What people with MS can learn from Truck Drivers

What people with MS can learn from Truck Drivers

Truck drivers concentrate for hours, but don’t apologise for the fact that they need frequent breaks. They know their bodies, they know when it’s time to pull over, because their life depends on it. Sometimes, the journey can be so long and monotonous, that it is so easy to just settle into the same frame of mind. But boredom, heat and sitting still, only compounds the fatigue.

Fatigue. That seemingly ever present, nagging feeling of weight and negativity. The more we get it, the more inertia there is to overcome it. Now we’re on a slippery slope.

So what do they do?

Discipline

Truck drivers have a plan. They schedule breaks throughout their day and then take it accordingly. They don’t push on and make up for lost time. They use self-awareness to carve out blocks of energy that match with their natural levels of alertness throughout the day. Morning people do more in the morning, less in the evening. And then keep it regular, often, paced.

Change the scene

For every monotonous stretch of road, there is an even greater need to stimulate the senses. Remaining static is the worst place for fatigue, as the brain will ‘gate out’ all unchanging experiences which leave it completely focussed more on the fact that you are tired. Spray some cologne. Close your eyes. Stand up or jump. Get fresh air. Start singing a song. Change the sensory input. Most of the time you will feel less fatigue and more alive, but when all fails, rest completely.

Simplify it

Truck drivers don’t multitask. Not only because it is dangerous, but also because it is actually more energy intensive to do so and tiring. Change the sensory inputs, but do not bombard it.

Eat

Snacking is actually a really effective way of helping fatigue remain at bay. Of course, it is important to eat the right food regularly, which will stabilise glucose and energy levels so you can stay in control.

Stay cool

Truck drivers maintain cool temperatures as it is easy to overheat and become overwhelmed by environmentally induced fatigue. While in MS, the fatigue is internally driven by the reduction in nerve signal efficiency, and hence more energy is needed to produce the same intended movement, coolness seems to help soothe the nervous system. Use cooling hats and vests, damp cloths on skin and stay hydrated for optimal cell health.

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