better way than to highlight some of our road heroes. We interviewed drivers and asked them questions about their lives to help others see how unique and hard trucking is.

It’s our truck drivers who keep our great country running strong. Many of these men and women go unnoticed, not because they aren’t necessary, but because what they do doesn’t live in a fancy building or doesn’t require a cap and gown.

These men and women are out on our roads, carrying all our essential and non-essential products we want and love day in and day out. And here at Mother Trucker Yoga, it’s not just trucking fitness that is important to us. It’s the men and women whom we serve.

We love our truck drivers and want to celebrate them in every way we can.

flatbedfoodie mother trucker yoga feature driver daniel

Meet Flatbed Foodie!

 

QUESTION 1: How long have you been driving?

Answer: 3 years

 

QUESTION 2: What do you want to say to new upcoming drivers in the industry?

Answer: Flexible minds and bodies last a lot longer in the end.

We agree with that! Your mind creates your reality, and when it comes to driving, isolation, loneliness, and depression are factors we all must keep in check as drivers and humans. Make sure you take time to stay connected, not just through social media but talk to your friends and family daily, consider meditation, and getting outside for some fresh air every day. And don’t forget to move your body. With nearly 10 hours behind the wheel and on the clock, it can be easy to lose track of time. So schedule movement into your day in five-minute bursts, and with the help of Mother Trucker Yoga’s videos, you will be on your way!

 

QUESTION 3: Trucking is hard. Why do you keep on trucking?

Answer: Still seeing new things, and I train others, so I get to share. Being part of starting someone on a safe and profitable journey is fun.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

According to the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, state governments issue more than 450,000 new commercial driver’s licenses every year. That’s a lot of CDL’s. And good thing we have people like Flatbed Foodie on the roads training other drivers just like you!

 

QUESTION 4: What is your favorite truck stop?

Answer: Iowa-80 Truck Stop! Who doesn’t love I80? And we agree! We love it too!

IOWA 80 TRUCK STOP MOTHER TRUCKER YOGA BLOG

DID YOU KNOW?

On the eastern edge of Iowa, not far from the Mississippi River, adjacent to the small town of Walcott, you’ll find a place like no other in the world. The Iowa 80 Truckstop, now the World’s Largest Truckstop, established its home here in 1964 and is now in itself a home away from home to countless drivers and a destination for travelers as well.

Some say Iowa 80 Truckstop is like a small city. Others have likened it to a Trucker’s Disneyland. All can agree it is a place not to be missed.

 

QUESTION 5: What do you want to say to new and upcoming drivers?

ANSWER: You will never look back. You are your boss. You get to travel and serve country/towns and people. And you are valued and an essential driver. This is an excellent career.

 

QUESTION 6: What would make trucking easier for you and other drivers?

ANSWER: Automatic logs, healthier food (make sure you read our blog on healthy snacks to pack) on the road, and more efficiency.

 

QUESTION 7: What do you do, if anything, to try to stay healthy on the road?

ANSWER: Light cardio, walking and stretching, and diet planning.

Flatbed Foodie had a final thought he wanted everyone to know.

Trucking is a challenging and rewarding way to support your goals. It can be a lifelong profession or a quick way to earn cash in some cases. The need is real and the compensation is there for those who want to work.

 

What do you like most about the trucking industry?

Have a comment to share with Flatbed Foodie or our readers?

Please share it in the comments below!

 

Mother Trucker Yoga® wants to help 1 million drivers change lanes in their health and fitness by 2031.

To get involved with Mother Trucker Yoga’s mission and help drivers just like you incorporate driver fitness into their lives.  Contact us!

 

Read our other Driver Spotlights:

VW Lady Trucker https://www.mothertruckeryoga.com/2021/09/14/mother-trucker-driver-spotlight-vw-lady-trucker/

Mark Iverson https://www.mothertruckeryoga.com/2021/10/06/mother-trucker-yoga-driver-spotlight-mark-iverson/

How You Can Take Care Of Your Back As You Age

Back pain is reportedly one of the most common types of pain experienced by adults in the US, with one-half of all working Americans saying they experience back pain symptoms annually. As a middle-aged man, it is easy to assume that back pain is a common side effect of aging. Although this is true to some degree, excess pain and reduced flexibility needn’t be part of the aging experience. Consider these points if you want to learn more about taking care of your back as you grow older. As a driver, your back takes a lot of twists and turns, from the driver’s seat to loading and unloading at the drop of a hat. It’s easy to put off back care when you feel you don’t have time. But now is the time to pay attention to your back before it’s too late. 

  1. Get a back massage regularly.

How You Can Take Care Of Your Back As You Age

Image Credit

 

A study published in Pain Medicine revealed that massages could assist individuals with lower back pain. The study found that over 50% of individuals referred to a professional massage therapist for ten massage sessions over 12 weeks reported improvement. Consequently, consider seeing a massage therapist occasionally to manage your back pain and relieve other musculoskeletal problems that worsen your body pain. Alternatively, investing in a great massage chair for your home may be a more straightforward and practical way to enjoy the benefits of a good massage, so keep this in mind. However, remember that more intense chiropractic care may be necessary if you experience back pain due to spine alignment issues.

2. Make changes at work

 

Truck driver health and truck driver fitness also means the health of your back. Many people spend most of their work lives seated, and sedentary working positions have been shown to wreak havoc on your discs and bones. And a passive work environment doesn’t just apply to someone in front of the computer. Professional drivers also face back issues due to the extended lengths of time behind the wheel. The full effects of your sitting habits and posture might be more manageable as you are younger, but you cannot get away with many health concerns in middle age. Therefore, be more mindful of your posture by sitting upright in your chair with your shoulders back. Also, try to move around often if your job involves sitting for very long hours, like truck driving.

3. Watch your body weight

 

Extra weight implies additional stress on your spine and joints, and excess belly fat can cause your lower back and pelvis to slant forward eventually. Therefore, maintaining a healthy body weight is essential to ensure that your back isn’t burdened by more stress as you age. Thankfully, you can exercise regularly to stay in shape and prevent any additional body weight. In addition, watch your diet to guarantee a strong core that can protect your back as you grow older. And if you think you don’t have time for exercise, don’t stress. Before you even consider adding exercise to your daily regimen, consider looking at how much you move throughout your day, and use those downtime windows to move and groove. Movements like reaching, squatting, bending, twisting, and turning all add up and add to your truck driver fitness. 

4. Let your spine rest while asleep

How You Can Take Care Of Your Back As You Age sleeper mother trucker yoga blog

Your spine structures finally get a chance to rest and rejuvenate when you lie down to sleep after a long day. Consequently, it is best to maximize this opportunity to ensure that your spine rests in a supported and comfortable manner. The key here is to keep your spine naturally aligned, so placing a pillow under your knees to minimize stress on your lower back is crucial if you are a back sleeper. If you are a side sleeper, sleep with a pillow between your knees to balance your hips. You can also experiment with a neck pillow to support your cervical spine. However, proper spine rejuvenation can only occur on a firm mattress, so ensure that the bed you choose is hard enough to disallow any spinal sagging.

And when you are in pain and you need relief fast. Don’t forget your tube of STIFF Mother Trucker pain relief cream.

Stiff mother trucker pain relief cream

World Suicide Prevention Day: 6 Strategies to Improve Driver Mental Wellness

Everyone talks about mental health, and unfortunately, the term “mental health” has a more negative connotation than positive. After talking with dozens of people from various backgrounds, most felt the time “mental health” felt there was something wrong with you, and therefore, you need to take care of your mental health. 

How did we get to this place? This place where we are looking for solutions, answers, and strategies for aspects of our health only when we are in a state of turmoil, anguish, or pain? 

I used to feel embarrassed to tell others that I had “mental health” like a disease. And if I dare mention I need mental health help, I would be mortified of the other person’s response. 

A few years back, I began to change my conversation around mental health. And since the term “mental health” has the stigma of being broken and therefore needing help. I decided to change the term of mental care to mental wellness. 

Mental Wellness is the state in which one makes the state of the mind, thoughts, emotions, and behaviors a priority. Whereas the actions were taken are both proactive and reactive, but really, as a means of a simple lifestyle integration. 

Today is Suicide Prevention Day. It’s kind of a bit strange to have a day focused on this when right next to it is National Hot Dog Day, Love Your Dog Day, and Grandparents Day. But I suppose a day is better than nothing. 

As someone who has stood face to face with suicide more than once, to me, suicide is a feeling of last resort, that all hope is lost, and any other actions taken will not be successful. I believe people are driven to suicide by many factors, and the why is not for argument’s sake, but from my own experience, I reflect on the what and the how. How did I get to that place, and what could have helped or been different? 

To anyone out there that is struggling with their mental wellness, I want you to know that you are not alone. 

I also want you to know that I see you and hear you. The words you don’t speak. The side of yourself you do not show. I see you. 

And instead of posting a suicide prevention hotline number on our blog, I thought it would be more helpful to share some of the mental wellness strategies I have used over the years. And when it comes to truck driver health issues, mental wellness should be a priority. 

6 Things To Improve Mental Wellness and Aid In Suicide Prevention

#1. Believe you are worth it. 

Or at least say it to yourself until you do. For years I didn’t, and I recognize that this was a learned behavior, a lie I was telling myself based on what I saw someone in my own life do over and over again. If you have breath in your body, then there is still a purpose for you. 

This tiny spark inside me kept telling me don’t lose hope. It was quiet and almost impossible to hear or see among the thoughts of self-destruction, self-hate, and sadness. But it was there. Today look in the mirror and tell yourself you are worth it. Despite what the mind says back, fight that other self (I called it my addictive mind) and say it anyway. When it comes to truck driver health, as a driver, you may already feel isolated and alone and that makes it even easier to allow your mind to spiral. Speak positively about yourself every day. 

light - suicide prevention day blog mother trucker yoga

#2. Healthy Expression. 

It is easy for an outsider to tell someone depressed, suicidal, or lost hope to seek help. But the paralyzing effects of negative, depressive, self-destructive thoughts are paralyzing. It can take all you have to get up out of bed and get a drink of water, let alone get dressed and go to work. So rather than suggesting you journal, practice yoga, deep breathe (check out our deep breathing meditation for drivers), meditate, or call a safe friend when you are in that moment. Do it when you are feeling good. You need to cultivate habits in those impossible moments and practice them in the more accessible ones by doing the actions. 

Because our thoughts become our emotions, and our actions become our outcomes, and the cycle continues. And before you know it, every day is the same.

Dr. Joe Dispenza says “that if you keep thinking in the past, you will keep creating the same life”. If you continue to allow your brain to only think about what has happened to you in your life up to this point, you will only get a repeat of what you have had in your life up to this point. That means the same thoughts, emotions, and actions on autopilot. Disrupt that cycle when you are having a good day so that you can do it on those not-so-good days too.

#3. Change the cycle of your day. 

Routine is good when it is good. But routine can also be a toxic habit that leads us down the same pathway we have been down repeatedly. By changing the cycle of your behaviors and routines, you can increase the chances of changing your thoughts, emotions, and now outcomes. 

Start small. Start with something small and easy like drinking a glass of water in the morning, and as you drink it, tell yourself this is healthy for me. Do that every day, and after 90 days, you will have completed 90 new behaviors and told yourself 90 times you are healthy. Do that for a year, and that’s 365 times you have engaged in healthy behaviors and 365 times you have told yourself you are healthy. It all adds up. 

#4. Surround Yourself With Wellness. 

I don’t mean to sit in the middle of a health food store and never leave. I mean, on those good days, make a list of people, places, and things you can do, go to see, listen to, watch, and have that make you feel good. At one point in my life, I found myself consumed with Joyce Meyer’s books. I read them all. I particularly loved the Battle Field of the Mind. I read them over and over. They gave me hope, strength and shifted my thoughts away from the unhealthy cycle and, even if just for a brief moment, into a more healthy one. 

What are you currently doing on social media? If you find yourself consumed with groups and pages where people complain, are angry, and breed negativity. It might be best you delete them immediately. The same goes for people in your life. Find groups, connections, and affiliations where you feel safe and breed a positive vibe, where if needed, you can express yourself and even ask for help. And if you ever find yourself reading a post like that, reach out. Don’t just comment with praying hands emoji or saying I’m here for you. Sometimes the action of half help can make it worse. Instead, reach out directly to them. Private message them and start a conversation, or even call them. You might just save someone’s life.  

What music boosts your mood? I know how tempting listening to the downward spiral number one hit songs where singers share about their pain, hurt, and destruction. But don’t go there. You are only reconfirming how you feel and not allowing yourself to get out of it. What makes you feel good? Surround yourself with it. 

#5 Do It Anyways.

Some things make us feel good AFTER we do them. But getting ourselves to do them is often the problem. The key is not to think and do it. I love how I feel when I do my hair. I also love how I feel when I exercise and go for a walk every day. But the moment I give myself time to think about it, the weight of the world has now seeped in and taken over. So don’t think. And the momentum you feel and receive from the boost in endorphins afterward is the moment that will keep you coming back for more. 

#6 Know when it’s time for more.

I got to the point where I felt there was no hope for me. And although I was not in a place where suicide was on the docket anymore, I felt hopeless, empty, and lost. Physically I felt like I was going to vomit thinking about what I was about to do, but the alternative of living this way any longer outweighed what I was about to do. The day I spoke these three words to someone I trusted, I felt a relief I had never felt before. “I need help.” I had no idea what that helped looked like at that moment, but my ego had finally broken its last piece, and I no longer cared about anything other than not feeling this way. 

Who can you reach out to today? Who is safe? That person didn’t have all the answers that day and what came next was scary too (lots of new things), but nothing is as frightening as where I had already been. I had already experienced hell, so what could be worse? 

I want you to know that there is hope, help, and your mental wellness is a priority. And suicide does not have to be your only solution. Taking care of your mind, thoughts, and emotions is essential and trumps any other tasks you have in your life. Every effort you make is worthy, impactful, and shows you still see that spark at the end of the tunnel. You are worth it. Your mental wellness matters!

Suicide Prevention day mother trucker yoga blog

Truck Driver Health: Guided Meditations for A Happy Mind

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A happy, healthy mind is critical to a driver’s well-being in truck driver health.

The high amount of stress drivers have to deal with day in and day out is often normalized by the industry and never taken seriously. Telling a driver to “exercise” is not a solution and can often lead to more stress, anxiety, and unhealthy practices out on the road.

With the amount of time a driver spends behind the wheel, it only makes sense that they use that time to their advantage.

The entire premise Mother Trucker Yoga is based on is easy three to five-minute moves you can do, strategies you can implement into your day from the cab of your truck. We are the first company to break down fitness and wellness for drivers into bite-size pieces. We have a unique approach to driver wellness because we are not just coming from a fitness, therapy, or exercise background. We are coming from a yoga and functional movement background. Where we focus on the whole person and practical application. And one of those applications is stress relief in the form of guided meditations and relaxation.

Truck Driver Health: Guided Meditations

And while everyone else is compartmentalizing your health, we are integrating it. If you truly want to get healthy, you have to look at the whole self. , Your Body, Your Breath, Your Internal Health, Your External Health, Your Mind, Your Spirit. It would be best if you recognized them all.

The reason yoga played such a big role in my health and wellness journey had nothing to do with a yoga mat and everything to do with what the mat taught me about living and life. And that is what I do with Mother Trucker Yoga.

And when it comes to truck driver health, guided meditation can play a big role in your overall health and happiness.

Because we have to address the mind, or nothing you try to do will ever stick.

We are currently running our 2nd Annual Going the Distance Health Challenge for Truck Drivers and helping support our drivers more during this challenge; I have created several guided breathing, meditation, and relaxation practices to help support the need for mental health mental wellness.

What is Mindfulness?

When you Google the word mindfulness, you get the following:

mind·ful·ness
/ˈmīn(d)f(ə)lnəs/
noun
  1. 1.
    the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
    “their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
  2. 2.
    a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

 

While driving, there are dozens of distractions, and they all take you away from the present moment of driving. There is a difference between something you need to pay attention to while driving and a distraction. Do you know the difference? Can you tell when you are distracted VS paying attention to something while driving?

Distractions ask you to leave what you are doing and bring your attention elsewhere. They often lead your mind down the rabbit trail of other emotions linked to the past, future, or something outside of what you are doing currently driving.

I created a driving meditation to help support truck driver health. With the time you spend sitting in the driver’s seat, you might as well do something that builds you up, leaves you happy, and supports your health.

A Mindfulness Driving Audio For Truck Drivers

This audio is not meant to distract you or make it more difficult to focus while driving, but the opposite. Give it a try and let us know in the comments what you think.

Easy to Pack Healthy Snacks for Truck Drivers

Healthy snacks for truck drivers that are easy to pack!

Packing your own travel snacks as a driver can be a challenge when it comes to things like storage space, food spoilage, and not to mention where to replace the yummy delicious snacks you have eaten and now need more.

But the good news is, as a truck driver, healthy trucker food doesn’t have to be complicated to find, pack and eat. Everyone else may be telling you you have to cook elaborate meals on the truck to “eat healthy over the road,” but I’m telling you that you can eat healthy in small bites, and even those small snacks count!

Why pack healthy snacks?

Packing healthy snacks can and will help you resist the temptation to buy those unhealthy, greasy, sugary foods at the truck stop that are starting back at you when you walk in. And truth be told, those foods are not going away anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean you have to buy them every time you walk in.

Part of the challenge is many drivers and travelers walk into the truckstop hungry, better yet, hangry, and then make decisions they would otherwise have more self-control from.

You can do this. And the key to avoiding the junk food trap is to have healthy snacks on your truck ready when you need them. Healthy snacks for truck drivers to pack won’t take a lot of time or even prep when you know what you are looking for.

Easy to pack snacks for truck drivers Mother Trucker Yoga blog post 2

Ideas for Healthy Snacks for Truck Drivers and Travelers

Nuts & Seeds

Nuts, unsalted, or low salted nuts. Look for almonds, pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, or mixed nuts. Oh, and I love an occasional bag of edamame, crunchy and so good. Yes, there are a few extra packages to throw away, but if you struggle with portion control, consider buying the snack size or travel size bags of nuts or pre-bag your nuts at home before heading out on the road. Rule of thumb an ounce or 28 grams of nuts per day. That’s about as much as what fits in the palm of your hand. And they can be a mixture of nuts or a handful of one kind, like almonds. Add a small dose of dried fruit (small because dried fruit is high in sugar) for a sweet, nutty mixture.

And if you haven’t yet ventured into the wonderful world of seeds I want to encourage you to do so. Seeds like pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, and even apricot are packed with minerals (such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, plant iron, and zinc),
vitamins B1, B2, B3, and vitamin E, and protein, healthy fats, and fiber.

Trail Mix

Now mix your seeds, nuts, and a small handful of dried fruit along with some yummy dark chocolate chips and you have yourself a yummy heart-healthy snack! Don’t forget to bag your mix-up into individual baggies before you get hungry because too much of anything is too much.

Fresh Fruit

Fresh fruit is a great travel snack idea for any driver. Although it doesn’t keep for very long, your body will thank you for the delicious fuel in the time you have. Consider fruits like oranges (large oranges, cuties, or tangerines), grapefruits, apples, plums, bananas, but eat them before they go brown because, in brown bananas, the resistant starch has almost completely transformed into simple sugars. When you eat a brown banana, your blood sugar spikes more quickly than a green one, which means it has a higher glycemic index. Have a designated basket or container to store this fruit in so it doesn’t get bruised. Consider 2-3 servings of fruit per day, and fruit is best eaten on an empty stomach.

Chips Popcorn or Pretzels?

If you require a crunchy snack and are thinking pretzels are better, you might want to think again. Potato chips have a nutritional advantage over pretzels when it comes to sodium content. And potato chips and popcorn are not only lower in salt than pretzels, but they also contain more potassium than pretzels. These snacks are a perfect example of never judge a book by its cover. Studies have shown that eating salt triggers the release of dopamine, a chemical messenger that controls your brain’s pleasure center. Once your brain gets that first reward hit, it starts craving more. This is why you can’t stop when the big back is open for business.

Consider the following:

Look for pretzels that are sprouted or made from ancient grains. There are even pretzels made out of sweet potatoes and cauliflower and taste pretty dang good.

Look for popcorn that is low salt (sea salt) and does not have extra flavoring put onto it, those are often loaded with additives and excitotoxins, which keep your body wanting more, and you can’t figure out why. I love Skinny Pop when I’m on the go, and best of all, most truck stops carry this brand. Just remember not to eat the entire bag in one sitting.

Look for chips that are low sodium, and there are even some amazing brands that now make grain-free chips that, in my opinion, are better than grain-based chips like Siete tortilla chips, or bare sea salt carrot chips, chips made from cauliflower, and of course sweet potatoes and root vegetable chips.

Rice Cakes

I have been eating rice cakes since I was a little kid. My parents were tight on cash most of my growing up years, and my mom made rice cakes so much fun to eat. Rice cakes are low fat, low sodium, and the crunch you have been looking for. Try a rice cake, peanut butter (or almond butter), and homemade jam for a sweet treat. Add a slice of banana on top for a full-on crunchy dessert. Put a thin layer of mustard and then sliced avocado on top, and you have a simple lunch. Dunk them in your soup for an alternative to saltines.

Kale Chips

Still need that salty crunch, consider kale chips. You can make them at home with a dehydrator or in your oven or you can buy them for a quick salty delicious snack packed with kale is high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamin A and calcium, as well as B vitamins, vitamin C, and potassium. Kale chips keep well when kept in a sealed container so crunch away. Plus you can crumble them on top of a salad for extra added flavor and nutrition.

Jerky

Jerky is rich in protein and a great travel snack, even a quick on-the-go meal when you don’t need to bulk up on calories. But beware most jerky brands are loaded with sugar and sodium. And you can get jerky of all kinds: beef, bison, venison (in Wisconsin we love making our own), chicken, turkey, and my personal favorite salmon! The best part is jerky is an easy to pack healthy trucker snack that you can get just about anywhere. Just remember to read the label and added ingredients that might be snuck in.

Granola or Oatmeal

Making your own granola is super simple, but if you don’t have time and want a crunch of a bit of sweet, granola is a great grab for a snack on the go. But when buying granola consider the following: look for NON-GMO verified brands and if possible organic. Because remember you are eating whatever has been sprayed on those oats, and more brands are going NON-GMO. And when you flip the bag over check the added sugar content, look at the amount of fat per serving. And most importantly, look at the ingredients being used. Many have hidden colors or flavor additives, as well as unhealthy oils.

And when it comes to oatmeal, consider overnight oats or steel-cut oats versus instant oats. You can easily use your RoadPro crockpot to cook them while you drive. Oatmeal is heart-healthy and if I had to choose sugary cereal or a greasy fast food breakfast sandwich I’d choose oatmeal.

 

Protein Balls VS Protein Bars

Often times truckers and travelers talk to me about protein bars as their go-to while traveling and I do eat them, but they should be eaten sparingly and not used to regularly replace real food. When choosing a protein bar read the ingredients, many are made with soy, laced with excitotoxins (additives, artificial colors, and flavors), and can be loaded with sugar. And remember protein bulks, and when you fill up on protein yes it will help keep you full longer, but a high intake of protein does require you to be active because protein builds muscle. And you are oftentimes better off with a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts. But here are a few of my favorite brands.

These are all easy to pack snacks for truck drivers and don’t be overwhelmed, the first step is to just choose one to buy and incorporate into your next trip. And don’t forget to make sure you get in your water each day and get enough sleep and movement, and of course, don’t forget to eat REAL FOOD. If you aren’t sure where to start join our Mother Trucker Yoga Family.

The next time you are wondering what to pack, remember Mother Trucker Yoga’s favorite snacks!

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