avoiding burnout

Truck driving is more than a job; it’s a lifestyle! There are pros and cons to the lifestyle, and there are risks just like with anything else. One of the risks of a truck driving job is overworking and not getting enough rest or vacation time. This can lead to burnout, which is defined as mental or physical collapse by overwork or stress. Driving a truck for a living has some unique stressors associated with it. Being on the road and away from home can take a toll on the body, and dealing with demands from different people can stress the mind. Here’s what you need to know for avoiding burnout as a truck driver.

What leads to driver burnout?

The real question is what doesn’t lead to truck driver burnout! Often there is pressure by carriers for drivers to remain on the road longer. Drivers are usually payed by the mile and they know that the more they drive, the more they earn. A shortage of drivers in the industry means that carriers will count on a smaller and smaller pool of drivers to haul freight across the country. Even if your carrier isn’t pressuring you to take more runs, the “normal” truck driver hours can still be exhausting. Truck drivers don’t have a typical 9 am-5 pm, forty-hour work week, and are working much more than the average American worker.

OTR drivers may have it toughest since they spend days or weeks on the road. Being away from home and family for that long is a source of stress and exhaustion. Most drivers will try to keep the job from becoming tiring by keeping a strong set of hobbies and interests.

Even if you’re finding ways to relax, eat well, and get plenty of sleep, no one is immune from the effects of stress.

Finally, drivers deal with a whole host of people who can often be difficult. Working with carriers, dispatchers, shippers, and receivers can be overwhelming.

Effects of burnout

At this point, you may be saying to yourself that burnout can happen to anyone and it’s not a big deal. The truth is the effects of burnout are damaging to yourself and those around you! Not dealing with burnout effectively can lead your mental and physical health to suffer, your relationships to suffer, and can put your job at risk as well. Think about it- who is more likely to slack off on the job, be tired while driving, or be disrespectful to colleagues- a well adjusted driver or a driver suffering from burnout? Drivers with burnout will suffer from irritability and frustration. This leads to less tolerance towards other drivers on the road and makes accidents more likely. Other effects of burnout are insomnia, sleep apnea, or other sleep disorders. At the end of the day this means more tired truck drivers on the road, and a higher risk of accidents.

The truth is that burnout is directly linked to your safety and the safety of other drivers on the road.

If drivers push themselves beyond their limits, they are more likely to suffer from poor health. Burnout can lead to lack of exercise and unhealthy diet choices. Obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and a host of other health effects are directly related to burnout. Drivers will not find time to exercise or eat well, which makes them feel more unmotivated to do so, and the vicious cycle continues. Drivers can also have severe mood effects, like apathy or depression.

While they once loved life on the open road, they may grow to dislike truck driving and become resentful of the job and the lifestyle.

If your mental health suffers, it will also affect those around you, including your loved ones and other truck drivers.

Avoiding burnout

The good news is that avoiding burnout is not impossible. Burnout can be managed, and stress can be dealt with in healthy ways. While stress isn’t unavoidable, you can learn better strategies to manage and cope with stress and avoid burnout.

A regular sleep schedule is probably the number one thing you can do to avoid burnout and remain healthy. While a truck driver’s schedule is often unpredictable, having some control over your sleep cycle will help regulate the body regardless of other schedule changes. Once the body gets used to sleeping the same time and waking the same time, it can reduce the effects of stress. Ideally, you’d have regularly scheduled runs with a more predictable schedule. While that’s a goal you can strive towards in the long-run, maintaining the same sleep routine will improve mental and physical health and avoid burnout.

Just like your truck needs proper fuel, your body will collapse if it is not getting the right fuel.

Beyond sleeping well, maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise is what fuels your body the right way. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring or expensive. Many drivers cook in their cab or find cheaper and healthier options of which restaurants to visit. Keeping a handful of healthy snacks in the cab is also helpful. Exercising as a truck driver isn’t impossible either. The secret is to do smaller sessions of exercise but keep them more regular and consistent.

Finding time to take breaks from the job will help you avoid burnout. We don’t mean the sort of “downtime” where you’re technically still on the job! Downtime between loads or while waiting at the shipper or receiver doesn’t really count since you have no idea how soon you’ll be working again. Use the mandated rest time allows you to know exactly how much time you have before driving again. Then you can decide how to best use the time. Don’t skip vacations or PTO days because you think you can’t afford them.

The truth is truck driver can’t afford NOT to take vacations.

Aside from getting the chance to spend quality time with family, it will also give you the chance to rest away from trucking and recharge before returning to life on the road.

As you can see, avoiding burnout isn’t impossible for truck drivers. Remember the toll that burnout can take on yourself and others, and use these helpful tips to remain healthy and stress-free.


The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

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Truckers are faced with the daily dilemma of stopping at a rest stop or fast food chain for a quick bite to eat or preparing a meal themselves. Oftentimes truckers don’t have a full kitchen or much time to prepare extensive meals so cooking can be challenging. To help, we put together a list of 6 easy microwavable recipes for truck drivers to quickly prepare on a break.


Image courteous of Dashing Dish

1. Omelet

This mug omelet is perfect for truckers looking for a filling breakfast that takes less than 5 minutes to prepare.

Add vegetables, cheese, and meat and enjoy the omelet straight from the mug or throw it into a tortilla for a breakfast burrito. Get the recipe →




Image courteous of The Bitten Word

2. Sweet Potato Chips

These are a great, healthy alternative to regular potato chips and actually taste just as good.

Add salt and rosemary to the sliced potatoes, pop them in the microwave, and enjoy a delicious sweet and salty snack. Get the recipe →




Image courtesy of The Gingham Apron

3. Blueberry Muffin

Craving something sweet? This is perfect for meeting the craving with a healthier alternative that takes less than 5 minutes to prepare.

Not in the mood for a blueberry muffin? Swap out the blueberries for chocolate chips, raisins, or another fruit. Get the recipe →




Image courtesy of The Food Network

4. Mushroom Risotto

Ever made risotto on the stove and stirred the pot for 30 minutes? Get the same delicious taste with half the work.

Stir together the ingredients in a microwave-safe dish and get ready for the perfect side dish. Get the recipe →




Image courtesy of Bigger Bolder Baking

5. Potato Soup

This soup is loaded with cheese, bacon, potato, and scallions and only takes a few minutes to prepare.

Top the soup off with a spoonful of sour cream and enjoy on a cold, winter day. Get the recipe →




Image courtesy of Joyful Healthy Eats

6. Parmesan Herb Spaghetti Squash

This quick dish trumps Easy Mac any day. Not only is this a healthier alternative to microwave pasta, but it’s also filling and delicious.

Prepare the recipe in 5 minutes, throw in the microwave for 15 minutes, and enjoy. Top with grilled chicken for extra protein. Get the recipe →



These easy microwavable recipes for truck drivers should save time and money spent stopping at a drive-through and also provide truckers with quick, delicious recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.


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This time of year many people make resolutions to improve their overall health and well-being. Making positive changes to make sure you’re getting enough exercise, eating well and getting enough sleep are certainly important. But what about your brain’s health? What are you doing to keep your mind sharp and improve focus on the road?

A recent article on American Trucker’s website spoke with Brian Ryder, a business creativity consultant.  He points out 7 key ways to train your brain and improve mental focus while driving.

As we age, our brain also needs stay in shape. “It’s really not hard to sharpen your thinking and improve your mind power,” Ryder contends. “A lot of people don’t try it because they think that mentally, they ‘are where they are.’ It’s not so. You have a lot of room for improvement.”

It’s all about taking care of yourself and creating new ways to keep your mind sharp. Sometimes the simplest changes to your daily routines are the most beneficial. Add a few of these to your other resolutions for a great 2019!


The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

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Truck drivers often struggle with maintaining healthy habits over the road because they often lead a sedentary lifestyle when driving long distances. Extended hours spent in the truck can often lead to higher levels of stress, dependence on stimulants to stay alert, less activity throughout the day, and lack of access to healthy food options. This tends to take a toll on drivers as they have a hard time overcoming these obstacles.

In order to provide drivers with access to healthy habits and tips for easily maintaining them, we put together this ultimate guide.

easy-exercises-workout-truck-drivers1. Exercise

Truck drivers can work up to 11 hours per day, and this oftentimes leaves little room for breaks or exercise. When trying to find the time for exercising, drivers need activities that can be completed virtually anywhere, don’t take a lot of time, and are effective.

The list of exercises below is an easy way to incorporate activity into a truck driver’s day. Drivers can either choose a routine that doesn’t require any equipment or weights, or they can choose a routine that involves using a pair of free weights.

Time Per Exercise Using Only Your Body Weight Or Using Free Weights
1 minute Squats Single Arm Row
1 minute Push-Ups Double Chest Press
1 minute Lunges Split Squat
1 minute Tricep Dips Bicep Curls
1 minute Jumping Jacks Lunges with Weights

When running through these exercises, it’s recommended to do each exercise as many times as possible for 1 full minute, rest for 30 seconds in between each exercise, and then repeat the entire cycle of exercises 3 times. This will produce a high-intensity, full-body workout in 20 minutes, which can be repeated easily a few times per week.

Freightliner In-Cab Training System

Some truck drivers have even taken working out to the next level and have discovered a way to incorporate a complete gym in their truck by using the FIT System (Freightliner In-Cab Training System).

This exercise and flexibility system is designed to allow the driver to do an upper body, lower body, and cardiovascular workout in the comfort and safety of the cab of their truck. The system is easy to install and use in the truck and can also be brought inside to a home or hotel room.

healthy-food-options-recipes-truck-drivers2. Healthy Food Options

We’ve all heard that we need to eat more fruits and vegetables. But truckers often face difficulty when trying to access healthy food options, especially fresh produce. Planning ahead and packing food for the road is the best way to not settle for fast food when it comes time for the next meal.

Most drivers who bring food in their truck prepare ahead and pack meals that can be kept in a small cooler. Below are a few ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that are easy for truck drivers to grab from their cooler, heat up in their microwave, and enjoy quickly on a break.

Breakfast Ideas Lunch Ideas Dinner Ideas
Protein Smoothie or Protein Bar Pasta Salad with Veggies Chicken and Veggie Quesadillas
Oatmeal with Berries and Nuts Turkey Burger Grilled Chicken with a Potato Side
Toast with Peanut Butter Grilled Chicken Salad Chili

In between meals, many truck drivers also look for snacks that will keep them full and alert while driving. Making good snacking choices can help drivers maintain energy longer and avoid consuming empty calories.

Before reaching for that next snack, be sure to check out the good and bad lists below:

The Good Snack List The Bad Snack List
Apple, Celery, or Banana with Peanut Butter Candy
Pita and Hummus Rice Cakes/Crackers
Protein Energy Balls Pretzels
Yogurt Veggie Straws
Overnight Oats Potato Chips
Trail Mix: Nuts, Seeds, Dried Fruit Cereal
Hardboiled Egg Brownie or other sweet treats

Truckers Who Pack Also Save Money

In addition to having quick, easy access to healthier food options, drivers who pack their meals often also see increased financial savings from month to month. Research shows that the number one expense for drivers is food. By packing snacks and meals ahead of a drive, truckers be less inclined to stop at a fast-food restaurant, and will in turn, save cash and calories.

sleep-relax-meditate-truck-drivers3. Sleep and Relax

After a long day spent driving, a good night’s sleep is exactly what most truck drivers need. Not only does resting allow drivers to regain strength for the next day, but it also helps them unwind physically and mentally. However, being able to fully unwind after driving all day may sound easier than it is.

To help drivers change gears after a shift and start to relax, it’s recommended to avoid eating at least three hours before bedtime, turn off electronics at least 30 minutes before sleeping, and even try meditating. These activities will allow the body to start melatonin production for a restful night’s sleep.

When preparing for bedtime, consider the do and don’t lists below:

The Do List The Don’t List
Listen to relaxing music Watch TV or videos
Meditate Talk to others on the phone
Drink a glass of water or warm tea Enjoy one last snack of the day
Read a book or magazine Scroll through Facebook or other social apps
Dim the lights Have bright lights on in the truck

Benefits of Meditation for Truck Drivers

Meditation is proven to help drivers refocus after a long day and ensure a better night’s sleep. Drivers can meditate easily by downloading an app such as Headspace or Calm, or they can practice the same meditation techniques without needing any technology. In order to get started, drivers can sit in a chair or in their truck, and place their feet flat on the floor. They can then place their palms face down on their lap, closing their eyes. Then, they can breathe slowly and deeply for 10-15 minutes, trying to keep their mind blank.

Taking an extra 10 minutes each morning or evening to unwind can be extremely beneficial for a driver’s mental and emotional well-being, especially after a long day on the road.

We hope this ultimate guide will help truck drivers learn and maintain these three healthy habits over the road!


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Ditch the chips! We’ve got some of the yummiest potato recipes that are sure to keep drivers full and focused.

Image via Pixabay

Deciding what food to take on your route can be a hard choice. Perhaps you’re trying to stick with your diet or cut down on carbs. Or, maybe you struggle just to remember to pack anything at all. Regardless of where your appetite is, celebrate National Potato Day (Aug. 19) by giving you some easy-peasy potato recipes that are sure to please.

Taters: A History

Potatoes have been a popular food for centuries. The fourth most largely farmed crop today, they were originally cultivated by the Inca Indians of Peru. When the Spanish conquered Peru, it was only a matter of time before they brought potatoes back to Europe. Because they’re so easy to grow, they soon caught on as a staple across the continent. After the famous potato blight in the 1840’s, famine forced many families, notably the Irish, to immigrate elsewhere, such as Canada and America. Their migration effectively brought this wonderful starch into our lives. And so, the potato can now be found on the shelves of virtually every home in the U.S.

One of the most versatile foods, any potato — mashed, smashed, chipped, or covered in cheese — can be eaten as a snack or meal. Additionally, the vitamins in potatoes, like iron, potassium, and vitamin C, make spuds the ideal ingredient to bring on the road. Read on to find the perfect recipe for your route.

The Easiest

Image via Getty Images

Baked potatoes are about as basic as you can get in terms of food-prep. It’s a sure fire way of guaranteeing yourself a delicious, edible meal every single time. If you’re planning on cooking them ahead of time, simply pick out your favorite tater (we recommend Russets for this method), and rub it down with some oil, salt, and pepper. Throw the potato on a baking sheet and let it roast in the oven for about an hour on 425°F. The result? A crispy on the outside, soft and steamy on the inside baked potato.

Can’t make it ahead of time? Many grocery stores supply potatoes pre-wrapped. Throw that sucker in the microwave, per package instructions, of course, and you’ll have the same delicious outcome.

Looking to amp up your tater-game? Add toppings! Some simple, nutritious combinations include adding broccoli and cheddar cheese, or even just the usual sour cream, bacon, and chives. If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try using sweet potatoes, and topping them off with some BBQ chicken? Plain or decked out, you’re looking at an easy, satisfying meal.

The Snackiest

Image via Getty Images

Ever wish you had an equally crunchy, perfectly salted substitute for your favorite potato chips? Well, now you do. Enter baked potato chips. By making your own, you can control exactly how much oil and salt you add, cutting down on some serious calories. You can find a recipe for your own chips anywhere, but we recommend this one by Kimberly Eggleston. She’s a registered dietitian who has been cooking up her own recipes for decades. The trick to her recipe is to slice the potatoes as thinly as possible for that extra crunch.

No time to make your own? Not a problem. Many brands are now offering their chips in a baked form, including the ever-popular Lays. Even buying a bag of baked chips over fried cuts down on cholesterol and trans fat, and you’ll feel less weighed down, too!

The Healthiest

Image via Garlic & Zest

Time to hop on the cauliflower bandwagon. Though this recipe isn’t actually made of potatoes, it’s perfect for the more health-conscious trucker. Cauliflower mashed potatoes has become something of a fad in recent months. Doctors everywhere are recommending low-carb diets, and beaming about the health benefits that come with them. One of the main substitutes that they recommend is using cauliflower as a replacement for more carb-heavy recipes, such as pizza crust, buffalo wings, and, now, even mashed potatoes.

Simply prepare a head of cauliflower by trimming any excess leaves, and chop the whole head into bigger chunks. Add to a boiling pot of water until soft, and drain. In batches, add the cauliflower to a food processor with a tablespoon of butter, a couple cloves of garlic, and salt and pepper to taste, and pulse until smooth.

No time to make your own? Birds Eye offers an exceptional frozen version of their cauliflower mash. Simply throw their dish in the microwave per box instructions, and you’ve got a perfect, creamy mash to indulge in.


The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

Download the Guide Now

ReedThe health benefits of a ketogenic life are not just physical. They’re also mental. What you eat affects a lot more than your weight. It affects your mood, your well being, even your relationships.

A lot of health problems could be solved simply by reducing sugar and grain in your daily diet and eating more ketogenic foods, low in carbs and high in healthy fats. The ketogenic diet works especially well on certain ailments. Here are three common health problems and how a ketogenic diet can alleviate them:

Type 2 Diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes, the body fails to create enough insulin to lower blood sugar after a meal. That’s why, for type 2 diabetics, blood sugar levels continue to rise. A ketogenic diet can help you avoid the most dangerous impacts of type 2 diabetes. By consuming foods high in healthy fats (such as avocado and olive oil) and reducing your intake of carbohydrates, you can change the body’s energy source, so it uses stored fats for energy. The result: Blood sugar and insulin decline. Having a ketogenic diet is a great way to manage, and even reverse, type 2 diabetes.

High Blood Pressure

ReedHaving high blood pressure is a significant risk factor for several diseases, such as heart disease, kidney failure and stroke. While high blood pressure has many causes, salty foods, clogged arteries and stress are common causes of it.

A ketogenic diet low in carbohydrates can be an important tool in reducing blood pressure. It also ups your intake of healthy fats and the “good” cholesterol your body needs. The bottom line, a ketogenic diet can cause a significant reduction in blood pressure.


ReedIf you are getting ready for bed in the evening and notice swelling around your ankles and calves, it’s actually a sign of inflammation. A certain amount of inflammation is good to a point, because it helps heal problematic areas of your body.

However, too much inflammation is not good. It causes pain, fatigue and stiff joints and makes it hard for people to move freely. Limiting carbohydrates and sugar allows the body to keep inflammation low, therefore reducing joint pain and muscle soreness, write Jimmy Moore and Eric C. Westman, M.D. in their book Keto Clarity. So if you want to reduce inflammation, try reducing the amount of carbohydrates in your daily diet and replacing them with healthy fats such as walnuts, almonds and salmon.

The three health conditions above could result from too much sugar and grain in your diet.

Begin by taking small, concrete steps to reduce your intake of sugar and grains, and when you achieve minimum sugar and carbohydrates below 40 grams a day you will see real results.

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The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

Download the Guide Now

Image via LiveTrucking.com

“My life was not a waste. I can see good that has come from my life whether it is at the end or whether I’m just at a bump in the road.”

A 40-year career trucker who has inspired millions over the past few months through his now-viral video has died.

After discovering he had stage four colon cancer in May, Tulsa, Okla., CDL driver Delvin Simmons recorded his last trip and shared it on social media.

“If I had had a colonoscopy five years ago, this may have all been different,” Simmons told News On 6. Simmons said he was devastated to hear the diagnosis after his first colonoscopy. His doctors believe they could have detected and treated the cancer if Simmons had the procedure 10 years prior.

Simmons spent his remaining days focused on family, music, and promotion of the importance of colonoscopies. “I wanted to make that video for my kids in case I did not make the journey through this cancer,” Simmons said.

To share his story, he took to the road as his son, Justin, recorded the trip. They blasted Simmons’ favorite song “The Old Man Is Dead” by Del Way. The video has over 4 million views on Facebook.

“I have sat in this hospital and I have cried. Not for sadness but because I am overwhelmed at what God is doing with that song,” said Simmons.

Read more about Simmons’ story at News On 6.

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A CDL truck driver and his dog are alive and well after narrowly escaping from a crash.

Tractor trailer crash.

Photo via WWNY TV

As reported by WWNY, the unnamed driver was traveling down New York Route 37 outside Theresa, when a deer ran into the road. The driver swerved, overturning his cab and trailer. And then, both the driver and his dog were trapped for nearly 45 minutes before rescue teams could get to the crash.

Theresa Fire Chief Mark Savage told WWNYC he was surprised that both the driver and the dog sustained minor injuries. Also, he said the driver seemed to be in good spirits as he walked away from the truck. “Lots of cuts and bruises, a little sore,” Savage told the station, “…but other than that, [the driver] is alive and doing well.”

Both the driver and his dog were taken to a local hospital and animal clinic respectively.


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Tips and Tricks to Help You Keep Up With 2018

As March approaches, many of us are looking back on the resolutions we made ourselves on January 1st with greatly reduced expectations. That promise to eat healthier has become a vow to eat bacon only every other day, and that commitment to a daily morning run has turned back into your morning walk to the fridge. Making a change to your daily routine is harder than it looks — more than half of all New Year’s Resolutions fail. The temptation to fall back into our old ways is all around us, but here at Drive My Way, we’re committed to help you stick to your resolutions to make 2018 your best year yet.

If your resolution was to eat healthier…

Nearly 40% of Americans vow every year to sneak some extra fruits and veggies into their diet. This can seem like a daunting task when you’re on the road all day, especially with all the chips and other unhealthy options at rest stops and gas stations. To keep your diet on track consider preparing and packing meals the day before that can be kept in a small cooler.

Cold items, like yogurt and salads, are great for a quick breakfast or lunch on the go.

For dinner, consider a pasta dish full of veggies and your favorite sauce. Pack in a microwave-safe container to easily heat up in the microwave.

Mini bags of carrots and single-serving hummus or an apple with peanut butter both great alternatives to the snacks you’d normally find on the road.

If your resolution was to exercise more…

Getting in your daily crunches might seem like a daunting task for truckers, especially when you’re on the road all day. But fear not! We’ve found some great ways to help you get in shape while on the job. See our article on Exercises You Can Do On The Road for more information.

If your resolution was to save money…

Packing meals can help you save money and eat healthier. Research has found that the number one thing drivers spend their money on is food. By packing snacks and small meals with you, you’ll be less inclined to stop at a fast-food restaurant and you will save yourself some cash and calories.

Sign up for a fuel rewards card. This card will save you money on gas, food, and truck maintenance, and some offer free rewards once you’ve reached certain spending limits.

Make sure you’re getting the best gas mileage your truck can offer. Playing around with RPM and making sure your tires are inflated and aligned properly will help you save in the long run. Using a better GPS app, such as Waze, will help you find the most efficient routes so you’re not wasting time and gas.

Take advantage of free wifi at rest stops. Phone bill fees really add up — quickly. Make sure to log in to the wifi when you make a stop in order to avoid hefty fees for going over your monthly data.

If your resolution was to destress…

Put down the screen! Looking at your phone or GPS screen for too long can cause strain on the eyes, and lead to headaches and migraines. During your down time, consider picking up a book or a magazine. Research shows that reducing the amount of blue light you see before bed also helps your brain know it’s time to sleep, helping you get a better night’s rest.

Try downloading a meditation app like Headspace. Sit in a chair or in your truck, and place your feet flat on the floor in front of you. Put your palms face down on your lap and close your eyes. Breathe slowly and deeply for 10-15 minutes, and try to keep your mind blank. Taking an extra ten minutes each morning or evening to unwind can be extremely beneficial to your mental and emotional well-being, especially after a long day on the road.

Ensure that you’re getting enough exercise. Take frequent breaks from driving and take a lap or two around your truck. Exercise creates endorphins, which allow your body to relax and boost your mood. Even one short walk each day can help reduce stress over a time.

When setting New Year’s Resolutions, it is important that you set smaller goals so you don’t get overwhelmed. By chunking up a larger goal into smaller bits, it becomes more manageable and you’ll be more motivated to achieve them. Even small, daily changes can lead to something big!


The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

Download the Guide Now

Walmart truck driver Carol Nixon shares a special story of determination and generosity. Her story inspires us entering into 2018 and helps us set goals for the year.

Carol Nixon, 48, of St. James, Mo., drove since 1990. Over the past five years, she has worked as an over-the-road driver for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. In February of 2015 she met Deb Pollard, a fellow truck driver for Walmart. Fate brought together again in September of that year as roommates at the first annual Accelerate Conference sponsored by the Women in Trucking Association.

In addition, Deb shared that her husband Craig suffered from kidney failure and dialysis. The couple searched tirelessly for a donor, but unfortunately failed to receive a result. Then, Carol offered her kidney without a moment’s hesitation. “I didn’t even think about it,” Carol said. “I told her, ‘please, take it!’”

While both seemed the perfect match for the transplant, their journey included challenges. Carol stopped driving for three months prior to the donation due to dizziness. Doctors initially thought heart problems caused this. However, they realized they were migraines, and she received permission to donate her kidney again. Meanwhile, doctors at the University of Alabama hospital found that Craig suffered from blockage that could have killed him.  Finally, after these hurdles, the transplant took place and completed successfully in November of 2016.

Despite the challenges they faced, Carol never wavered in her decision to donate her kidney.

Even if she failed to match for Craig, she agreed to still donate her kidney to another recipient through the Kidney Paired Donation Pilot Program. The program matches medically compatible pairs of potential living kidney donors with transplant candidates. In cases where the potential donor doesn’t match with his or her original intended recipient.

When asked what drove her to donate despite all the challenges she replied “Perseverance.  When you’re told no, just keep pushing.”

With the transplant behind them, both Carol and Craig are doing well.  Craig immediately came off dialysis after the surgery and remained diligent about following his post-surgery protocol. Carol took six weeks off of work to recover. However, drives again now and stays healthy on the road by preparing meals for the road. She also walks three miles daily, whether at home or on the road.  When she’s home she and her husband spend time restoring their vintage cars and hanging out with her grandson.

Carol now adds raising awareness for organ donation to her growing list of charities that she supports.  At the November 2017 Accelerate Conference, she met the aunt of a young girl whose tissue donation gave two people the gift of sight. She also met the mother of a young girl in her community whose organ donations helped save the lives of five people.

Both of these girls received a floragraph on the Donate Life Float in the Rose Parade on January 1, 2018.

The Donate Life float honors millions of people touched by organ, eye and tissue donation. These include living donors, donor families, transplant recipients and transplant candidates.  The stories of these young girls further inspired Carol to share her own story. Her hope is her story raises awareness for organ donation.


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