How To Improve Your Wellbeing When Working Shifts
The working world is a very different one today than it was just a few years ago, and shift work, which was something reserved for relatively few careers such as nursing, retail, or catering, has now become much more widespread. In fact, I worked swing shifts for almost 15 years before becoming a full time wellness expert! Although it can be ideal if you want to obtain the perfect work-life balance, it can also cause several health problems. This is why it’s essential to take care of – and improve – your wellbeing when you’re working shifts. In this way, you can enjoy the benefits of shift work while still staying as healthy as possible. Read on to find out more.
Staying healthy and feeling good (the underpinning notions of wellbeing) when you’re working shifts can be a problem due to the food you’re eating. You might not sit down to a proper evening meal, for example, and if you’re busy, you could find that you’re grabbing quick, high-calorie meals on the go.
Although it might not seem possible, you can eat well when you’re working shifts. The first thing to do is to block out time for eating. Just because you’re waking up at a different time or working different hours, that shouldn’t mean not enjoying breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The times might be unusual, but the principle is still there. Try to make your own food where possible and don’t resort to takeout unless absolutely necessary.
Your wellbeing is linked to your overall health, and the more exercise you get, the healthier you will be. Working shifts means that joining in with fixed classes or going to a gym isn’t always possible, but there are other options. One of these is to invest in some home gym equipment from Hoist Fitness. If you do this, you’ll always be able to do at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. Just a treadmill or an exercise bike can be enough, but there is plenty of choice if you want to do more.
When you’re at work, try to keep moving as much as you can. This is also a form of exercise, and it’s better for your circulation. If your job involves sitting in one place for hours at a time, make sure you get enough breaks so you can get your blood flowing better.
Avoid Too Much Caffeine
Shift work can make you feel tired, even if, technically, you’re working the same number of hours as you would if you had a standard day job. That’s because the circadian rhythm, the body’s internal clock, starts producing different hormones at different times of the day, and when it’s nighttime, those hormones tell the body to get ready for sleep. Until you get used to your shifts, this might be a problem.
Don’t, however, consume too much caffeine to combat these tired feelings. If you do, you might find you become dependent on this natural stimulant, and when that happens, your body will never learn how to regulate itself. Some caffeine is fine, but try to drink water instead if you can, as it’s much better for you.
Increase Fiber Intake
Ok, now I have aboslutely ZERO science to back this up, just a large personal sampling size to verify and confirm that adding your fiber intake, particularly right before you go to bed (whether that’s at 9p or 6am) will dramatically help improve your overall wellbeing. I found that when I added fiber before bed, my body clock changed much more quickly and the side effects of digestive problems common with shift workers were eliminated. So, if you’re a shift worker, try adding some fiber to the mix and see what you think! (and definitely let me know!)