As a person who gets up in the middle of the night to go into work, has anyone ever accused you of being moody? Do you often suffer from mood swings or from feeling down in the dumps?
I’d be fairly confident at some point in time your answer would be ‘yes’.
So if this is you – then welcome to the Wonderful World of Shift Work! Or more precisely, the side effects of having to work irregular hours.
Because when you’re running on next to no sleep, the chances are you’re not going to always feel bright and bubbly and have a massive smile on your face.
I know I certainly don’t.
I’ve had many days and weeks where I’ve felt tired, moody, and depressed. Quite literally you just don’t want to talk to anyone!
In fact when I’ve started at 0330am – I try and keep some distance between myself and my husband (or he from me), because I’ve been known to get a little “snappy” when I’m feeling some-what sleep deprived.
And it’s not intentional. It’s just how it is.
No-one wants to be moody or feel down in the dumps but when you work shift work. It’s just sometimes hard NOT to be this way.
The only problem is that some of our non-shift working friends and family don’t understand why we feel this way. They can’t comprehend why we’re not always happy and displaying an “everything is wonderful” feeling – particularly if we’ve been up since 4am.
But that’s because they’ve probably had 4 hours or more sleep than you or I.
So how can you eliminate shift work moodiness or from feeling down in the dumps?
My Top 3 Tips are as follows:
1. Recognise and acknowledge when you’re feeling moody or down. Sometimes it can be beneficial to just keep to yourself when you’re not in a good frame of mind. That way you’re less likely to share any negative feelings or instigate a conflicting situation amongst family or friends.
2. Get outside in the fresh air and sunshine. There is no better way to clear your head and feel better about yourself than by getting outside into the fresh air and sunshine. The open space and sense of freedom can do wonders to your mental health and well-being.
3. Do some form of exercise – anything that will help distract you from your thoughts. Endorphins are the feel good hormone released into your system the moment you begin to move your body so it’s a win-win situation for both your mind and body.
So understand there are many side effects of having to work shift work.
Moodiness, depression and feeling down are just some of the negative impacts associated with working irregular hours. And even though it’s near impossible to eliminate them completely, there are some relatively simple things that you can do which will help to reduce the impacts.
It’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of – in fact I’d happily present you with a Gold Medal if you were to tell me that you’d never felt moody or depressed at some point in time when you work shift work. It’s all about recognising the times when you do feel this way – to manage it the best way you can.
For me it’s keeping a wide-berth from anyone and anything – including my husband!