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Shift work and working away from home

Hi everyone,

new here and haven’t posted before, but hoping there’s someone in a similar situation or that can offer any advice. 


Long story short i do shift work as a truck driver, I currently work 6 hours from home and live in town where I work and travel home in my days off. I’ve been here for 6 months and it’s been fine but lately I’m just not coping with the isolation or my job. 


I love my job and usually thrive but this past week ive had trouble sleeping, being unmotivated for work, constantly being anxious and thinking people I work with have something against me, irritated and annoyed at almost everything and generally not wanting to be here (at work) plus feeling absolutely shit about myself as I’ve gained weight since working away. 


Ive never struggled with mental health and haven’t ever had to seek help, not because I don’t choose to but because I’ve never had any of these feelings before to a point that isn’t normal once off feelings regarding work etc or life. Usually I bounce back and I have coping methods in place but lately I just can’t shake these feelings or thoughts. 


Ive tried taking time off but as soon as I’m back at work I’m feeling the same way. When I’m home around family and friends I tend not to feel like this although the irritability and moodiness is still around just not as bad. 


Any other shift workers or people working in a rural place away from home that can offer some advice? Feeling very alone and more isolated then usual 

Re: Shift work and working away from home

Hey @Shiftworker, thanks for posting and sharing your story here with us. It is great that you love your job but it sounds like shift-work has been impacting you a lot recently. It is amazing that you have recognised this within yourself as it isn't always easy to do. So again, thanks for reaching out for some extra support! Heart Shift-work can take a toll on your body and mental health due to the nature of the work or the side effects from working on this type of schedule. Have you thought about heading to your GP for a physical and psychological check-up? It would be really valuable to find out what is causing you to feel this way and what can be done to improve it. Sometimes it could be medication but it could also include unpacking what has been happening for you lately.


In the meantime, we have after-hours services that are available which might suit your schedule.

Re: Shift work and working away from home

When I’m finished this swing next Monday I’m going to try and get an appointment with my gp. 


Theres also this stigma ive created for myself which is stupid, but my doctor sees my younger brother and mum who have both had struggles with mental health and been put on medication. I know within myself that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with seeking help or having a mental illness and that the stigma around it is unessesary but for some reason I keep thinking I was the only “normal” one in the family who hasn’t had to deal with stuff like this. 


I feel like a lot of my family depended on me to be the strong one and be their rock and listening ear and have all the answers and now I’ve succumbed to the same problem who’s there for me? I know my family would all support me but I also worry that it would add weight to their own problems and thoughts by then worrying about me aswell. 

Re: Shift work and working away from home

Awesome @Shiftworker, your attitudes around seeking help are really amazing! In regards to feeling 'normal', you are still normal with or without mental illness. Nobody ever has to do it alone and mental health problems can actually be common among family members. Also, just because you have been feeling low and critical of yourself, it doesn't mean you have an illness. These feelings can be quite normal and anyone and everyone can get stuck. For this reason, it is helpful to have a professional opinion to assess how much this is impacting you. It is also important to continue to do things that you enjoy, what are these things for you?

Would you consider telling your family about how you have been feeling lately? I understand you don't want to add another problem into the mix, although I feel like your family would want to support you. It is absolutely up to you. You could express this concern to them and develop boundaries to avoid it effecting their health. You are just as important and you deserve the same support you give to others.

Re: Shift work and working away from home

I am same buddy.

The misses and myself both work away from.  We meet up and just sleep (literally).


We know it's for a greater goal.  You know why your doing the shift work.  Family usually.  But if it's that bad maybe no job is worth your health.

I have always put work before all else but at the end of the day your a number to most employers.  

You can always make money but sometimes health cannot be fixed.


Local work is usually less money but happiness is worth it.  

The freedom of getting out of something that messes with you head is exceptional

You do be lost for a while but seriously be selfish and be healthy and happy