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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 August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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