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4 Things You Should Know About Shift Work

4 Things You Should Know About Shift Work

With summer nearly at a close, many 20-something’s will find themselves either returning to class or will be watching their post-graduation festivities come to an end. In either case, a large portion of them will find themselves starting or searching for employment. With the unprecedentedly cluttered job market, many will find themselves accepting employment as shift-workers.

For full-time employees, these jobs, typically span eight hour periods, five days a week. Though some are lucky enough to land standard working hours (9 a.m.-5 p.m.), some others will be forced to compromise for much less convenient blocks of time. For those who must weather the storm of shift work, here are 4 things that may help you to mentally prepare for the life adjustment.

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1. Your sleep cycle will be erratic.

Unfortunately, with the way that many of these shift jobs are set-up, there’s never any actual guarantee that your schedule will remain the same. Sure, there are ways to attempt to enforce a set schedule, however in the interest of making as much capital as possible – you’d be doing yourself a disservice by limiting your availability. In these types of jobs, many employers are looking for people who can work whenever needed. Open availability ensures that you will, for the most part, receive the maximum amount of hours each week. Because these jobs are primarily “paid by the hour,” open availability will be the most beneficial for your check.

Though you can maximize your profit by being the aforementioned, ideal candidate, this also means that your day-to-day schedule could change weekly. Some weeks will be a mixed bag while others may be more consistent. The point to remember here is that there is no guarantee of a set structure. Because of this, your free-time and your sleep period will be contingent on the requirements of the job, and will necessitate constant adjustments.

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2. Your social life will be directly affected.

The free-wheeling or otherwise spontaneous nature of your “hangouts” will be limited. Assuming that you hold a full-time position in a shift job, your social life may dramatically change. The truth of the matter is that nobody wants to work the weekends. If you’re starting at the bottom of the shift-worker totem-pole, the chances are that you will be stuck working a solid eight-hour shift on most Fridays and Saturdays.

Sure, it’s possible to avoid this by mandating those days off, but to reiterate, this can affect how much you make each week, and in more drastic cases it can prevent you from being hired at all. Accepting the terms that will most benefit your bank account means your social life will be strictly confined to your days off, or before and after the times that you are scheduled to work.

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3. It can be depressing.

If you were one of those fortunate enough to skate by on minimal income, being suddenly thrust into the real world where finances are now your own concern, can be a bit of a shock. Conforming to the sporadic work life of an hourly job can be a downer. However, it is imperative to maintain the mindset that you are working toward self-reliance. Rather than fall into the pit of depression and self-pity, build a weekly plan for yourself; one that works within the parameters of your work and life schedule.

By governing your week a bit more sternly, you’ll be able to make time each day for the things that truly matter to you. Not only is this important for your mental health, but it will stave off any disheartening emotions, as well as keep you productive, both in and out of the workplace. Remember, it’s important to make time for yourself, as well as your responsibilities.

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4. But, it’s a step in the right direction.

As long as you keep these key points in mind, surviving the disorderly experience of shift work will become easier to cope with. After some assimilation to the nature of this type of workplace, you’ll seamlessly regulate and learn to live a happy and fulfilling life alongside it.

Whether you plan on moving up in the company, or if this is simply a means to survive, rest easy in the fact that it’s a step in the right direction. In many places, stable employment is hard to come by, and a decent salary can be more difficult to find. Dream job or not, you’re a productive member of society, and that is nothing, if not an amazing thing. Stay positive and keep moving forward.

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Antwan Crump

Novelist, blogger, essayist, podcaster.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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