How to stay healthy when you work 24/7 has got to be the million dollar question asked by shift workers everywhere, because let’s face it – shift work is a really tough occupation.
And the harsh reality is that staff turnover within a workplace can be very high because it’s just that – really tough.
It’s tough on us physically, emotionally, and certainly psychologically.
So here’s my top 4 ways to stay healthy when you work 24/7:
1. First and foremost are you motivated to look after your health? Because if you’re not, then it’s going to be an uphill battle to achieve good health. You don’t want to just take care of your health for the sake of it – good health should be your number one priority.
Look for inspiration from other people, seek out those who are really healthy and ask them – “What are you doing that I’m not?”
2. Make sure you have a good network of supportive friends and family around you because working erratic hours can take a huge toll on our mental health. When you hang around people who are supportive, and are a little understanding and empathetic towards your sleep-deprived lifestyle, it can help to diminish those feelings of isolation and loneliness that often appear in those who have to work 24/7.
3. Eat healthy food – we hear this over and over again but eating healthy food is vital in order to maintain our health. Eat foods that are as close to nature as possible – that is, not refined or processed. A good variety of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables are loaded with macronutrients, minerals and phytochemicals which are going to help give your body a fighting chance to feel the best it can under the circumstances.
It’s also about listening to your body. If you eat something then feel awful afterwards that’s your body’s way of telling you – “Please don’t give me any more of that!”
4. Exercise – our bodies are designed to move. They are not built to sit on a chair all day, use elevators or sit for long periods in a car. In order to be healthy we have to move. Think back thousands of years ago when there were no motor vehicles, computers or lifts. We had to walk, stand or run to get from A to B.
So try not to give up and feel totally disillusioned when you work shift work. The harsh reality is that you’re never going to feel like an energizer bunny when you work irregular hours. The consistent lack of sleep will always prevent you from feeling 100%, but when you stress less and implement small changes into your life – your body will become much healthier as a result.