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In honor of World Mental Health Day, we are breaking down our top 6 tips for dispatchers. When combining these tips, you can develop an incredible culture of wellness not only for you but for your drivers as well.

As a dispatcher, it’s no secret that you are the driver’s lifeline. Improving your mental health can have positive effects on your drivers, increasing driver retention and employee satisfaction. Most importantly, you could have a newfound appreciation for the small things that help reduce your daily stress levels not only at work but in your personal life.

Make a routine and stick to it

It’s widely known making decisions can cause stress. Even mundane morning choices like hitting the snooze button or deciding what to wear can be a burden. A dispatcher makes tough decisions all day long so it’s no wonder someone in this role may feel a great deal of stress day-to-day. Creating a daily or weekly routine can help cut back on the number of small decisions to make each day and start off on the right foot.

Write down your new routine as it best suits you: a list format to check off, a schedule, or any forum that works for you. Track your progress and reward yourself with something that aligns with your goals when you succeed. If you fail to follow your routine for a day, allow yourself to take a break and start again the next day. Let’s be honest, we are all human and there’s no need to add stress for not following a routine intended to eliminate stress!

 

Eat well

If you’re looking to boost your mood, energy level, and overall health, part of building your own routine should include your plan for mealtime. Eating may seem like a “no brainer”, but if something goes wrong with a driver during lunchtime, Dispatchers settle for whatever they have on hand. Not to mention, in many cases, there isn’t a great place to cook a fresh meal for lunch; meaning processed food is very common for a busy freight dispatcher.

The reality is, your brain needs fuel in order to run properly. An article published by Harvard Health speaks to this topic in great length, but to keep it short, Eva Selhub explains that our brain is like an expensive car. It requires premium fuel to function properly. If your brain is deprived of good-quality nutrition, negative consequences are to be expected.  Meal prepping or having healthy snacks readily available can help combat the need for fast food and can be an excellent addition to your weekly routine.

 

Breathe

When you’re in a tense situation, do you notice your breathing change?

Shallow or quick breathing is human nature in a charged moment, but as it turns out, this natural response could be affecting your overall health more than you know. Breathing deeply and exhaling through your mouth slows your heart rate, relaxes your muscles, and oxygenates your brain. Meaning, if you breathe deeply throughout a stressful moment, you could immediately calm yourself and think more clearly, which could be a key to success for a freight dispatcher solving problems all day.

Not only does breathing benefit you in the moment, but deep breathing over time can lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate, relax muscles, decrease stress, and increase energy levels, according to the meditation experts at Headspace.

 

Stretch

It’s very common for dispatchers to be tied to their desks all day, making it difficult to step away at times. Luckily, stretching can be done anywhere and it’s a simple way to take a few moments to refocus on yourself and prepare for what’s happening in the moment.

Stretching benefits your brain and your muscle system by releasing hormones to help regulate metabolism and insulin as well as your attitude. Freight dispatchers could significantly benefit from stretching their neck to help ease any tension according to this stretching guide from the Mayo Clinic. After stretching, you could find yourself ready to rethink situations and make decisions that may have been cloudy before.

Take a Walk

Exercising can be a pain when you have drivers to take care of but have you considered taking a quick walk when times get tough?

Walking helps boost your mood and calms your nerves which can significantly decrease your stress levels. Plus, a change of scenery, even for 5 to 10 minutes, can make a world of difference.

WebMD points out numerous mental health benefits of walking, some of the most common include:

  • Improved sleep
  • Stress relief
  • Mood improvement
  • Increased energy
  • Stamina
  • Reduced tiredness can increase mental alertness
  • Weight loss
  • Improved heart health

 

Talk to Someone

It would be a shame to let World Mental Health Day pass without noting the benefits of therapy. The transportation industry has one of the highest suicide rates in any profession and much of this is due to loneliness. Talking to someone consistently can greatly improve your mental health in ways you never imagined and, in some cases, help better yourself as a more well-rounded person. Mental Health America says, “Talking with a therapist or counselor can help you deal with thoughts, behaviors, symptoms, stresses, goals, and past experiences.”

Access to online therapy became crucial for so many during the COVID-19 pandemic, which made it easier than ever to talk to someone through teletherapy, also known as online therapy. Teletherapy services can be offered through email, text messaging, video conferencing, or online chat.

Xpress Technologies values the wellness of our customers, our colleagues, and our employees. If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the toll-free Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7.