Mental capacity, while I don’t understand it fully, I know there’s never been a better time to talk about it. With the Covid-19 lockdowns, all that surrounds the pandemic, the hugely polarized political landscape and the non-stop barrage of new media, you can ill afford to be short on mental capacity. Last month I gave my take on building your physical capacity to help take on this brave new world. I should say it from the start, I am nowhere near as successful in building my brain power up! But I am working on it.
As truckers, we have possibly had the best preparation for what is causing people strife in this pandemic, and that is because we are used to being alone. Yes, unless you drive team or spend your days doing local delivery, a good many hours of your day are spent with yourself. Scary place sometimes, right? I know sometimes I say to myself, “Evasiuk, you are one strange man…” or “Evasiuk get your mind out of the gutter!” or “Stop being such a f*%$ idiot Greg, you got this!”
Honestly, I refer to myself in the third person, and I know I’m the only person I can’t get rid of, so I decided not so many years ago that I better learn to love myself or at least generally tolerate myself! Being a social person, I had to learn this when I started running to the far north because you have no outlet or communication with the outside world. When in cell phone service, I have been known to rack up the minutes. I bounce ideas off friends and family, solve my problems and generally enjoy the company of others through the phone. We’re talking to the tune of a few thousand minutes. This means that when I have no one to talk to, I have to talk to the guy in the mirror, and for the longest time, we didn’t get along!
This is the point in my article where I would normally have some great trucking analogy for how building and figuring out your thoughts is akin to maintaining your truck. Or how not checking your thoughts would be like letting an old two-stroke jimmy run away. Truth be told, I’m hoping you can come up with your own words to explain it. The reason being, as I said before, we deal with this every day, and people outside trucking don’t. Instances of mental illness and suicides are running out of control in the midst of Covid, and with more business failures to come and a lonely locked down winter carrying on, we need to help.
In the past several months, I have had some harrowing phone calls from friends whom I had always held in high regard; resilient, intelligent people with a positive outlook on life. For a wide variety of reasons related to the pandemic, these otherwise strong people are expressing fear, uncertainty, hopelessness, and even some suicidal thoughts. These feelings are compounded by being forced to stay home and away from their normal social circles. This is why it is so important to keep in touch with our friends and loved ones. When you notice someone having a tough time with loneliness or dealing with business loss, or anything causing them undue stress, don’t run away… lean in.
I know for me the fact that I had lost my business, that I have been away from my family for months, and having watched my industry change, with no recourse, makes me the perfect person to help. I’m sure you have those same hardships to draw on, times that have beaten you and not broke you. Having been to the bottom, or close to it, I know I don’t trust the advice of anyone who hasn’t been there too. That is why we are the right people to help during the current crisis.
So while I cannot tell you how to increase your own mental capacity this month, I want to encourage you to share what you’ve got. Use your experience from the tough times in trucking to help your friends and family get through the crap surrounding this pandemic. Listen to them and let them know you’ve been there too. If you’re feeling rough or lonely yourself, reach out, pick up the phone or CB mic, and I’ll guarantee you’ll find someone who has been there.