Reduce Stress and Overwhelm Blog MTY

14 Ways to Reduce Overwhelm and Stress | As a Truck Driver

Overwhelm and stress. Stress can be overwhelming and even debilitating. It can cause headaches, muscle tension, difficulty sleeping, irritability, and negatively affect our immune system. We all know that stress isn’t good for us physically or mentally. However, how do we keep stress from manifesting itself into our daily lives?

Reduce Stress and Overwhelm Blog MTY

Life Is About Choices

The great American philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, wrote a letter to his daughter who was worried over a mistake she’d made. This is what it said:

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders, losses, and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can.

Emerson’s quote serves as a reminder that we must give ourselves permission to make a few mistakes, be imperfect, and “fall off of the wagon” from time to time. Accept what you were able to accomplish and leave yesterday in the past. Do not let stress and mishaps prevent you from moving forward. 

An article that appeared in Medical News Today discusses how “overwhelm and stress, in common terms, is a feeling that people have when they are overloaded and struggling to cope with demands. These demands can be related to finances, work, relationships, and other situations, but anything that poses a real or perceived challenge or threat to a person’s well-being can cause stress.”

You may not always be able to control what happens in your daily life, but you can practice healthy habits to manage stress.

14 ways to reduce stress and overwhelm get up early MTY blog post

14 Ways You To Reduce Stress and Overwhelm in Your Life:

  1. Get up a few minutes earlier than planned and take some time to be silent, meditate, and visualize how your day is going to be great.
  2. Learn to say “no.” Say no to projects that won’t fit into your schedule, your vision, or may compromise your mental and emotional health.
  3. Allow others to help you. If they didn’t want to help, they shouldn’t have asked. And that my friend is not your concern.
  4. Have a backup. Have a backup plan, a backup car key, a backup babysitter, a back up a ride home. We think that it takes too much time to prepare. But did you have the time to figure out a half a$$ solution thereafter?
  5. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble, concern, and pain. Ask yourself: “is what I am about to say helping or hurting”? And go from there.
  6. Eat right. Start with one right choice. An apple. A glass of water. No need to bulldoze your life today. Just add in one new food or drink more water and see where it takes you.
  7. Listen to relaxing music or guided meditations (Check out MTY’s guided meditations made just for drivers). Choose uplifting or motivating broadcasts or shows. Stay away from music, radios, and entertainment that only causes more pain, confusion, agitation, and anger. You can choose what you listen to.
  8. Laugh—every single day. Laugh. Laugh so hard you cry. And better yet, laugh with a friend. Laughter releases endorphins that you desperately need to stay happy.
  9. Keep a gratitude journal. When is the last time you stopped and reflected on all you have to be grateful for? The news and social media do an excellent job of showing us where we are imperfect and lacking. Remind yourself you have so much to be grateful for.
  10. Surround yourself with people who lift you rather than tear you down.
  11. Take ONE DEEP BREATH before you say or do anything more.
  12. Be kind to unkind people. Kindness matters. Being kind doesn’t mean you agree with them or even want to be their best friend. But if you won’t be helpful, then who will be?
  13. Slow down. Most of us are all in overdrive in multiple areas of our lives. What’s the hurry? What if you will get there at the exact right time, every time?
  14. Meditate, pray, practice yoga. When is the last time you unplugged with something that will plug you back in? Make sure you check out Mother Trucker Yoga’s Online Membership site were drivers just like you can come together and get fit- inside and outright from the cab of your truck

Finding the best overwhelm and stress relief strategies may take some time. Don’t give up if one doesn’t work; move on and try another. However, it’s essential to keep looking for the tools that will help you manage life’s ups and downs healthily. Keeping stress at a manageable level is vital for your overall well-being. 

Surround yourself with people that support you in your journey and leave those that don’t, behind. You won’t regret it. 

Resources: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/145855.php
strong abs with mother trucker yoga blog post

Best Core Exercises for Truck Drivers

Best Core Exercises for Truck Drivers when they don’t have a lot of time.

We have all heard how important it is to strengthen your core, but the only problem is most people are still doing traditional core work. 

What is traditional core work?

Traditional core work in my experience is exercised flat on your back, where you flex your body (crunch) up off the floor. When movements like these are coupled with flailing fast and furious body parts, you feel out of breath and hurt for the wrong reasons. Yet there we are calling “sit-ups” an excellent core workout when there is a better way. 

Times have changed and so has how we move, with the average person sitting 13 hours a day that’s enough if that’s not enough to consider moving more, I don’t know what is. And if you average in 8 hours of sleep on average, a person gets, that 21 hours PER DAY people are sitting. 

The stats don’t lie, we sit way to much!

On top of all of that sitting at work, and for meals and commuting, the respondents:

  • Sit another 1-2 hours while watching TV (36 percent)
  • Game another 1-2 hours (10 percent)
  • Lounge for 1-2 hours for things such as reading (25 percent)
  • Use their home computer for 1-2 hours (29 percent)” (PRNewswire)

And truck driver or not- we Americans sit WAY TO MUCH! 

So when you choose exercises to try to improve your health, fitness, and overall well-being, we want to make sure we are selecting movements that aid us in our everyday life.

Why Not Sit-Ups?

The traditional sit-up is done flat on your back; when core-based exercises are all performed this way, we lose the opportunity to use our back muscles (which are a part of our core). So if you are concerned with the health of your back and spine, it is best to opt for other movements when focusing on your midsection. 

Sit-ups also focus primarily on flexion, and for someone who spends most of their day sitting, this is not helping you. All of that flexion encourages the chest, pec, and neck muscles to stay short and tight, and the upper back and neck muscles to continue to be overstretched and strained. Think about your driving position (or if you are in an office, how you sit at your computer), after a few hours you end up with your head sinking forward and your shoulders and chest collapsing forward over the steering wheel. Like you would yank and pull on your upper body during a sit-up. 

Finally, those good-intentioned sit-ups only work a small portion of your core, and the movement you are choosing to do shortens the abs rather than lengthens them. And if you are going to work on your back, make sure you are finding what is called “neutral.” A place where your lower back is not pressed flat into the floor nor overly arched. 

So when you choose the best types of exercises to strengthen your core as a truck driver, choose movements that:

  1. Focus on form and function.

     Gone are the days that huffing and puffing, yanking and jerking your body all over the place and calling it a good workout are over. Core exercises or not, challenge yourself and see how well you can hold a move or move slowly and control how you move every step of the way. 

  2. Focus on movements that extend more than flex.

    The extension works the body 408% (roughly 10x) more effectively than flexion does.

  3. Focus on movements that include working your back muscles.

    When all we do is “front core” exercises or what many of us call “ab” exercises we actually leave our back vulnerable for injury. By inadvertently over strengthening our front core and neglecting our back muscles (which are a part of our core) we can sometimes do more harm than good. (Read more about neck issues what exercises to do to help)

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), core training is an essential part of any personal fitness routine. Your core helps transfer force and power from your lower to upper limbs. The stronger your midsection is, the safer you’ll be during exercise, plus when you have a stronger core, you are less likely to injure your back.

4 Exercises for Truckers to Strengthen Their Core:

Exercise #1 – Weighted Extension:

Prep Time: 1 Minute

Total Exercise Time: 30 Seconds – 3 Minutes

  1. Find a place to sit on your sleeper, the ground, or your floor at home.
  2. Bend your knees (optional place a pillow or small ball between your knees to squeeze for lower body stability. (If your tail bone is sensitive place a blanket under your tailbone)
  3. Grab your weight (1 lb – 10 lbs) and place it at your chest.
  4. Keep a straight spine (no rounding in the shoulders, upper back, or lower back).
  5. Inhale and exhale to prepare.
  6. Inhale slightly tuck your tail bone under and lean back to 45 degrees (do not go all the way down).
  7. Exhale and with control draw your body back up sitting tall and press your arms overhead/weight.
  8. Do not round your upper body when pressing up overhead. If your shoulders are tight press the arms to a 45-degree angle.
  9. Repeat this 10-30 reputations working on form, function, and control.

Weighted core full extension truck driver core workout mother trucker yoga blog post

Exercise #2 – Oblique Weighted Twist

Prep Time: 1 Minute

Total Exercise Time: 30 Seconds – 3 Minutes

  1. Find a place to sit on your sleeper, the ground, or your floor at home.
  2. Bend your knees (optional place a pillow or small ball between your knees to squeeze for lower body stability. (If your tail bone is sensitive place a blanket under your tailbone)
  3. Grab your weight (1 lb – 10 lbs) and hold it in front of your chest (imagine there is a pole keeping your hands in front of your chest).
  4. Keep a straight spine (no rounding in the shoulders, upper back, or lower back).
  5. Inhale and exhale to prepare.
  6. Inhale slightly tuck your tail bone under and lean back to 45 degrees (do not go all the way down).
  7. Inhale and work to rotate to the right, really pay attention to your spine and rib cage rotating (not your hips and pelvis).
  8. Exhale and return back to center (stay at 45-degree angle).
  9. Inhale and work to rotate to the left, go as far as you can without rolling onto one hip or rounding your spine.
  10. Repeat this 5 to 20 rep each direction.

Oblique Weighted Twist Core Exercise Mother Trucker yoga Blog Post

Exercise #3 – Plank Oblique Twist

Prep Time: 1 Minute

Total Exercise Time: 30 Seconds – 3 Minutes

  1. Start on your hands and knees on the sleeper, ground, or your floor at home.
  2. Drop to your forearms and place your elbows and fists a forearm’s width apart.
  3. Step one foot back at a time until your body is in one straight line.
  4. Press your fists into the floor to help activate your core.
  5. Drop your tailbone between your legs and press your lower abs and hip bones into your lower back.
  6. Draw your shoulders back and breathe.
  7. Now rotate your hips and lower body to the right.
  8. Press your hips up slightly to activate your obliques.
  9. Hold for 5-20 breaths, then repeat the opposite side.

Plank Oblique Twist Best Core Exercises for Truckers Mother Trucker Yoga Blog Post

Exercise #4 – Plank Oblique Twist

Prep Time: 1 Minute

Total Exercise Time: 30 Seconds – 3 Minutes

  1. Start by lying down on your sleeper, the ground, or the floor.
  2. Adjust your pelvis so it’s level, do not press your lower back into the floor, imagine a small arch in your lower back.
  3. Draw your legs up to a tabletop position (optional: put a mini ball or pillow between the knees and squeeze for more stability) and flex your feet (you can opt to keep your feet on the ground OR do a few reps with one leg, and then switch to the other).
  4. Grab your weight (optional) and extend it up overhead. Turn the folds of your elbows towards your nose (shoulders move in external rotation).
  5. Inhale and exhale, work to stabilize your core, remember only go as far as you can keep your back and ribs from arching and pulling up towards the ceiling.
  6. Inhale, and begin to lower your legs towards the floor and your arms overhead.
  7. Reach through your fingers to stretch the shoulders.
  8. Exhale and draw your arms back up and knees back up over your hips.
  9. Repeat this 10 – 30 times moving mindfully with your breath. This is not a race.
  10. To make this more of a challenge (as long as you can keep your back from arching) once your heels meet 1 inch off the floor, press your legs long and engage your glutes and inner thighs.
  11. You go this!

Weighted core full extension truck driver core exercise mother trucker yoga blog post

weighted core full extension for truck drivers mother trucker yoga blog post

Strengthening your core is extremely important regardless of your physical state or your age. When implemented correctly, you can experience a decreased risk of injury, better stability, and performance during workouts. A strong core improves the quality of life for everyone and reduces the chances of severe injury.

Age, mobility restrictions, or past injuries shouldn’t prevent you from strengthening your core. You can get all these benefits by performing these exercises safely and effectively. Focus on proper breathing and posture first and ditch the sit-ups. You’re bound to notice better balance and stability and may even see a reduction in back pain. But they won’t do anything for you unless you allow yourself to start today with 5 minutes of simple core work. 

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banish stress instantly for truckers mother trucker yoga blog

4 Poses to Banish Stress Instantly While Traveling

Stress can be overwhelming and even debilitating. It can cause headaches, muscle tension, difficulty sleeping, and irritability. Obviously, we all know that stress isn’t good for us physically or mentally. So, how do we banish stress in our every day lives?

As a yoga teacher, I encourage others to live a life where they can stay grounded, focused, balanced, and content. Yoga has helped me a great deal with handling stress and the side effects of stress. It helps to relieve tension by keeping me focused on my breath rather than all the thoughts racing through my heads.

Whether you are at home, work, or somewhere in between, yoga is a great way to find stress relief. So, to help you on your journey of finding ways to banish stress, here are three of my favorite yoga poses.

4 Poses to Banish Stress Instantly While Traveling

Heart Opening Pose Mother Trucker Yoga Blog

Heart Opening Yoga Pose – Shoulder and Upper Back Stretch

This pose not only relieves pain in my upper back and shoulders; I can feel my mind and emotions melt when I do this. This heart-opening pose is one of my go-to poses after a stressful day when I can’t sleep or help relieve the tension of carrying life on my shoulders. As I work to widen my knees slowly, I feel relief to feel such space (even if it doesn’t look like it). The freedom of my body letting go into the safety of the floor for a few minutes is all I need to feel more like myself.

Constructive Rest Pose Mother Trucker Yoga Blog

Constructive Rest Yoga Pose- Reduce Back Pain

Constructive Rest pose is a simple pose to relax and separate from the day. It diminishes back pain and can ease the immediate discomfort mentally, emotionally, and physically life can bring about. Lying on your bed, widen your feet slightly wider than your hips and let your knees fall together and completely support each other. If your knees do not touch naturally, then place a pillow or rolled towel between them so your legs can completely relax. Do this pose on your bed or the floor and focus on your breathing or listen to some relaxing music or guided meditation.

Seated Forward Bend Traveling Mother Trucker Yoga Blog

Seated Forward Bend – Complete Stretch from Foot to Forehead

 

Stress - Version 2 Seated Forward Bend Yoga pose Mother Trucker Yoga Blog

This pose is often used in yoga therapy to help manage depression. It is also known to soothe headache and anxiety and reduce fatigue. The feeling of bending forward eases the mind. Try to deepen your breathing during this pose and hold for one to five minutes. This pose brings me full circle to the simplicity that I am okay the way I am something we all can benefit from when stress steps in.

Be gentle to yourself so that life can be gentle back to you. Never force yourself into a forward bend, especially when sitting on the floor. With each inhalation, lift and lengthen the front torso slightly, with each exhalation release a little more fully into the forward bend. If you are new to this pose, it helps to hold a strap around the feel. If you are incredibly tight, place a rolled-up blanket under your knees for added support. The more you relax in this pose, the more naturally your body will open up.

You Are Worth It

Don’t overthink it. Sometimes you don’t have the time or the mental discipline to jump up and get a workout in, or strike a yoga pose. I get it. However, what I have discovered is that if you do make the time for yourself, you will see how yoga can help you physically, mentally, and emotionally. You are worth it and you owe it to yourself to make time for you. It can feel that if we work ourselves into the ground that we will somehow win an award. But the only award you will be winning is one of disability and mental uneasiness. I am telling you that it is OK and vital that you take care of you, and you can do that starting with just a few minutes a day right in the cab of your truck. 

If you want to get professional, inspiring, functionally-safe classes all in the comfort and privacy of your own rig. I invite you to check out Mother Trucker Yoga Online Studio Platform. No stress, no hassle, no sitters, and no fuss. This is not just another fitness program showing you moves from their gym where you try to figure out how to make this work in your truck.–it’s a fresh approach all done in and around the cab of the truck! I know that I know you will enjoy it. 

If you are experiencing stress right now, here are some other helpful resources:

10 Steps to Setting Goals as a Truck Driver

Benefits of Meditation- Simple Ways to Start Meditating

The 13th Step of Addiction Recovery 

3 Stretches for Wrist and Hand Pain Blog Post Mother Trucker Yoga

3 Stretches to Improve Hand Mobility While Driving

Pain can halt any job dead in its tracks. But when you are a truck driver the last thing you need is to come to a dead stop. Having a good grip is one of the number one things a truck driver needs. Why? Because controlling that 18 wheeler while out on the open road requires several things, one is gripping the steering wheel. Having good hand mobility includes your fingers, wrists and arms.

Sure it may seem insignificant, but not being able to grip the steering wheel, ratchet down your load, or open your truck door all require your hands to work properly.

If you find daily tasks difficult to do because you suffer from stiffness, swelling, or pain in your hands, the right exercises can help get you back in motion.

Repetitive strain injuries are not just for those who type on a computer or hold a hammer. Continuously holding your steering wheel in a particular way can also cause pain and discomfort. And the lack of having full range of motion regularly is a big part of the problem with anyone with hand and wrist issues.

Taking a time out and stretching your fingers, hands, and wrists is one of the best ways to keep pain and discomfort at bay and increase hand mobility and function.

Below you will find five commonly recommended exercises for hand and wrist problems. However, if your hand condition is painful or debilitating, it’s best to get exercise advice from a physical therapist. All exercises should be done slowly and deliberately, to avoid pain and injury. If you feel numbness or pain during or after exercising, stop and contact your doctor.

FINGER  AND HAND STRETCHES:

Most of the time the only way we are moving our fingers is into flexion. AKA curling them into the grip. When you repeatedly do something over and over you create a pattern. Like driving a dirt bike on the grass over and over, you eventually create a dirt path within the grassy ground.

TRY THIS: Open and outstretch your hand as wide as you can. Look at it from the side and see if all of your fingers straighten up. Is it hard to do? When is the last time you stretched (extended) those joints? Did something that didn’t require you to “grip”?

PRO TIP: Twice a day stretch your fingers, you can pull back on each finger one at a time. Or you can also use the steering wheel and stretch each finger again the wheel. Try to hold the stretch for at least 10-20 seconds each.

Finger Stretches Mother Trucker Yoga Blog

WRIST AND HAND STRETCHES:

Most of us have jobs where we use our body by folding inward. Bending forward. Rounding forward. Gripping. Internally rotating. Not only does this create patterns in our body to where we start to stand, sit, move and exercise with those patterns, it also plays a negative role in how we feel. Closing off the chest, can increase anxiety, depression and decrease breathing.

When it comes to the wrists we need to reverse it. if you want to increase hand mobility and if you suffer from tennis elbow, wrist strain, or even shoulder strain, a little extension in the wrists could bring relief.

TRY THIS: Next time you are standing next to your truck, a wall, or even use the steering wheel, turn your forearm up and stretch your palm/wrist out. Try to keep the fold of the elbow facing upward and if you are using your truck, lean your elbow into your body to brace the stretch. If you are in your truck create a full extension on your elbow and keep the eye (the fold) of the elbow facing upward.

PRO TIP: Do this at least twice a day and try to hold this for 30 seconds to one minute. You may notice a ripping like feeling. Don’t be alarmed, that is the fascia of the body stretching and releasing. Think of it like fuzz melting off. If you haven’t melted the fuzz in a while, it’s going to be sticky!

Wrist Stretch Mother Trucker Yoga Blog

Wrist Stretch in truck mother trucker yoga

SHOULDER & UPPER ARM STRETCH:

When there is physical pain, oftentimes those in pain only look to where they “feel” pain as the culprit of the pain. But when it comes to the shoulder, elbow, and wrist, any one of the three just listed can cause another pain. So next time your wrist or hand is giving you grief, look up a little higher to the shoulder. Tennis elbow? Could be the shoulder to blame. Hand mobility doesn’t just mean you have a hand issue, neighboring body parts can be to blame.

TRY THIS: Next time you are waiting to load or unload, have a little downtime or are on break, try this quick and easy shoulder and upper arm stretch. Simple cross one arm in front of your chest and latch it in with the other, hugging it tightly. Try to straighten the arm that is laying across your chest to increase the stretch. Hold it for at least 30 seconds. And then repeat the opposite side.

PRO TIP: While stretching, it is important to try to relax your shoulders and breathe deeply. Hold the stretch until the initial pain drops at least in half. Look towards the stretching arms side to get the neck involved as well.

Shoulder Stretch Mother Trucker Yoga Blog

Don’t let pain be the reason you stop doing what you love. Or keep you from your job. Taking preventative measures is one of the best ways to keep your body working with you and not against you. Regular stretching not only is good for the body, but it releases endorphins to the brain and leaves you happier and healthier.

The next time your wrists and hands start calling a TIME OUT, remember these simple easy stretches you can do no matter where the open road takes you.

And don’t forget about our Stiff Mother Trucker Pain Relief Cream, perfect to use after you stretch your hands, wrists, and arms. Stiff Mother Trucker Pain Relief Cream was specifically formulated for professional truck drivers to meet their body’s pain in contact. We believe that every driver can feel better wherever they are with simple easy stretches and practices, one of them being pain relief cream.

No matter where you are, on the road or at home, remember there are simple and easy things you can do today to start to feel your best.

 

Want to read more from Mother Trucker Yoga?

10 Tips for a Functional Body Blog 

 

How to reduce neck pain for truck drivers mother trucker yoga blog post

Neck Pain: 7 Ways to Drive Pain-Free

Neck pain can be a royal pain when it comes to driving. And when you are a professional truck driver a pain in the neck can absolutely put a halt on your plan to keep rolling.

Neck pain has an annual prevalence rate exceeding 30% among adults in the US; nearly 50% of individuals will continue to experience some degree of chronic neck pain or frequent occurrences. Says Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research.

The causes of neck pain can be vast from trauma, injuries, poor sleep position, medical conditions, whiplash, stress or muscle strains or pain and even nerve-related issues. When it comes to being a truck driver dealing with a stiff neck can often be a daily concern you just learn to “deal with” day in and day out. Getting stiff neck can often revolve around holding your head in a particular position for a long period of time, or even using one or both arms for long periods of time. Even having your torso rotated a certain way and when it comes to truck drivers, the constant impact of your driving conditions can and does play a large role in neck pain and discomfort.

When your truck is your workplace, home and vehicle learning how to prevent and treat neck pain can dramatically improve how you feel day today. Here’s how to reduce stress and neck pain so you can get back on the road feeling better than ever.

Neck Pain: Staying Pain-Free on the Road

Posture and how you sit in the driver’s seat play a large role in how your neck and back feel day in and day out. The constant stress caused by driving, gripping the steering wheel, leaning on the driver’s side door or only using one hand or arm for daily tasks associated with driving can contribute to neck pain. Adjusting your body and posture while driving can and will reduce pain and get you back on the road feeling relief.

Start with a good driving posture.

The best angle for the back of your seat is at 100 degrees, which is just shy of straight. Place your hands in the 3 and 9 o’clock positions on the steering wheel and elbows comfortably on the armrests.

Forawrd head for truck drivers blog post mother trucker yoga

  1. Reposition your head.

    From the desk to the driver’s seat, the forward-head position is a major cause of neck tension and pain. Think about your ears being over your shoulders. Making this adjustment is not so much a tuck down with your chin as it is sliding back. Check out this video on neck stretches to help you reduce the pain of postural changes.

  2. Use back support.

    No matter how nice your truck seat is, rarely are they truly made for ideal lumbar support. Sinking back into your seat in your lower back rounds back like the letter “C”. Our spine is meant to be like the letter “S” to help absorb impact and better support what is on top (our head). And if you are a truck driver impact is your constant enemy while driving. I absolutely love BackShield (use the link for 10% off and FREE shipping) back support, which puts your spine in the right position and also protects your back upon impact. Plus BackShield doubles as traction support to lay on after a long day.

  3. Adjust your mirrors.

    Move your side mirrors so you have the widest field of vision so you can minimize awkward movements with your head at sudden notice. Pay attention throughout the day if you adjust your mirrors for your ever slumping posture as the day goes on. You may need a mid-day stretch to get you standing and sitting tall somewhere along the route.

  4. Avoid eyestrain and impaired driving.

    There are many reasons you may be straining to see. If your vision is to blame, please seek proper professional aid to receive the proper support. But poor vision can lead to eyestrain while driving, which can cause you to lean forward and slide your head towards the steering wheel while driving. This forward head position puts major pressure and strain on the muscles of the upper back and neck. And also tightens and shortens the muscles of the front of the neck and chest. Use sunglasses if driving in bright light, and use the proper eye protection at night if night lights strain your vision.

  5. Take a break.

    If you start to get a stiff neck, are feeling neck pain, or better yet want to prevent it, pull into the next rest stop. Do some stretching and walk off the kinks.

  6. Ditch the pillow.

    After driving all day to consider going pillowless, even for just a few minutes or hours. When it’s bedtime our body recoils into it’s most comfortable position-meaning how we spend our time most. Head forward and knees tucked in and fetal like. Stretch out and lay flat. Slide the BackShield under your back for spinal relief and start to respond to your body properly rather than react continuously.

  7. Stretch.

    Yes, it’s not fancy, but stretch your muscles, moving your body in different positions than what you do on a daily basis can and will help you reduce pain and strain. Simple easy stretches just a few minutes a day can and will leave you feeling your best on and off the road. Try this one from our Fitness Minute at Instagram:

    Check out what Mother Trucker Yoga can help you with while you are out on the road. During this difficult time, we want you to enjoy a FREE 30 days with Mother Trucker Yoga. Simply use the code: CORONA2020.

Truck drivers are the heroes of our highways and we so appreciate everything you do. But it is vital that you take care of yourself. Living over the road for weeks on end may not be ideal or “typical” but with a little prep and self-care, you can keep your health and physical body in check with as little as 5 minutes a day. You can avoid driving with neck pain by maintaining good posture and making the necessary driving adjustments that can and will take the strain off your neck.

 

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Enjoy this post? Check out some of our other blog posts here at Mother Trucker Yoga

  1. Put Back Pain in the Rear View Mirror  
  2. Benefits of Meditation
Corporate Yoga for Logistics Companies MTY Blog

Corporate Yoga for Drivers and Desk Employees

When people hear about the benefits of yoga most are still imaging a yoga mat, yoga pants, and serene yoga music. But bringing yoga to your company doesn’t look quite like that. Mother Trucker Yoga’s corporate wellness programming brings amazing techniques and benefits right to the desk of the employee.

Yoga is by far one of the most commonly recommended activities to help with any number of issues from stress to flexibility, toning to weight-loss. Mother Trucker Yoga believes in simple easy moves drivers can do while inside their truck, some even driving to help them feel better, wherever they are. But it doesn’t have to start with the driver. Those running the drivers, finding loads, and filtering calls, paperwork and the dozens of other tasks to keep a company running smoothly yoga can be a tool in the company’s toolbox that can meet the need of every employee from the desk to the driver’s seat. 

 

It’s a growing issue and I think it’s about time we give it more attention with followed up action. At any given time, as many as one in six working people suffer from stress and other symptoms related to mental illness, researchers note in Occupational Medicine. Yoga is one of many approaches a growing number of employers are using to combat stress and improve workers’ mental health. 

 

As someone who has been practicing and teaching yoga for nearly 20 years, yoga helps the body, mind, and emotions. Some argue that our mental health is somehow separate from nutrition, or physical fitness, but I beg to differ. When someone makes any number of positive changes in their lives it affects all aspects of themselves in a positive light. 

 

University of Bristol researchers did a study looking at employees who exercised before or during work hours. And what they found was those who exercised during said times were better equipped to handle whatever challenges they had to face that day. It also found that their general mood improved on days they worked out and were less calm on days they did not. I call that a win! 

 

Jo Coulson, a Research Associate in the University’s Department of Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences, said: ”Critically, workers performed significantly better on exercise days and across all three areas we measured, known as mental-interpersonal, output and time demands.”

 

YOGA IN THE WORKPLACE

The health of any company or organization heavily relies on the health of its employees. Those that are constantly sick, fatigued, taking PTO for issues relating to their jobs like repetitive strain injuries or mental health days are costing your company’s bottom line hundreds if not thousands of dollars. 

 

As more and more organizations understand the impact of employees’ health on the companies’ performance, there are steadily more employers who have integrated different physical activities into their corporate wellness programs. But it can’t stop at just putting up a gym at your companies headquarters, especially if you own a trucking company. Ask any driver who drives for a company who has a corporate gym how many times they use it and they will most likely tell you zero. Ask any corporate employee how many times they use their company gym and I can guarantee it’s far less than you would think. 

Yoga has been continually an opportunity for its participants to achieve physical and mental wellness. And in today’s society yoga is increasingly finding its way into the workplace. Leading successful companies like Nike, Apple, Google, and Forbes have introduced Yoga into their corporate wellness programs and have reaped benefits like improved productivity and increased employee motivation.

 

Mother Trucker Yoga believes that like with our driver programming and orientation seminars, those behind the desk shouldn’t have to have complicated pathways to mental and physical wellness. Our corporate wellness programming: Employee Stress to Workplace Success is built for trucking companies, shippers and logistics companies and aims to equip the employees behind the desk with tips, techniques, 

 

BENEFITS OF YOGA IN THE WORKPLACE

Maybe you have never considered yoga as being an option for your company’s wellness plan. If you haven’t, I urge you to consider the benefits from the desk to the driver’s seat. 

 

ALLEVIATES ACHES AND PAINS FROM DESK JOBS

Like truck drivers hunched over the steering wheel, office workers to spend long hours hunched over their desks straining their neck much like the drivers of their companies. From repetitious mousing to hunching over the computer screen and long term sitting, this unnatural posture is wreaking havoc on their bodies one mouse click at a time. This daily build-up for strain and pain creates unnecessary stress and PTO that could have been avoided if those at the desk were armed with simples moves and exercises they could do right at their desk, none of which require a gym on-site or even yoga clothes. 

 

INCREASES ENERGY & REDUCED FATIGUE

Working non-stop throughout the day is bound to create stress which can lead to lower energy and burnout in the long run. It is proven that doing any form of physical activity every 30 minutes, including stretching or even standing up, greatly increases blood circulation and promotes oxygenation which is crucial for energy production.

 

The benefits to yoga are endless and you don’t need a 60-minute yoga class to reap what yoga has to offer. 

  • Yoga can increase blood flow
  • Yoga can reduce muscle strain
  • Yoga can reduce fatigue and eye strain
  • Yoga can improve posture and digestion 

Yoga Stretch MTY Blog

IMPROVES CONCENTRATION & FOCUS

The constant need to meet deadlines fix problems and diffuse other work-related situations on top of their own constantly piling workload can create frustration, mental clutter, anxiety, and physical tension and tightness. All of the above can hinder productivity, creativity, and communication, something no company can afford to lose. And something no company should sacrifice with the right tools, programs, and processes in place. 

  • Yoga can improve brain function
  • Yoga can improve mental clarity 
  • Yoga can reduce stress and anxiety 
  • Yoga can improve problem-solving skills
  • Yoga can reduce strain and pain

 

PROMOTES COMPANY CULTURE & MORALE

Improving company culture requires an entire company to focus on improving itself at an interpersonal level first. And when a company promotes an environment that supports such efforts, everyone benefits. 

Stressed employees are more likely to be aggressive, hostile, short-tempered and make mistakes which disrupts any opportunity for a healthy work environment. A successful workplace is one that its employees enjoy waking up and going to each day. You can love what you do, but not enjoy where you do it. I believe that the increase in people leaving the corporate work environment is in part due to the culture in which they work. 

 

By both drivers and desk employees learning yogic techniques they can do right at their desk that can be done in one to three minutes throughout the day can help to elevate mood, and improve company morale.

 

  • Yoga can reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone)
  • Yoga can lower blood pressure
  • Yoga can diffuse tempers
  • Yoga can instantly accessible outlets for frustration  

 

YOGA, GOOD FOR BUSINESS AND YOUR BOTTOM LINE

The bottom line is your company is only as healthy as the people that run it — Your employees. 

 

The power of providing resources and opportunities for your employees to feel appreciated can go a long way. People work for people who feel appreciated. And on top of that if you own a company that deals with the trucking industry isn’t it time we start to appreciate all the people behind that which drives America?

 

All it takes is teaching your company crew how they can improve physical and mental well-being right from the driver’s seat and desk in just a few minutes. And you, the company owner gets to reap the benefits of a happy and healthy functioning workplace. 

 

Teaching things like simple yogic breathing practices, easy yoga stretches, and short meditations can become a game-changer in the long run.   

  • From burning out to breathing exercises 
  • From stressed out to stretching out 
  • From medication to meditation. 

 

Mother Trucker Yoga’s Employee Stress to Workplace Success Seminars and Workshops help your company vitals stay above sea level. 

 

For more information on our corporate Yoga, set up a time to chat with Hope here.

Put Back Pain in Your Rearview Mirror

Put Back Pain in Your Rear-View Mirror

Operating a truck day in and day out takes a toll on a person’s body.  It’s not a secret that if you are a trucker, you sit a lot. It’s just the nature of the job. Stops to move around and stretch usually don’t happen. There just isn’t time for it. Then there’s the heavy lifting and loading and unloading of cargo. All of these things combined create the perfect storm–for back pain.

Unless you have ever suffered from back pain, you can’t really even begin to imagine what it feels like. Every move you make is a painful reminder of the toll that driving truck has taken on your body. Plus, if you don’t have a Backshield yet, you’ve GOT to get one! It will save your back from a lot of pain in the first place. Get 10% off at checkout when you use my link! 

MotherTruckerYoga Backshield Discount

Unfortunately, at some point, every trucker is going to experience some sort of back pain. BUT there are simple movements you can do to help keep your back in the best condition possible. 

Try these FOUR tips to help improve and/or alleviate your lower back pain. 

1. Pelvic Tilts

Pelvic tilts are my #1 go-to move for just about anyone with lower back pain. Pelvic tilts are a super simple movement that you can do WHILE DRIVING. Pelvic tilts require you to tip the pelvis back and forward at varying degrees to help release tightness and also build resilience and strength in the pelvic area, lower back and abdomen. They are a simple yet effective exercise for those seeking back pain relief.  

Back Pain Pelvic Tilt

Back Pain Pelvic Tilt

2. Strengthen Your Core

Your core strength is vital in maintaining back support and reducing back pain, yet few really truly understand where their core is, how to access it and how to safely use it. When you are in pain the last thing you want to do is hurt yourself again, so starting small is essential, but that doesn’t mean it’s not powerful. Bracing is a position or movement that teaches us how to co-contract our core (contract our entire core muscles simultaneously), that does not require us to suck in our push out. Bracing give us the strength and a feeling for what it is like to use our core in everyday life, exactly what we need to do in the future to not end up here again. 

3. Roll It Out

Using a soft foam roller allows us to access various levels of tissues in our bodies. It is often said that by using a foam roller, one can reduce the tension and pain in several areas of the body. Foam rolling allows us to release the “snag” and move the tissues (fascia, muscle, connective tissue) around in a way that will make it more pliable for movement and more user-friendly for stretching.

4. Stretch

I have been working with individuals for nearly 20 years with all sorts of ailments. Yoga is a mind-body therapy that’s often recommended to treat not only back pain but the stress that accompanies it. More specifically, addressing your hip flexors through yoga is vital to getting to the bottom of lower back pain. When our front butt is tight it can enable our back body to go haywire. Unlocking your hip flexors and psoas will not only help you feel relief in the lower back (and hip flexors) but also releasing your psoas– due to the nature of our psoas attaching into the diaphragm and ribs, is linked to better breathing as well. 

 

These simple tips could be the changes you need in order to put back pain in your rearview mirror for good. I challenge you to add them to your routine today!

 

10 Tips for a Functional Body

10 Tips for a Functional Body

Did you know that there are over 7 million truck drivers on our roads? Sadly, truckers are one of the unhealthiest populations in our country. The long work hours, little to no time to rest or stretch throughout the day, and the obvious requirement of sitting for long hours on end do not help matters much. These forces work against drivers maintaining a functional body, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Yoga has been around for nearly 5,000 years. Yoga is comprised of different poses that help different parts of the body. Most people start to incorporate yoga, or other mindful movements, into their daily routine in order to benefit themselves both mentally and physically. 

It isn’t a secret that life on the road as a trucker isn’t easy. Deadlines quickly become the priority and your health and overall well-being takes a backseat. BUT you don’t need a gym or a yoga studio to stay healthy. There are many things that you can do to help keep your body functional and healthy while on the road. 

Here are 4 changes you can start to make today to start living life on the healthier side of the highway. Get a functional body in no time!

 

  1. Do Something While You Are Driving!

    Now please don’t take this the wrong way. Safety should ALWAYS be your #1 priority. However, if you can multitask while driving I encourage you to do it. Get the most out of the time you have by utilizing hand weights, resistance bands or mindful breathing exercises while driving. Better yet, tune into Mother Trucker Yoga’s Yoga in Seat Guided Audio that guides you through simple exercises to help keep your body and mind limber, happy and healthy while on the road.
  2. Move

    How many trucks have ever considered yoga? Probably not many. It’s ok–believe it or not, I’m not shocked. However, yoga is for everyone–truckers included. Truck drivers sit all day, have limited movement opportunities, incur broken sleep patterns, and have added stressors that continually take a toll on their bodies. There are also limited resources available to them to make the changes they know they need to make. Incorporating yoga movements will help you to increase wholeness and wellness. If you are looking for a starting point, the Mother Trucker Yoga Online Studio only costs $7.99/month and you will receive professional, inspiring, functionally-safe classes accessible wherever you go. 
  3. Shed Your Shoes

    After a long day on the road, take off your shoes! Our bodies are like rubber bands; the tighter a rubber band gets on one end, the more it will pull on the other end. If our fascia becomes stiff, the more we feel that sticky stiffness in our bodies. So what I’m saying is: if your hips are tight, your feet will react, and if your feet are tight, your hips will react. Get the point? So in the end, shed those shoes! And if you suffer from foot pain, know that pain relief is not far.
  4. Strengthen Your Core

    Your core muscles to help support you in everything that you do. Strengthening your core helps to improve your posture, decreases lower back pain, and improves your overall stability and posture. As the creator of the Core Functional Fitness Program, I have over a decade of experience teaching and practicing functionally fit exercise. 

 

Making these small changes today will lead to a lifetime of benefits, both physically and mentally. Don’t waste any more time–start today and work on your functional body!

 

Here are some other great resources to help you get started:

Smart Ass Core 20 Minute Workout Video

Attention Truckers: Step It Up with Interval Walking

Pelvic Tilts: Best Move for Truckers with Back Pain

7 Little Changes Drivers Can Make To Improve Their Health

10 Steps to Goal Setting for Truck Drivers

10 Steps to Goal Setting as a Truck Driver

Goal setting can seem like a mountain to climb, but it doesn’t have to be. So much of what we want to accomplish, achieve and get to is available to us. But it is in m experience that if we right from the start don’t set ourselves up for a successful path it’s going to be less than blissful and may end up being one of the 92% that give up on their New Year’s Resolutions.

I don’t like resolutions, I prefer goals because rather than telling myself I’m bad and suck here so I should change. I like to look at what I want, and how to get there.

Seven months ago I closed my yoga studio of 14 years. It was hard, and for two to three years prior I talked about doing it. I knew deep down it was what needed to happen for me to reach my bigger goals and dreams, but I was scared. Yep, long story short, I was scared and afraid. I chased my tail, stood still and felt lost, I wasn’t taking action, I never created a plan of how to get there. I just floated through mad because I wasn’t there yet. And frustrated because I saw others making changes I wanted to make and I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t happening for me.

I know now. I want to share with you what I figured out when it comes to goals, changes and dreams. What I wasn’t doing and should have been. What I recognized I did do in other areas of my life but I wasn’t applying to this particular situation and once I did, everything changed.

10 Steps to Setting Your Goals and Reaching Them:

    1. Choose ONE goal. Yes, choose just one goals. You may have many, but today just choose one to focus on. If you can’t decide, write them all down in a notebook. Yes, buy a notebook and write all of this down in ONE place. Write down all your goals and then looking at them choose one. What you may discover is that many of then feed into each other. So it will help to see them down on paper. When you choose one goal you will accelerate the process faster. You can only put so much energy into something at once time: exercise, studying for a new career, learning how to food prep, etc. For now, just choose one.
    2. Know where you are staring from. There is a reason addicts that truly hit rock bottom are the ones that make it out and fully recover. Because in that moment they decided to get well, they knew exactly where they were starting from. I tried for years to “get better” get into recovery, and it wasn’t until I truly hit rock bottom that I saw my life as it actually was and I didn’t like it. So I stepped through my anxiety, and guilt and got help. Real help.
    3. Make a timeline. A time line gives your goal an end date. Now be realistic, where are you right now and what would it take to get to where you want to go? Once you decide that…WRITE IT DOWN. Yes, don’t just think it in your head. If that method worked you would be there already…am I right? Yes, of course I am. In that notebook you invested your all of $2 to buy, write down your goal and an end date next to it.

  1. 10 Stepping stones. What are ten things that need to happen in order for you to get to your goal, your dream? What has to happen today, tomorrow, a month from now to get there? I like to work backwards. To lose 100 pounds I need to be working out five days a week and clean eating. Well I don’t recommend doing all of that all at once like a magic trick. Work backwards. Well to clean eat, I need to stop eating at the truck stops so much. Well to do that I have to buy healthy food. Well I can’t do that until I buy a frig to fit in my truck. Well I can’t do that until I reorganize my truck. See the path. This is not to cause frustration, but rather help you see a clear path to get to where you want to go. The same can be true about exercise. Because you know you need to do that to get to your 100 pound goal in one year. Decide if food happens first or second to exercise. Once you do that, working out five days a week. I need to figure out what to do. I need to enlist an expert or follow and work with Mother Trucker Yoga (shameless plug). Then I need to map out my days, even if that means I do it always the night before because my days are different (no excuses right). Research what truck stops have fitness centers and walking trails. Call my buddy and ask to walk and talk at 5pm each day. See what I did there? You can do this too!
  2. Once you set that path, ask yourself what is is achievable today? What can I do today to influence the outcome tomorrow? And just start. No more BS, just start!
  3. Recognize that 70% of the choices we make are actually habits. Yes! Habits! Not choices. You keep saying you are going to walk once you park each day, but you don’t. Instead you eat, shower and watch T.V. Why? Well, because it’s a habit, it’s what you have always done. You are choosing it before you even see it is a choice. So set your alarm, change your shoes mid day so you are ready for action. And when you park, hit the Jon, but don’t take in your wallet and get your a$$ moving and start walking. Call your buddy and chat it up for 30 minutes while you walk and talk. Make a new habit.
  4. Remember it’s a decision. You are not “trying”. When you try, you are giving yourself an out. You are saying that if you fail, it’s OK. A decision is a decision. There is no going back. You are all in. So when you look at your goal in your notebook each day (yes every day) and write it down like it happened each day- you are not “trying” you have decided!
  5. Write it down EVERY SINGLE DAY. Yes every day you have to write down your goal and write down what step you are on like it has already happened. Remember that sub-conscious part of our brains, well we remember things too. So do you want your brain to remember that you are “working on it”, “trying” or ARE there?
  6. Motivation comes from within. If you are waiting to be motivated by someone or something, you will be waiting for a long time. I love inspiring people, helping others to see things differently, but ultimately I cannot “motivate” you. I can’t force you out of bed. This is exactly why rehab doesn’t work for those who aren’t ready. They aren’t yet in a place of motivation. They have not set a goal. They don’t yet see the point. But you my friend, you do.
  7. Balance is bull sh!T. Yes, here is a yoga teacher by trade telling you balance is bull. It is, having balance as a goal in life will drive you bat sh!T crazy! I tried this path for more than ten years and just felt like a failure. It’s about learning to ride the waves with grace and swing with the pendulum. Some days life will take you one way and you learn to adapt. Other days you will swing the other way, and just go with it. Because now you have a clear goal, you have a plan and know where you are. So no matter what, nothing it going to get in your way. And if it does, get up and begin again.

Goals are for the motivated. Goals are for those who want more than what they have. If that isn’t you, no worries. Keep loving life exactly where you are! Love that! When I get to my end goal, I will surely do the same. But for those of you who are ready. Let’s jump in. First things first, buy the darn notebook. Buy a pen just for that notebook, and write down your goals.

Don’t think you have any? I beg to differ, I bet you a steak and salad that you have goals, you just have never taken the time to ask yourself what they are and then given yourself permission to write then down and see them with your own eyes.

I’m over here, believing in you. Cheering you on. You got this. You got this because you now have an actual goal. With an actual end date. With an actual plan and steps to get there.

You got this!

Meditation for Truckers

Benefits of Meditation — And Simple Ways To Start Meditating

When your profession demands for you to be on the road for the majority of the year, your physical and mental health can take a turn for the worst. As previously mentioned on the Mother Trucker Yoga blog, “while out on the road, movement can be limited and stress can be high.”

Thankfully, Mother Trucker Yoga has brought mobility and good health back in drivers’ lives. But if you would like to practice another stress-relieving method in addition to our easy workouts, consider adding meditation to your daily routine.

You might be asking yourself, why choose meditation? Can’t I just take deep breaths whenever I feel stressed? Though a post on Pain-Free Working indicates that simple breathing exercises could temporarily alleviate stress, practicing meditation strengthens the mind to cultivate inner peace and improve mental well-being in the long run.

The Benefits of Meditation

The benefits of meditation are limitless, and given the sedentary lifestyle of truckers, there’s a lot that can be gained. The road is long and lonely, and it can negatively affect your state of mind and physical health. However, with the help of meditation, truckers can get the job done while still taking care of their mind and body.

Based on scientific studies, here are the benefits of meditation, as shared by Healthline:

  • A good way to manage stress
  • Minimizes anxiety
  • Improves self-image and promotes a positive outlook on life
  • Increases self-awareness
  • Increases your attention span
  • May decrease age-related memory loss
  • Promotes kindness
  • May help battle addictions
  • Improves sleep
  • Helps manage pain
  • Can decrease blood pressure
  • Can be practiced anywhere

Different Forms of Meditation

Believe it or not, there are numerous forms of meditation; so if one form doesn’t work for you, there are still plenty to choose from. One of the more well-known forms is yoga meditation. The controlled breathing exercises and postures focus the mind on the practice and calm the mind, all the while promoting flexibility. Yoga is also a type of movement meditation, which is where you draw mindfulness from movement. Tai chi and martial arts also fall under this category. Spiritual meditation is often a huge part of Eastern spiritual traditions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism. For religious meditations, this often involves prayers to divine power. For non-theistic traditions, self-awareness and self-actualization are the focal points of the meditation.

Another form is zen meditation. It can be part of Buddhist practice, where meditators must be mindful of their thoughts without judgment. At the same time, focus on their breathing and maintain a
comfortable position. According to Medical News Today, zen meditation requires more discipline and practice, and practitioners often prefer to study under a teacher, considering all the steps and postures that must be followed. With that in mind, this may not be the best meditation form for truckers. To see what other meditation forms could potentially work for you, check out this blog post on MindWorks.

Tips for Beginners

As straightforward as deep breaths in and out may seem, meditation is not as simple as you would think. But by starting off small and practicing every day, you’ll get the hang of it, and eventually, you’ll open your mind and body to new techniques.

To help you get started on meditating, here’s what you can do:

1. Designate one area, a comfy chair or cushion for meditation

Getting into the habit of meditating can be difficult; however, creating a small relaxing environment can help set you up for a successful practice, whether that’s just a chair in your living room or a cushion next to your bed. Cushions are definitely recommended for truckers since you can take them with you wherever you go. Eventually, you’ll have the ability to meditate anywhere, but for now, setting up the scene will help you get in the right headspace.

2. Start with just two minutes every morning

Before you go about your day, begin your morning with meditation. Doing it first thing in the morning will naturally become part of your daily routine, giving you a positive mindset to tackle the stressful drive ahead. As for the meditation itself, rather than following a specific type or technique right away, just spend two minutes listening to your own breathing. Take note of the movement of your body as you breathe in and out. When your mind wanders, and it will just bring your thoughts back to breathing. You could even count each breath. Do this for the first week or two, increasing to five minutes in the following, then possibly move on to guided meditations.

3. Stay connected with a meditation journal

A journal is a great way to track your progress, as your entries offer clarity and insight on how you might need to adjust your meditations and how far you’ve come since the beginning. Daily journaling gives an opportunity to reflect, gain perspective, and most importantly, be positive and kind to yourself. As for the entry format, it’s entirely up to you. It can be as simple as including the date, type of meditation, and comments on the practice, or you can use a guided format. With all these benefits and tips in mind, it’s clear that regular meditation is an easy way to achieve a good work-life balance, practice gratitude, and maintain a positive mindset as you trek across the country on your own.

 

4. Benefits of Meditation

If you are wondering how has meditation helped others? Check out Healthline’s benefits and stories from people just like you. And learn how meditation has impacted their lives. HERE

Article written by Mandy Rudd
Only for the use of mothertruckeryoga.com