Healthy Shift Workers: Why It’s Not All About The Food On Your Plate.

Despite studying nutritional medicine and working shift work for over 20 years, one of the things I’ve learnt along the way is that becoming a “healthy shift worker” is not all about the food.

Food is important – absolutely.

In fact it’s essential that we eat good, wholesome nutritious food to help nurture our bodies against the debilitating effects of fatigue and tiredness.

However eating lots of fruits and vegetables is not going to make other issues in our lives disappear.

By this I mean it’s not going to fix broken relationships; it’s not going to improve our finances; and it’s certainly not going to boost our cardiovascular system if we’re leading a sedentary lifestyle.

All these ‘other issues’ – combined with having to work 24/7, add to our stress levels and end up weakening our immune system (the body’s natural ability to ward off infection and disease) to a point where our defences become compromised and we become sick.

In a nutshell if you’ve got too much stress going on in your life then you’re going to get sick – no question.

The big problem however, is when work and stress pile up on top of us (particularly shift workers), instead of finding ways to help reduce and resolve these ‘other issues’ we reach for food and/or alcohol to help relieve the pain.

But stuffing yourself with food for comfort and solace does not work.

It might make you feel good for a little while, but it’s only temporary. It doesn’t address or fix the root cause.

Essentially there comes a time when you need to look beyond the food on your plate and consider other forms of nourishment that feed you in different ways.

Try applying some of these simple techniques:

• Dedicate 15-20 minutes a day to some kind of physical activity. Exercise is the perfect antidepressant.
Seek financial advice if you’re having difficulties trying to make ends meet.
• Take up a hobby or do something creative that really feeds your soul and makes your heart sing.
Smooth out tense relationships. Sometimes it’s just better to forgive and move on.
Clear your head of negative, mindless chatter – yoga and/or meditation is great for this.
Cultivate an optimistic outlook on life because it’s very tiring being negative all of the time.

And remember … don’t worry be happy!


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