Truckers provide a very important service to all of us. If you’ve got it, a trucker brought it, as they say. This extremely important career often sets the stage for relationship problems, depression, stress, and physical health problems. Lack of vacations, being away from friends and family for weeks on end, getting little respect, isolation…the list goes on—these are a few of the reasons trucking has become a very difficult career for many.
Although there are many challenges in the life of the trucker, the career can be quite rewarding. That is why it is very important to focus on what is going right in one’s life. The more a trucker dwells on the negatives, the worse life becomes. One of the major hazards of the job is having too much time to think. How many people have a career where they spend hours alone? To top it all off, many truckers listen to talk radio (which is often quite negative), the frequent gloom and doom CB chatter and the limitless drama of social media.
Relationships are often the biggest source of stress for the trucker. It is important to realize that since many truckers are away from home for weeks at a time, they are automatically having long-distance relationships. Given that relationships are hard enough as it is, distance only adds to the complexity. As a result, there are more miscommunications, heartaches, and arguments. Make it a priority of call your loved ones on a regular basis. Remember, texting is often good, but an old-fashioned phone call is more personal and less likely to result in miscommunication.
Physical health is often another challenge for the trucker. The mind and body are truly connected. Believe it or not, when you feel better physically, your ability to handle stress and other emotions will greatly improve. Many argue that it is impossible to eat a healthy diet when on the road. However, there are many healthy choices that can be made when it comes to meals (eating chicken instead of hamburgers and skipping the fries). If you feel that you do not have time to get exercise, keep a few weights in your truck or do some pushups or sit-ups. You can even make a few laps around your truck when parked for the night.
Remember, being proactive is the key to keeping in good spirits. Working to increase communication with your loved ones, keeping your mind occupied, remembering that the better you eat, the better you will feel, and getting some exercise are all ways to help keep you on the right track while on the road. The more you focus on improving your mental and physical health, the better your home and work life will be.
Stress and Anger reducers:
Keeping a log of what is going well in your life and want needs work Keeping in contact with friends and family
If you allow others to make you stressed, you are allowing them to control you. Do you really want others pulling your strings? Look at stress as a test. Do you want to fail that test by getting stressed out? The only person responsible for your stress is you. Stress is energy. Are you going to use this energy for something productive or destructive?
When faced with a stressful situation, ask:
Will it matter tomorrow?
Next week? Next Month?
About Buck Black
I am a licensed therapist (LCSW, LCAC) who focuses on anger, stress, and relationships with truckers and their families over the phone and on video conference at www.TruckerTherapy.com.
March is National Nutrition Month. What’s the big deal? Why would there be a month dedicated to this? Nutrition equals health. We all want to be healthy, and we all want quality of life.
In my early years, I never knew that there was a way to eat right. I thought any “food” was, well, food. Then, as a young adult, I learned about “healthy” food and back then it was all about “fat free.” I thought that I was eating right. I made homemade meals and didn’t eat out every day. I even made sure that I ate a good breakfast at home before work. So, in my early twenties, why did I feel sluggish, have four different health problems and carry extra weight? I was young and supposed to be in the prime of life. Health, education and life has happened to me since then, and it has been a very eye-opening journey that has taught me what nutrition is all about.
Your body is designed to run on fuel just as your vehicle is. Think about your truck and the way it was designed. You know that it takes one certain kind of fuel to make it run efficiently or to run at all. If you don’t give it that certain fuel, it is not going anywhere and it might even become damaged. We work the same way, just a lot more complicated. Your body needs certain natural nutrients to run on. The more of these nutrients you have, the better your body will run. When you don’t receive these essential nutrients, your body can’t function as it was designed to.
Unless you are in a health crisis, your nutrition should be coming from your food. There are some cases in which supplements are necessary, and I am grateful for them. Getting the nutrients that we need from food is a simple concept, yet it is a challenge for many. These nutrients that are essential to our health and well being appear in all natural foods. Every natural food has some kind of benefit and some much more than others. Here is a tip: Do an Internet search and check out the ANDI scores (aggregate nutrient density index) of the food you buy in the produce section of the store. This might give you insight into which foods have more nutrients than others. For example, kale is at the top of the chart at 1000 and carrots are 458. Here is a handy link to the chart. https://www.drfuhrman.com/content-image.ashx?id=73gjzcgyvqi9qywfg7055r Processed foods, on the other hand, have been stripped of nutrients and are usually full of synthetic and harmful additives.
I encourage you to educate yourself and really know what you are eating. Eat for health. Quality of life is worth it. You are worth it! Blessings on your journey to health.
Article by contributing author, Carolyn Obyrne.
Carolyn O’Byrne, CHT, author of Gut Instinct, is a colon hydro-therapist, life coach and wife of a truck driver. In the heart of the trucking industry, she directs her passion and knowledge towards drivers and their families by life coaching. https://www.lifecoachservice.net/home.html
Have you ever thought to yourself, “I would really like to be able to make a donation to St.Christopher Fund and help other drivers but I don’t have any extra money”? Well, now you can!
Giving Assistant is a program similar to Ebates and Amazon Smile. When you shop online at stores that have partnered with them, a portion of the the sale is given to SCF. For example, if you order something at Walmart and you order through Giving Assistant, 2% of the sale can be donated to St. Christopher Fund. Lowe’s is 4%. So, you can do your normal online shopping right from your truck or home and help fellow drivers that need assistance.
Let’s say that you are building a deck for your home and the cost of the supplies is $1,000. If you purchase those supplies at Lowe’s or Home Depot through Giving Assistant, up to $40 can be given to SCF and used to help others. It’s a win, win situation. The percentages are much higher than Amazon Smile.
HELP US BE ONE OF THEIR TOP NONPROFITS! SHOP TODAY AND GIVE!!!!
Use Giving Assistant to save money and support St. Christopher Truckers Development & Relief Fund Inc.
Giving Assistant is the free way to give St. Christopher Truckers Development & Relief Fund Inc. some love. Sign up for free and then shop at your favorite retailers Sears, Target, and Lowe’s!
Attending the Mid America Trucking Show this year? If so, stop by the Papa John’s parking lot for a home cooked meal. It is some of the best food that you can eat! On Wednesday the “Cause We Can” Cafe group, headed up by Janet McNeil, will be hard at work setting up their tents and tables again this year in Lot C. Breakfast and dinner will be provided Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Donations are not required but are greatly appreciated!
Proceeds from the breakfast provided on Thursday morning will be donated to St. Christopher Fund. We are so appreciative of the continued support from this group of folks. Their dedication to drivers allows us to help keep a roof over a driver’s head and pay his/her utilities. Visit the “Cause We Can” Facebook page for updates and to find out what they are up to at MATS.
When asked why they spend so much time money and energy into putting on such a lavish spread at MATS each year, the response was priceless. “Cause We Can!” We looking forward to breaking bread with you at MATS 2018!
Below is the menu as it stands at present:
THURSDAY – BREAKFAST 8:00-9:30
BISCUITS N GRAVY
SAUSAGE-LINK AND PATTY
OATMEAL & FIXINS
FRESH FRUIT SLICES
THURSDAY – DINNER 6:30-8:00
MASHED POTATOES & MUSHROOM GRAVY
GREEN BEANS OR MIXED VEGETABLES
FRENCH ONION SOUP
FRIDAY – BREAKFAST 8:00-9:30
CHEESY SCRAMBLED EGGS
OATMEAL N FIXINS
FRESH FRUIT SLICES
FRIDAY DINNER 6:30-8:00
CHICKEN OR BEEF ENCHILADA CASSEROLE
CHEESE DIP N CHIPS
MEXICAN TOSSED SALAD
SATURDAY – BREAKFAST 7:00-8:30
TOAST &/OR BISCUITS
OATMEAL N FIXINS
FRESH FRUIT SLICES
SATURDAY – DINNER 5:30-7:00
PULLED PORK SANDWICHES
BAR B QUE BEANS
COFFEE, ICED TEA, LEMONADE & BOTTLE WATER WILL BE AVAILABLE AT ALL MEALS
The cervix is an organ that we only think about when something goes wrong with it! It is the passage between the vagina and the uterus. Among other things, it’s also a barrier that keeps vaginal bacteria out of the uterus itself and it “holds the baby in” when a woman is pregnant. It acts like an important support point within the pelvis for other pelvic organs. However, when we think of cervical health, the first thing that comes to mind for most people is cervical cancer.
Tragically, about 12,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year and it occurs most often between the ages 35 and 55. This cancer is 64% more likely among Hispanics and 34% more likely among African Americans than among Caucasians. Smoking is definitely linked with a higher chance development of cervical cancer. Many of the symptoms of cervical cancer (bleeding, discharge and pelvic pain) are also common signs of other health issues, so it can be overlooked for quite some time.
Cervical cancer isn’t the most common cancer in women but it does have a relatively high mortality rate thanks to its ability to go undetected until it is very advanced. Early detection is the key; it’s very curable when found and treated early. Over ninety percent of women diagnosed in the earliest stage of cancer will survive, but by the time the cancer has spread to other areas of the body the survival rate is quite low.
HPV is a very common viral infection that spreads through sexual activity, and it causes 99% of the cases of cervical cancer. Most people with HPV don’t know they are infected. Precancerous cervical cell changes do not cause symptoms at all. The virus strains that lead to cancer are considered to be the higher risk strains, but there are over 100 different types of HPV.
Once the cervix has been infected, the virus can change the cells of the cervix in a direction that can lead to cancer. Luckily, it is usually a very slow process, taking many months to years. Cervical cancer screenings can help detect abnormal cells early, before they turn into cancer. The Pap smear screening looks for precancers, which are cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately The HPV test looks for the DNA of the virus that can cause these cell changes. The two tests are frequently done together.
Almost all of deaths from cervical cancer could be prevented by regular screenings and follow-up care. These simple screening tests are recommended for women between ages 21 and 65, and they can be done in a doctor’s office. Women should start getting Pap tests regularly at age 21, or earlier if there are multiple sexual partners. The screening interval is up to the physician and it might be influenced by recommendations from professional societies. If test results are normal, the chances of getting cervical cancer until the next screening is low.
It used to be that sexually active women would have Pap screening annually. Less frequent screening recently has inadvertently led to a decrease in STD screening as well. The good news is that when problems are detected by routine screening in the precancer stage, it is almost unheard of to have progression of the precancers to actual cancer.
Vaccines are now available to protect against the types of HPV that most often cause cervical cancer. The Gardasil 9 HPV currently vaccine currently gives the most protection against cervical cancer for girls and women. It is almost always covered by insurance. This HPV vaccine protects against the specific strains of HPV that most often cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. HPV vaccines are approved for girls and young women from 9 through 26. Experts recommend that all girls get an HPV vaccine before any sexual activity, preferably by the time they are 11 or 12.
Recently, St. Christopher Fund and Truckers Final Mile helped a driver who had financial difficulties due to flu complications, leading to paralysis. Bills were overdue and his home was not wheelchair accessible. Wendy Parker, of Overdrive Online, wrote an excellent article proving that organizations can and should work together to meet the needs of others. Click HERE to read the full article.
I recently talked about ED and Smoking on the Tim Ridley Show on XM146 Road Dog Trucking Radio. Brad, a truck driver, wanted some additional information on this subject. So – here you go!
MEN – TIME TO GET YOUR ATTENTION!
This information is hot off the presses from my friends at Harvard Health. Being a Duke and Yale guy, I never thought the folks at Harvard would talk about this stuff!! I took the liberty to add a few of my favorite medical observations and phrases! Number 5 below is my favorite by the Harvard guys.
Remember, my trucking friends, that Erectile Dysfunction (ED) issues may be your first & last symptom of coronary heart disease – not chest pain. Smoking is one of the leading causes of ED and preventable death. So, do you want to liven things up or light up?
Smoking is known to damage blood vessels, large and small, and hinder proper blood flow. The male penis is plumed with veins and arteries that are smaller than the vessels in the heart. These vessels are affected first in smokers, causing ED . Recently, researchers from the Mayo Clinic found that men who made lifestyle changes to improve their cardiovascular health — by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, losing weight and exercising — also improved their symptoms of ED. Here are a few tips that are well worth reading from the big H.
Start walking. According to one Harvard study, just 30 minutes of walking a day was linked with a 41% drop in risk for ED. Other research suggests that moderate exercise can help restore sexual performance in obese, middle-aged men with ED.
Eat right. In the Massachusetts Male Aging Study, eating a diet rich in natural foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and fish — with fewer red and processed meat and refined grains — decreased the likelihood of ED. Hard to do on the road, so prepare in advance.
Pay attention to your vascular health. High blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides can all damage arteries in the heart (causing heart attack), in the brain (causing stroke), and leading to the penis (causing ED). An expanding waistline also contributes. Check with your doctor to find out whether your vascular system — and thus your heart, brain, and penis — is in good shape or needs a tune-up through lifestyle changes and, if necessary, medications.
Size matters, so get slim and stay slim. A trim waistline is one good defense — a man with a 42-inch waist is 50% more likely to have ED than one with a 32-inch waist. Plus, the man with the 32 inch waist can still find his “Johnson” at first glance. Losing weight can help fight erectile dysfunction, so getting to a healthy weight and staying there is another good strategy for avoiding or fixing ED. Obesity raises risks for vascular disease and diabetes, two major causes of ED. And excess fat interferes with several hormones that may be part of the problem as well.
Move a muscle, but we’re not talking about your biceps. A strong pelvic floor enhances rigidity during erections and helps keep blood from leaving the penis by pressing on a key vein. In a British trial, three months of twice-daily sets of Kegel exercises (which strengthen these muscles), combined with biofeedback and advice on lifestyle changes — quitting smoking, losing weight, limiting alcohol — worked far better than just advice on lifestyle changes.
What is the financial cost of ED? Users report the out-of-pocket cost for ED drugs are as much $15 to $20 per pill, even with insurance. Add this to a pack of cigarettes and fun in the fast lane gets real expensive.
The good news is that doctors may now have a new strategy to help people quit smoking . For many people, the long-term fear of cancer or heart disease isn’t enough to motivate them to quit — or, worse, it can backfire by increasing stress and, in turn, the urge to smoke.
My personal theory is that anxiety induced stress is the issue in truckers. Smoking causes ED, which causes performance anxiety ,and as the Rocket Scientist says “Failure to Launch.” The two go hand and hand. Food for thought!
How do you measure success? Is it strictly by looking at the bottom line or does it go much deeper than that? Let’s find out!
Drivers began signing up for the Rigs without Cigs program in August and the program started September 1st, 2017. It is a year long program that drivers can participate in for tips, tools, encouragement and accountability to no longer smoke, dip or chew tobacco. The first quarter has come to an end and it’s time to see if the program is a success or not.
Approximately, 150 drivers signed up to be a participant in the Rigs without Cigs program. We have an age range of 27 – 68 years of age that registered. Drivers have been signing up throughout the quarter and each person is at a different stage in his/her attempt to kick the tobacco habit. Some drivers are completely tobacco free, some are in the midst of the struggle and others haven’t started yet.
We are excited to say that 14 drivers are completely tobacco free! Twenty six drivers have cut their tobacco usage in half. Fifteen drivers have just recently started the program so we don’t have usable results on their progress. Six people reported that they have not cut back but plan to start again in January. These results are based on information gathered from drivers through online forms, emails and phone calls. Each driver was able to choose the method in which he/she decided to implement to no longer use tobacco. Some chose to quit “cold turkey, others decided to use nicotine replacement therapy and many chose to try the Quit Key method.
The implementation of the Quit Key system has helped many of the drivers to be successful in kicking the addiction. The Quit Key is a small electronic device that allows tobacco users to use the “tapering off” method. The hand hand computer creates a personalized gradual reduction program. It is designed to help people quit smoking gradually, easily and for good!
At the end of the quarter we had a random drawing among the drivers who consistently participated in the program. Two winners were chosen to receive prizes valued at $100 each, sponsored by Road Pro Family of Brands. Three people received a download card of the book, Gut Instinct, written by Carolyn O’byrne.
People continue to sign up for the program and we will be tracking their progress over the next several months. We anticipate seeing continued success as we enter the new year. When we asked one driver what he would change about the program, he responded with, “Honestly, I’m firm believer if ain’t broke don’t fix it and this program does work, so keep it up”. He has decreased his cigarette addiction from smoking 3 packs a day down to 1 pack a day. Another driver said “Rigs without Cigs has actually helped me see that I have a problem and I am not alone.”
The Rigs without Cigs program will continue until August 2018. The goal is to have as many people as possible attend the Great American Truck Show in Dallas,Texas and proclaim themselves to be SMOKE FREE on the GATS Health Pavilion stage.
To learn more about the Rigs without Cigs program or to register to become tobacco free, please continue to the page LEARN MORE HERE.
St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund is honored to welcome Norita Taylor & Mark Singleton as two of our new board members for the upcoming year. They will serve along side seven other board members who are some of the best individuals in the trucking industry. We are excited to bring their expertise and experience to the SCF Board. They will play a crucial role in advancing the mission of St. Christopher Fund.
Norita Taylor has been with OOIDA for 11 years and serves as the Director of Public Relations. She is accredited with the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and has worked in public relations for more than 20 years in a variety of capacities. She has served on several community organization boards and is currently the president of the Kansas City chapter of PRSA. Ms. Taylor will also be serving as the Secretary for the SCF Board of Directors.
Mark Singleton is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Rudolph Foods Company. He has accumulated diverse experience in sales, marketing and business development. Joining the company in 2003, Singleton has helped to grow the Rudolph Foods brands, including Southern Recipe, Southern Recipe Small Batch, Pepe’s, Lee’s pork rinds and Gaslamp Popcorn. Preceding his position at Rudolph Foods, Singleton served as the President of Cantrell International, adding 12 years to his total 26 years in the food industry. To learn more about Mark Singleton and his passion for the trucking industry, click HERE.
The SCF Board of Directors is made up of individuals associated with the trucking industry who genuinely care about the health and well-being of truck drivers. The Truckers Fund staff is privileged to have them as part of the volunteer team. The returning members of the St. Christopher Fund board are as follows:
Tom Liutkus – VP of Marketing, Travel Centers of America, serving as SCF Board President
Joyce Brenny – Brenny Transportation, serving as SCF Board Vice President
Tom Heinz – Owner of Coffee Cup Fuel Stops , serving as SCF Treasurer
Rick Ash – Owner/ Operator and On-Ramp to Health
Tim Ridley – Nemo Entertainment
Dave Waterman – N.A. Marketing Manager, Shell Rotella
Eric Harley – Red Eye Radio
OOIDA – For over 42 years the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has been fighting for the rights of all professional truckers.We are proud of our history of effective representation, and as we grow, we will continue to fight for our members’ best interests in new and more powerful ways.
Rudolph Foods is one of the world’s largest suppliers of branded and private-label snack products, including the world’s largest manufacturer of pork rinds. With plants in Ohio, Georgia, Texas, Mississippi and California, Rudolph is solely dedicated to providing its customers with the best quality products and the highest levels of customer service at the best price.