As truck drivers we all know how hard it is to find balance. The balance of long workdays, combined with time on the road, and family obligations, finding time for ourselves or personal interests and our health is a challenge. Like many drivers this one I struggle with. The last several years has been working on loosing weight and improving my health. (Yes it has been a roller-coaster.) As well as doing health advocacy for drivers and behind the scenes works on many other projects.
I fell into a trap. I allowed myself to get so busy and over-committed. That frankly I burned out. Here I am one of the biggest advocates for cooking on the truck as a way to improve your health. Yet I began to eat more and more in the truck stop. Why? I was working very long days driving and helping with projects related to cooking and driver health. It became easier to go into truck stop and let someone else cook while I was answering e-mails and phone calls. As my stress mounted I began to stress eat. On one occasion I am embarrassed to admit. I realized I ate probably close to an 1/8 of a sheet cake with out realizing it at a buffet. I was so focused on work I just stopped thinking about what I put into my mouth.
As a result the weight I had worked so hard to loose came back. Then some family issues came up increasing my stress and in short, I stopped trying. During this time I caught a couple of those seasonal bugs going around the ones while you’re not sick you just feel drained and wiped. So I retreated. I stopped blogging, and cut back on really everything. Several friends kept encouraging me to get back on track. The company Doctor yelled at me on my last physical, and slowly my motivation to get things done is returning. I have lost some weight about 8-10 lbs depending on the scale. I also am finding the desire to cook quick simple things on the truck again. As well as my inspiration and desire to write and blog and do other things is returning.
How I recovered my interest and passion for many things is simple. I pulled back and began doing simple things that I enjoyed like reading or taking a casual walk on a scenic path. Not walking fast for exercise but just to enjoy myself. Taking this time to myself allowed me to reset. I also had conversations with trusted friends and business partners. They encouraged me to simplify and focus on doing a few things well rather than trying to do everything. I also have found some good friends with similar interests to help me in certain areas. I have realized I can not do everything on my own. (That was not an easy lesson to learn, and accept.) I have said this before and will say it again. Driving truck can be healing for me when I allow it can heal my soul by giving me the time I need for myself.
Slowly my motivation and interests have been returning. I have often said the journey to physical health begins with small steps and doing them consistently. I am realizing that all aspects of health and life on the road are the same. They are taking small steps so that you feel fulfilled, but not allowing yourself to get so overburdened with projects, and interests that you stop having time for yourself.
So slowly this summer my hiatus, or beak form it all is coming to an end. In fact, I have begun to look at it as if I am taking a vacation from my break. I have found I missed the interactions and everything else that goes along with it. However, I have learned a few important lessons.
- Take time to yourself. It is OK to be selfish and take some time where you focus on you.
- Do not over commit. We spend so much time on the road. That when we do get time off we tend to try and do too much in our free time to make up for things we miss out on the road. As a result we come back more tired than when we left.
- Find friends or others that can help keep you focused and give you that friendly slap upside the head when needed.
- Have fun. The great Wendy Parker at Overdrive (of the George and Wendy Show on Facebook) who I am pleased to consider a friend. (Why she puts up with me is a good question.) Told me last year when I was having a bad day with my head firmly in my rectal cavity. If you’re not having fun then why the HE double hockey-sticks are you doing it.
A special thanks to Wendy, my friends, family, and partners who have put up with me over the last several months on my “hiatus”. They have helped me to realize it is OK to take time to yourself. But at the end of the day you have to take that vacation from your hiatus and get back to reality. Thanks to everyone who has been part of that important lesson I have had to learn yet again while one the road.