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Remember to stop and smell the roses

On the Wednesday following Easter I found myself in Edmonton enjoying a day off.




On the Wednesday following Easter I found myself in Edmonton enjoying a day off.

The sun was out and the mercury would climb up to 15 degrees before the day was out. I was clawing my way back into the routine of getting some regular exercise and this was the perfect day to go for a run. I had changed into my running gear and was on my way out of the yard when I bumped into Art and Sherry, one of our teams.

It had been months since I had seen them and we took the opportunity to catch up on personal news, company gossip, and small talk.

We spent a lot of time talking about how busy this trucking life is. Teams are always on the go and we were soon on the topic of things you see on the road that make you stop and pause from your hectic routine. ‘Jaw droppers,’ as Art called them.

One of these jaw droppers was the recent show of the Northern Lights across the prairies.

We were soon relating experiences of some of the incredible scenes we had witnessed while travelling through the night away from the light pollution of the cities.

As our conversation came to a close, we agreed that we don’t take the time to stop and smell the roses as often as we should.

We are often so caught up in where we have to be that we don’t take the time to appreciate where we are at that moment. I think we (drivers) are our own worst enemy when it comes to taking a little personal time during the day. Stopping to smell the roses isn’t about waiting for a jaw dropper to come along and grab your attention. It’s about taking the time each day to do something of benefit to yourself. This is what my daily run or walk is all about.

The poor economy has intensified the normal stress factors in a driver’s daily life and added additional ones. It has become more important than ever for me to take some time each day to deal with those stresses. Income and home time are where I have felt the most pressure over the last couple of years, but there have also been sweeping changes across the industry.

Combine the fact that I’m not getting any younger with the issues of the day and it is no wonder I have been feeling the blues of late.

Allowing yourself some personal downtime each day often goes against the grain and can add stress to your day if you don’t keep it in the right perspective.

A number of years ago, when I first started getting some regular daily exercise, I had to force myself to do it. At first it was just another task to squeeze into my already busy day. I don’t view it that way any longer.

The repetitive nature of running or walking at a steady pace takes my mind away from the issues of the day and recharges it.

I started to exercise to improve my physical health but in time found it was a greater benefit for my mental health. The physical benefits are now more of a side effect.

Do I think exercising every day helps keep the body and mind healthy? Do I feel that exercise can help a person cope with the stresses of daily life?

Certainly I do. But I have come to that belief out of my own experience over a period of years.

There are many ways to cope with stress and it is up to each of us to find our own path.

The path starts with a commitment to take some time for yourself each day. It sounds so easy, but it is anything but. It’s a personal lifestyle issue. We have all heard that there is an impending driver shortage, that employers will be scrambling to find qualified drivers in the near future. I don’t think we should take that for granted.

It will take a long time for this industry to recover from the shrink it has experienced over the last couple of years.

Employers will have no choice but to find creative ways to control costs as they rebuild their market share.

I think the changes we have seen in the first decade of the new millennium will pale in comparison to what we will see in the coming decade. Drivers will face many new challenges, good and bad.

I am certain of the fact that facing those challenges is much more enjoyable when you are healthy and at ease in your own mind.

Finding that good health and ease in your life starts with taking a little time each day to stop and smell the roses.

-Al Goodhall has been a professional long-haul driver since 1998. He shares his experiences via his ‘Over the Road’ blog at http://truckingacrosscanada.blogspot.com.You can also follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/AlGoodhall.

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‘I think we (drivers) are our own worst enemy when it comes to taking a little personal time during the day. Stopping to smell the roses isn’t about waiting for a jaw dropper to come along and grab your attention. It’s about taking the time each day to do something of benefit to yourself.’


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