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9 Stress-Busting Tips for Delivery Drivers 01 March, 2022   

Being a delivery driver is frustrating at times, especially when you’ve got deadlines to hit, customers to satisfy and a cavalcade of other conundrums to overcome in the course of a single shift.

Thankfully a lot of the most stressful aspects of the job can be minimized or eliminated altogether if you take the right approach to conquering them.

With that in mind, here are some tips for delivery drivers who are feeling overwhelmed by their responsibilities and want to make their working lives less of an uphill struggle.

Use a route planning app

If you aren’t doing this already, relying on a route planning app to organize your schedule is absolutely essential.

Firstly, modern apps can plot out routes in advance and ensure that you are taking the most efficient, fast journeys between drop-off points.

Secondly, the best apps will be augmented by real-time traffic data, allowing them to dynamically adjust to the obstacles that are thrown up and prevent you from being foiled by congestion, closed roads, accidents and much more besides.

Make the most of your breaks

Factoring in breaks during a delivery shift is sensible as a way of alleviating stress and giving you time to recharge your brain.

Of course it’s not enough to just take a break in your vehicle, because this won’t give you that all-important mental disconnect you need to reset. The best solution is to hop out, get your body moving and switch up the scenery in whatever way you can.

Even something as simple as visiting a store, strolling around the block or grabbing a coffee at a cafe will work wonders for both your physical and mental state mid-shift. This is far better than staying put behind the wheel and scrolling on your phone.

Know when to stop

With the gig economy ramping up and lots of people working as freelance delivery drivers, the compulsion to keep working every hour of every day, weekends included, is one you need to avoid.

Just because you can accept jobs from different apps and earn extra cash by dedicating your life to deliveries, doesn’t mean you should.

In fact, the short term financial benefits will be outweighed by the long term damage that this approach will do to your mental state, your body, your social life and your future career prospects.

Rather than succumbing to temptation, the solution is to set a limit for your delivery activities and stick to it. This might be purely time-based, or it could be oriented around hitting a set number of deliveries, or a fixed amount earned.

Whatever limit you choose, be willing to adjust it if you still find that the stress is building up and you are not functioning optimally.

Steer clear of coping mechanisms

Often when we are tired and stressed, we turn to the things that will either comfort us, or help us get through the day. This can provide temporary relief, but again it will not be sustainable to self-medicate with caffeine throughout your shifts, or overindulging in alcohol during your free time.

If you find that your lifestyle habits are taking a turn towards the unhealthy, this could be a sign that the stress of your delivery job is getting to you. Making positive changes, and acting to reduce stress while at work, will provide self-perpetuating benefits.

Stay hydrated

This is great life advice in general, but also has specific advantages for delivery drivers. Dehydration is bad for our bodies, and can also lessen our ability to think clearly, as well as leading to things like headaches.

Keeping yourself hydrated will ensure you feel your best for as long as possible, and again that doesn’t mean downing as many coffees as you can; you need pure water at regular intervals to get the best results

Of course this also means planning bathroom stop-offs as part of your delivery routes. Factor these in to avoid a call of nature coming urgently and unexpectedly when you are stuck in traffic!

Follow a strict vehicle maintenance routine

One of the biggest stress-givers in a delivery driver context is that of the unplanned breakdown. If your vehicle is taken out of action because you didn’t maintain it thoroughly enough, it is both professionally disastrous and personally frustrating, because such events are largely preventable.

The easiest answer is to adhere to a maintenance schedule that is at least in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines. If there are recommended servicing intervals, stick to them.

If you want to go a step further, carry out maintenance more frequently, and always fix small problems straight away, rather than allowing them to fester.

Obviously there are expenses associated with doing all of this, but you should be able to reclaim at least some of the costs when you file your taxes.

Stick to the rules of the road

So far we’ve not mentioned the stress that comes with the act of driving itself. More often than not, your hackles will be raised by the way that other road users behave when behind the wheel, and road rage is a very real concern, even in an age when more and more autonomous driving features are being rolled out.

As with vehicle maintenance, you should aim to adhere to the rules, regulations and best practices which apply to driving.

Going by the letter of the law is not just safer for you and everyone else, but will also reduce the chances of any kind of driving-related misdemeanor being committed.

You don’t want to add to your stress by having criminal charges brought against you for mistakes made while on the road.

Obviously if you feel yourself becoming angry while driving, this is a symptom of stress itself, and a signal that you should take a break. If you don’t, you could be more likely to flout the rules or make mistakes, which can have a snowballing effect.

Connect with the professional community

Delivery driving can be an isolating job to do, since you spend the majority of your day on your own, only interacting sporadically with the customers you serve. So while other industries might create close-knit teams where camaraderie comes naturally, this is not always guaranteed in the logistics sector.

This means delivery drivers have to be more proactive about getting involved with their community of colleagues and cohorts. If you work for a larger organization and there are opportunities to socialize with other drivers, you should embrace them.

If you are freelance, you should make use of social media to find others in your area who are in the same situation, and find any groups which have built up around this profession.

Obviously it is also important to keep in contact with your friends and family from outside of this industry. However, it is also validating and reassuring to speak with people who know what you are going through each day because they are in the same situation.

Stress can melt away if you are able to unload your thoughts and feelings with other delivery drivers.

Book a vacation

There is no point earning money day after day if you don’t give yourself the time to actually enjoy the fruits of your labor. This goes double for delivery drivers, who are prone to burning the candle at both ends, as discussed earlier.

A great way to cope with the stress that you might encounter on the job is to have some vacation time booked in so that you have something to look forward to.

Whether it is a weekend city break or an overseas adventure, being able to plan out something that isn’t work-related will be succor for the soul on those long days behind the wheel, when the traffic stacks up.

delivery drivers

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