On Being Grateful This Thanksgiving—Even if You’re on the Road

thanksgiving

Gratitude, if the Zen masters of the world or that guy who wrote Chicken Soup for the Soul are right, is a practice. It’s something that can be developed by anyone, and when it is, the benefits are tremendous. While what someone is thankful for may vary across industries, fields and regions, that having a thankful attitude is something that requires tending remains consistent.

For truckers, this reality holds especially true.

Time away from home and the struggles of the being on the road can make it easy to feel like complaining. Still, whether you’ve just made it home in time for your son’s birthday or you’re in the middle of managing hairpin turns in a snowstorm, gratitude can make for a surprisingly welcome companion.

That being said, the Thanksgiving holiday can, ironically, present challenges for even the most practiced gratitude guru out there. Maybe it’s because the Thanksgiving holiday is such a heavily traveled time of year. Maybe it’s because few people—truckers included—are guaranteed time off to celebrate.

Regardless of the reasons, being grateful this Thanksgiving is an option. Here are a handful of ways to set about practicing up for it so that even if you’re on the road, you’ll still be able to count your blessings.

Safe and Sound

The statistics on accidents involving truckers can be sobering, but if you’re reading this, it means you’re doing something right. So, be thankful! Also, keep in mind that, while July 4th remains the most dangerous day to be out on the road, Thanksgiving isn’t far behind.

According to AAA, over 40 million Americans will travel for Thanksgiving—the vast majority via car. While heavier traffic presents little more than a headache for regular motorists hurrying to get casseroles and pies to relatives’ houses, for the trucker, it’s both a nuisance and an occupational hazard.

So, in addition to getting plenty of rest, do yourself a favor and don’t run behind schedule. Instead, run ahead. The extra vehicles on the road will slow traffic, and by giving yourself ample room, you won’t have to manage frustration and pressing time on top of all the extra cars out on the road. It will help you stay safe and sound, which, in turn, will make it easier to remain grateful.

The Cope

If you’re particularly disappointed about being away from loved ones this Thanksgiving, there are a number of ways to help yourself cope. Oftentimes, just letting yourself acknowledge you’d rather not have to work during the holiday can alleviate some of the stress around having to do so. Aiming to make your job simpler and less cash-strapped over the holidays can help, too.

You can also remember the millions of other workers—from hourly wage retail employees to correctional officers—who will also be on the job over Thanksgiving. Beyond that, cultivate a thankful heart while you’re on the holiday haul by doing the following:

  •       Plan a special time when you and your family will meet for a Thanksgiving meal when you are home.
  •       Have someone DV-R the game for you.
  •       Call an old friend who may not have anywhere to go for the holiday.

Being on the road over a holiday is never easy. Cultivate the gratitude that is part and parcel of Thanksgiving anyway, by staying safe, coping well and being mindful of all the others are out there punching clock—just like you.

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