Life and Stress

It has been a rough week for me and I have slacked on my writing which has added to my stress. However, I remained on point with my food intake and exercise and my weight has remained the same from last week. Maybe with a few quiet hours this morning I can actually get a few thoughts down.

It can be quite tough to accomplish, but when life seems to be knocking us down, we need to double down in our efforts at normalcy. These are the times when we benefit the most by keep our nutrition on point and by ensuring that we make time for our physical fitness activities. If you are the type of individual, and most of us are, that gets side tracked with your diet easily with stress, it is of the upmost importance that you find a way to not get knocked off of your path to success. After all, how often have we encountered a friend or loved one who was doing a spectacular job in losing weight and getting healthy and then completely lose their way when a single instance or series of bad life events has occurred? I know that we can read about this daily on Weight Watchers social media Connect.

When “Life” happens, the world does not stop spinning to let us off, which is exactly why we have to remain vigilant of taking care of our own health. Sometimes, in being a care taker of a sick loved, you could find your own well being circling the drain too. It does no one any good when you let yourself go while caring for a loved one. Being a care taker is a huge responsibility, and the big old world just keeps spinning no matter what our troubles may be.

I began this week pretty much the same as I would any other except that the wife and I have also had the task of being a care taker of a loved one added to our lives. We have a loved one who is morbidly obese, has lost his mobility and is suffering from liver failure. To compound the problem is with liver failure comes a degradation of mental faculties. And then each trip into town to assist him is 50 miles round trip. Care taking can be time consuming, expensive and mentally exhausting for even the strongest among us.

Even with all that is happening in my life, the events of day to day living keep moving on.

Monday is a day off from the road for me. For those new to my blog, I am a trucker besides being a health and fitness author. Monday morning is a weight training day for me. With all that which is happening, the most intelligent choice for me is to treat my weight training with the same importance as I do my job. Therefore, this is my first activity of the day. Why is it so important for me to go to the gym only to pick up and set down heavy iron? Because it is so much more than physical exercise, lifting weights keeps my mind centered and focused in order to handle the daily stresses which come along. Lifting weights requires concentration, and during the process, you get a release of endorphins which have a soothing effect that mitigates the overwhelming impact of other life issues. Therefore I must prioritize my weight training on my day off. On non-lifting days, I usually get in my cardiovascular exercise such as simply walking. I aim to walk at least 7 miles an outing two to three days per week. No matter what, strength training is completed three days a week. This takes a priority as when done right, heavy weight training is cardiovascular in nature anyhow.

Even without having a loved one in a bad way right now, my profession is one which can be filled with tremendous stress. Trucking is hard on all who choose it as a profession, and with stricter Department of Transportation physical requirements, the day of the fat out of shape trucker is coming to a close. And this is a good thing in my opinion.

For a snap shot into my life, here goes; My leave time from the dock is midnight. However, it is more often than not that my load is not ready until 1:30 am or 2:00am. When you have 950 miles to run, this set back adds to the stress of meeting a schedule. And heaven forbid you find a problem with your truck during your pre trip inspection as a needed repair can set you back even longer.

Once your load is ready, you have to ensure that you have the appropriate placards on your trailer in the event you are hauling hazardous material. If you are smart, you weigh your truck before getting on the highway. Often, we are loaded to maximum capacity, and even if the gross weight of the truck has not been exceeded, you can still be overweight on an an axle which is just as bad as your gross being exceeded. The charge and fine are the same no matter. If you are over weight, then you have to adjust your axle position and then re-weigh to see if the adjustment got your truck within legal specs. If not, then we have to return to the dock and have some of the load removed. Unfortunately, there are some are stressed to the gills who just say the hell with it and run with their load be it legal or not.

Once on the road, we have to contend with all the same hazards as any other motorist, except in our case, vigilance has to always be sharp to a higher degree than when driving a car. It can take a semi the length of a football field to come to a stop even in an emergency. Inclement weather makes it even worse. My company does not shut down for bad weather, not even when the roads are icy. I will guarantee you that your butt will pucker when you feel your 53 foot trailer wanting to jack knife on an icy road. It is times like this where you absolutely must remain calm, think quickly and take swift actions while not over reacting. Stress can be a killer on the road even without the added problems from home which can compound it many times over. I do this trip three to four nights per week and will continue writing about life on the road while remaining physically fit. And the way I do remain fit is to prioritize my activities.

Besides my work schedule, I preplan as much as possible. There are variables in my week which remain a constant as well as the unexpected. In order to best handle the unexpected, I keep my schedule consistent. Saturday, I get to the gym early and work out for about an hour. This is a must on my schedule. Afterwards, I grocery shop for the week. I have a list of staples which are a constant every week. This removes stress by not having to place much thought into what I am going to buy. I have my constants and minimize all other purchases. This also keeps my grocery bill consistent week to week. I work every other Saturday, so on my work days, I make it a point to lay down and sleep from about 5:00pm until 10:30pm before going on the road.

Sunday, if I did not go on the road, I get up and have breakfast. As with all of my meals, it is going to be high protein and low carbs. After breakfast, or in the evening once it has cooled some, I like to go for brisk walks for at least a couple of hours.

Monday is a lifting day, where I also prepare healthy pre-measured food for my nights on the road. I always prepare healthy foods ahead of time in order to not fall into the rut of grabbing crap from a truck stop while out. I pack ham or turkey sandwiches on low carb whole grain bread, boiled eggs, protein bars that are sugar free, nuts and occasionally fruit. By doing this, I also am able to keep my stress down as when I am running behind on the road, I do not have a need to find a clean truck stop where I then have to find parking which can add another half hour to my eighteen hour work day.

I also have meals planned out for when I come home from the road. I will have a three hour break on Wednesday and Thursday nights where I can come home while my truck is being reloaded. Because of preplanning, I know when I walk through my door what I am going to eat, and how much, all in order to simplify my tracking. In summary, as I close out this piece, I will be writing more on this topic, what I want to emphasize is life can be a bitch for all of us from time to time. We can all succumb to stress, or we can mitigate its effects through preplanning and keeping a healthy schedule no matter what pops up. Besides a very busy work schedule, we have become care takers. It is important to not let my own health swirl down the drain so no matter what, I will keep to my exercise regimen and preplanning of all that I eat. Otherwise, I could be needing a care taker soon too.

11 Comments Add yours

  1. Brenda Sue says:

    Oh, this is an excellent piece, David. You leave us with no excuse to be unhealthy!

    1. davidyochim says:

      Thank you. I had a few distractions while writing this one.

      1. Brenda Sue says:

        But you still got it done, and that’s a perfect example of what you wrote about and the core of this series that’s upcoming…good work.

      2. davidyochim says:

        And now with my new tablet, I can write while on the road logged to my sleeper!

  2. Joanna Geno says:

    Thank you David for sharing how you manage your busy life while keeping on track. I agree with planning and preparing ahead meals and snacks. This keeps me from getting too overwhelmed and staying on course with my journey. Stay well my friend and be safe. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ‹๏ธโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ’—

    1. davidyochim says:

      Thank you Joanna. I hope you enjoy our series of topics Brenda and I will be authoring.

  3. LeAnne Miron says:

    I had no idea how busy a schedule is for a trucker. Lots of challenges you have addressed and overcome. Gives us motivation to become disciplined in managing our routines. What do you do for fun to de stress?

    1. davidyochim says:

      Hi LeAnne thanks for the kind words. Yes, my schedule is quite a busy one. For instance, I work 80 hours one week and then a 60 hour week the next before getting a couple days in a row off. I will finish my 80 hour week tomorrow evening and begin a 60 hour week which begins Tuesday through Friday. As for recreation and de stressing. I ride a motorcycle, I weight train and do brisk walks. I love to fish and a great day of relaxation is to go to our local range where I can shoot my fire arms in a safe environment.

      1. LeAnne Miron says:

        A true wild heart!๐Ÿ˜˜

  4. Laura says:

    Life is constantly changing, as you already well know. I was just having this conversation with my husband this morning. He just left for an insanely busy work week on the road, and will be through KS twice this week. Thank you for pointing out how important it is to keep ourselves on track, even when things go south.

    1. davidyochim says:

      I pray your husband completes his trips safely Laura. I just got off of the road about an hour ago this evening myself. Thank you for your kind words and continued support my friend. We truly appreciate it.

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