Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 15, 2021

15 Tips to Manage Shift Work and Your Quality of Life

15 Tips to Manage Shift Work and Your Quality of Life

It’s no secret that shift work schedules can take a toll on your physical well-being, emotional state, and your mental health. In industries that require 24-hour-services or work weeks that operate around 12-hour shift rotations, there can still be some resistance when bouncing from week after week[1].

Over time, the hobbies you once loved may get pushed to the side and burnouts may creep in, resulting in emotions of disconnect, isolation, and possibly unfulfillment.

Changing your lifestyle is challenging but achievable. Like most of the other things in life, it’s the act of balance that genuinely affects the quality of your life.

Here are 15 tips to enhance your quality of life when shift work may be weighing you down.

1. Discover What’s Working for You

First, ask yourself which parts of your routine are already working for you.

Recently, I have come to realize that I’m much more of a morning person than I am a night owl. I write better, my focus is clear, and I feel as if I’m working at my optimal level. Discovering this was a game-changer and has helped me grasp an understanding of how to show up physically and mentally at work.

A good starting place is taking notice of the small things that work and don’t work for you:

  • Does coffee actually make me crash when I start my shift at 11 p.m.?
  • How cluttered is my mind when I go to sleep after work versus running some of my errands first?
  • I’m missing another family function; how am I feeling at work and do I always feel this way?

Noticing these small details can enhance the overall quality of your life when you have a job that relies on shift work.

2. Take a Mental Health Day

Burnouts happen to the best of us, and even the most successful people face them.

Advertising

Everyone goes through a period of complete mental and physical exhaustion, but there are always signs leading up to a burn out, including lack of motivation, decreased satisfaction, and health problems. Taking a mental health day can help.

Shift work can be a stressful thing, especially when working hours that cause problems with your circadian rhythms, and giving your mind the relaxation and self-care that it deserves will help you make clear and healthier decisions.

3. Spend Minimal Time on Social Media

When you’re working odd hours of the day, it may be difficult to stray away from social media – the digital and interactive platforms that keep you connected with the “outside” world.

Engaging in social media is also an act of balance, and indulging in ample amounts of blue light and diving into the rabbit hole of scrolling will not only exhaust you mentally but may leave you feeling disconnected from everyone.

The digital world will always be there. Don’t forget to make time to connect with the real world, too.

4. Invest in an Eye Pillow

In reality, it’s not the morning caffeine boost that gets your day going – it’s the sleep you received the night before. Insufficient sleep can leave you feeling unfocused and affects the way you get your day started[2].

The Risks of Shift Work – Blue Block Glasses

    Eye pillows are great for those who might have sleep problems, as the essential oils infused in the silky fabric can help alleviate tension, stress, and help you achieve quality sleep.

    5. Schedule “Me” Time Every Day

    As a number, 24 hours may seem large. However, add in your 8-hour work day, everyday tasks, commuting, and other life obligations, and it might be hard to squeeze in an hour just for yourself.

    Advertising

    Spending one hour by yourself and with yourself can shift the overall quality of your life. Whether it be a designating time to indulge in a book, bake a dish, free-write, or play an instrument, this is a time for you to spend it selfishly.

    6. Create Goals

    The key here is to create goals, not a laundry list of things to do.

    Curate a list of local events you want to attend on the weekend or make it a goal to run a 5K. Consider your goals to be things that ignite those emotions of excitement, adventure, and fun. This can help you overcome the dullness or overwhelm of shift work.

    7. Take a Moment to Slow Down

    Shift-work can drain you physically, which means you must listen to your body. Oftentimes, we get lost when we’re on the go. We take our meals, our coffees, and even important conversations while we’re constantly up and running. Take some time to breathe and slow down.

    8. Set Expectations With Your Employer

    It’s about communicating with your employer and setting those expectations you can realistically meet. Sometimes shift workers go the extra mile and stay behind after work, or they end up picking up extra shifts when needed.

    Realistically, are you going the extra mile, or are your employers getting too dependent? If it’s the latter, it’s time to draw some boundary lines.

    If you have a family and you need to be home at a certain time, ask your employer to honor it. If there’s a yoga class you’ve been committed to on a weekly basis that keeps you grounded and recharged, stay committed to it.

    Setting those expectations can help bring control back into your life in the long term.

    9. Create a Routine

    Establishing a set routine can alleviate unnecessary stress, even if you’re sleeping during the day or working early morning shifts. After a long day at work, the last thing you probably would want to be doing is stressing over what daily tasks need to be completed.

    Advertising

    Set a designated day for laundry, grocery shopping, and other tasks that need to get done on a weekly basis.

    10. Meal Prep for the Week

    Eating healthy is one crucial factor that affects your quality of life, but taking control of what goes into your body gives you that conscious awareness of what you are really consuming.

    It’s no secret that meal prepping is no easy task, especially when shift work has you exhausted. Instead, think of the benefits it could provide – freeing up mental capacity for the week, building a healthy and accountability relationship with yourself, and saving you money[3].

    11. Do Something Creative

    Even for those who believe they don’t have a creative bone in their body, every single person in the world has a imagination unique to themselves.

    Creativity does not always have to come in the form of art, but also in the mess of baking or the rhythm when you dance.

    12. Surround Yourself With Nature

    When was the last time you stood barefoot on a damp patch of grass after the morning rain or ran your fingers through the soft grains of sand at the beach?

    When was the last time you closed your eyes and listened to the birds chirp or the leaves rustle against the wind?

    There’s another world outside of the physical world we live in when we’re at work, and surrounding yourself with nature reminds you of that.

    13. Reflect

    Although shift work can have you bouncing back and forth during odd hours of the day, there’s that opportunity to sit and reflect during these times.

    Advertising

    If you work at night, you have the chance to sit and reflect when the world is sleeping, which can actually be the quietest time to clear your mind.

    14. Get Active

    Physical activity is more vital than some people give it credit. Spending a portion of your day moving your body can help get those endorphins going and have you feeling ready to conquer the day or release the tension in your body.

    15. Make Time for the People You Love

    With shift work, there may be times that you are missing out on many of life’s events that are going on in your inner circle – dinner parties, happy hours, or hiking trips.

    The positive thing about working unconventional hours is that it gives you the time to reflect on the handful of people who are the most important to you and how you want to spend your time with them.

    Maybe it’s not about going to dinner parties with your friends from high school that brings you happiness, but meeting up with your gym buddy for a quick run instead. Use your time the way you want and with the people you want to spend it with.

    Final Thoughts

    Although shift work can be emotionally and physically draining, use it as a learning opportunity to get to know yourself. When was the last time you got to dive deep to get to know the person you are and who you have become?

    Not everything has to be goal-oriented, and sometimes regaining the quality of your life means exploring the little things.

    More on Dealing With Shift Work

    Featured photo credit: Luis Melendez via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Akina Chargualaf

    Akina Chargualaf is an entrepreneur, writer, and the content creator of travel and personal development blog Finding Fifth.

    How to Get Your Life Back on Track When Things Are Out of Control How to Stop Dwelling on the Past and Move on for Good Why It’s Never Too Late to Change Your Life and Live Differently How to Not Be Sad When It Feels Like Everything Is Going Wrong 15 Tips to Manage Shift Work and Your Quality of Life

    Trending in Restore Energy

    1 8 Best Natural Energy Drinks For An Instant Energy Boost 2 What Is Fish Oil Good For And Can It Give You Energy? 3 3 Types Of Energy Drinks And How Effective They Are 4 Coffee Vs Energy Drinks: Why Coffee Gives You A Better Boost 5 5 Best Guided Morning Meditation for Energy And Motivation

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Published on February 26, 2021

    8 Best Natural Energy Drinks For An Instant Energy Boost

    8 Best Natural Energy Drinks For An Instant Energy Boost

    Need an energy boost? Don’t reach for that soft drink! Sure, the sugar and caffeine might make you feel more energized, but that feeling is only a temporary spike in blood sugar. When it wears off, you’ll crash—and feel even worse than before!

    The good news is that there are plenty of natural energy drinks that can ramp up your energy levels without spiking your blood sugar. That means no energy crash and no empty calories. Many of these drinks can even be made at home, so you can easily avoid the added sugars and artificial ingredients.

    Here are eight of the best natural energy drinks you can try (and make) for yourself at home.

    1. Kombucha

    Kombucha is a fermented tea made with a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). Kombucha has a long list of health properties: B vitamins, glucuronic acid (a detoxifier), and loads of antioxidant-rich polyphenols. But what kombucha is best known for is its probiotic bacteria and acetic acid, which have been shown to boost energy levels.[1]

    Probiotics play a huge role in energy production. Studies suggest that by improving the balance of healthy bacteria in your gut, your “friendly” bacteria will be better able to break down the nutrients in the food you eat.[2] This means you’ll get a natural energy boost from eating the right foods!

    Acetic acid has even been shown to increase your metabolism, which means you’ll be using calories from food more efficiently. Acetic acid is the only short-chain fatty acid to reach the systemic circulation in significant amounts where it provides energy for muscles and other tissues. It’s also non-insulinogenic, which means it won’t give you a blood sugar spike.

    Advertising

    You can brew kombucha yourself at home by obtaining a SCOBY, or you can buy bottled kombucha in a store. Just make sure you buy the real stuff![3]

    2. Oolong Tea

    Poor energy levels can be reversed with a delicious cup of oolong tea. This ancient Chinese beverage is also known as “black dragon tea,” and it’s packed with catechins similar to those found in green tea. These catechins work by promoting your body’s ability to break down fat, which can boost energy levels.

    Studies suggest that the catechins in oolong help your body to use fat cells for energy, while the mild caffeine content can give you a quick boost for getting through the day. It’s also been found that drinking full-strength oolong tea may increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation by 12%, which means you’ll be better able to obtain energy from food. It may even help with weight loss![4]

    You can make oolong tea with tea bags or loose leaves. Try blending it with green tea for an added boost!

    3. Green Tea

    Famous the world over, green tea is a powerhouse of health benefits and is often included in the list of beverages used by athletes for extra energy. The caffeine content of green tea is mostly responsible for its energizing benefits. Studies have shown that a regular cup or two of green tea can boost your metabolism and maintain healthy energy levels throughout the day.[5]

    Moreover, green tea is believed to increase fat-burning by encouraging your fat cells to release fat, then stimulating your liver’s ability to convert that body fat into energy. This is particularly helpful for weight loss! Try drinking green tea throughout the day to keep your metabolism ticking and your brain active. A cup or two before a workout could also contribute to your endurance and stamina.

    Advertising

    4. Kvass

    Kvass is another fermented food, like kombucha—but it’s made from rye bread.[6] This traditional Slavic and Baltic drink is actually known as “black bread,” and it’s still enjoyed in many Eastern European countries.

    Kvass can be flavored with fruits, such as strawberries and raisins, or with herbs, such as mint. Traditionally, kvass is served unfiltered with its natural yeast content, which adds to its unique flavor. It’s a good source of B vitamins, which help your body produce energy. Kvass also contains lactic acid and simple sugars, which can be helpful for a quick boost.[7]

    Like kombucha, the fermenting process of kvass allows for beneficial bacteria that may improve your digestion. This means you’ll be better able to absorb the energy content of foods you eat. Kvass can also be made with beetroot, which boosts its nutritional content and has excellent benefits you’re your gut microbiome. Beets are a good source of folate, vitamin C, potassium, iron, and phytonutrients. These are made more bioavailable when fermented into kvass!

    5. Matcha

    Matcha is one of Japan’s most revered beverages. It’s made by crushing green tea leaves into a fine, bright green powder before being mixed in with hot or cold water. This process helps to retain many of the natural antioxidants and other nutrients in the leaves.[8]

    The matcha tea bushes are grown in areas out of sunlight, which delays photosynthesis and slows the growth of the plant. The result is a higher concentration of chlorophyll, a powerful detoxifier, and a good energy source.

    Drinking matcha means you’re drinking the whole leaf—all the natural caffeine and antioxidants. The nutritional content is thought to be almost 10 times greater than traditionally steeped green tea! Best of all, matcha provides the energy that comes on gently, rather than the “hit” that coffee supplies.

    Advertising

    6. Coconut Water

    Coconut water may be 95% water, but it’s still a great source of energizing minerals. Coconut water is the clear liquid found in green coconuts, and it’s a naturally sweet and refreshing drink.

    Coconut water is a much healthier alternative to sports drinks—and contains more than 10 times the potassium! Potassium helps to maintain a healthy balance of electrolytes, which is essential before and during exercise as it has less sodium—the main electrolyte you lose with sweat—than most sport’s drinks. The magnesium in coconut water also supports normal energy production and reduces cramping so you’ll be able to keep exercising for longer.[9]

    Most importantly, coconut water has fewer carbohydrates than many commercial sports beverages, which is important for proper rehydration after exercise.

    7. Yerba Mate

    Yerba mate is a traditional drink made from the dried leaves of Ilex paraguariensis, a type of holly native to South America. It’s a very social drink and famous throughout South America.

    Yerba mate can boost your energy levels in much the same way as coffee but without the caffeine jitters! In fact, the energizing effects of yerba mate are described as gentle and calm. Mate drinkers report that they feel more alert but don’t experience the crash that coffee can produce.

    It’s for this reason that many athletes use yerba mate to enhance their physical performance before a workout or event. It’s also believed to be helpful to those suffering from mental or physical fatigue or chronic fatigue syndrome.

    Advertising

    It’s also mentally energizing—yerba mate enhances memory, boosts mood, and increases concentration. It’s said to make you feel more motivated and be productive by stimulating the production of the neurotransmitter dopamine.[10]

    8. Carrot Juice

    Carrots are a fantastic source of beta-carotene—the provitamin A carotenoid which your body can quickly convert into vitamin A. Beta carotene is a powerful antioxidant that not only protects your body from free radicals but also bolsters energy levels.

    Vitamin A plays many roles in growth and development, and it’s especially important in maintaining energy. Research has shown that vitamin A is crucial for assisting with daily energy production and physical activity.[11] Our cells create energy by first creating adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy-carrying molecule found in the cells of all living things. To do this, our cells first need sufficient vitamin A. Low levels of vitamin A will directly affect your body’s ATP production, causing your energy levels to dwindle.

    Carrot juice is one of the healthiest veggie-based drinks out there, and it has much lower sugar than fruit juices! It’s also super easy to make at home.

    Final Thoughts

    You don’t have to consume artificial energy drinks to get the energy boost you need. Try out these eight natural energy drinks that are packed full of micronutrients to keep you healthy, active, and energized. You just have to put in a little more effort in preparing them, but I guarantee it’s worth it.

    More Natural Energy Drinks

    Featured photo credit: Raimond Klavins via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next