A Shift Working Christmas: How To Make The Most Of It!

Doctors ChristmasIf you are one of the ‘lucky ones’ rostered to work Christmas day this year then it can be pretty tough, particularly for those with young families, as everyone wants to witness the unwrapping frenzy of all of those goodies left under the tree by Santa the night before.

But remember Christmas day is what you make of it – it really is.

Whilst you may not be home for Christmas, spending time with others is not really a bad thing.  In fact for some, Christmas can be a lonely time and coming into work can actually be a good distraction.

I for one enjoyed spending many years with my “Airline Family” on Christmas day – it just comes with the territory when you sign up to work irregular hours.

But is it really the end of the world? Are you really missing out on all of the fun and festivities of Christmas day?

Not a chance!  Because the day is what you make of it.

If you bring your Christmas spirit into work (along with some of those naughty Christmas treats to share) – you can actually have lots of fun joking around with your work mates. After all, when everyone is in the same boat there’s no point whining and complaining about it!

In fact sometimes being a shift worker is a really good thing because you can arrive at a Christmas function after work, and just sit down and eat. You didn’t have to spend all of the morning cooking and preparing everything because you were quite literally – at work.  If you don’t like cooking (but you love eating) – then this is a huge bonus!

So if you’re working Christmas day this year, try and bring a bit of Christmas spirit into work.

The holiday season is all about catching up with friends, family and loved ones, but when you work 24/7 there are going to be times when you will have to be at work, so you may as well make the most of it.

Just grab a Santa hat, eat lots of cake and you’ll be getting into the spirit of Christmas in next to no time.

P.S. – And remember, the diet can start next week!

Shift Work Jobs. Are You Really Cut Out For One?

shift work jobAs I write this post, somewhere in the world right now it’s the middle of the night and even though most are sound asleep and tucked into bed, there will be someone, somewhere – working.

In fact there are literally millions of people on the planet who work in some kind of job involving shift work.

There are also many who work in roles that are not technically classified as shift work, but due to the extra hours placed on employees to get a job done, many employers expect their employees to stay back and work after hours – many of whom are unpaid.

The sad reality is we are becoming a society that never stops.

24/7 is becoming the new 9 to 5.

So if you’re new to shift work or about to begin a shift working job, have you thought deeply about what you’re about to embark on? That is, whether you’re really cut out for working irregular hours.

Because shift work is hard, and it’s certainly not for everyone.

I remember my first shift working job interview (at the tender age of 21) was for a Passenger Service Agent position working at the international airport.  The 3 person panel interviewers did not mention anything to me about how working irregular hours was going to impact on my personal health and well-being.

And it does. Enormously.

Of course it’s not all doom and gloom.  It’s about being prepared.

Here’s a few ideas to help get you started.

1. Be very organised. Plan your meals in advance and buy your groceries accordingly. So many shift workers experience ill health and weight gain soon after starting shift work because they feel too tired to eat properly. Always remember that the fastest and most convenient way to acquire food is not usually the healthiest.

2. Keep your friends and family informed.  Let them know when you’re working irregular hours because unexpected visitors and phone calls don’t help an already disrupted sleeping regime.

3. Keep your body moving. In many cases, exercise is the first thing to be given the flick when starting a new shift working job as your energy levels tend to flounder. The key thing to remember is that exercise will provide you with more energy, whereas no exercise will only escalate your fatigue.

So if you’re new to shift work and unsure whether it’s going to be right for you, give yourself a fighting chance by taking extra good care of your health. Make it your number one priority so that your transition from non-shift worker to shift worker is a much more enjoyable and easier one.

Two Words That Will Dramatically Improve Your Shift Work Health.

If you’re desperately trying to find a way to improve your shift work health and you’re going round and round in circles going nowhere – then I’ve got two words for you.

Don’t worry I’m not going to swear at you – it’s called Taking Responsibility.

Because despite all of the things that frustrate you about your shift working job – for example the crazy and irregular hours that you work, taking responsibility is not only going to improve your shift work health – but your life as well.

You see five years ago I was in a bit of a rut. I was unhappy in my shift working job and my health was at an all-time low.

And then something happened.

A close friend of mine gave me a copy of a book called – The Success Principles: How To Get From Where You Are, To Where You Want To Be – by Jack Canfield.

Now at the time, the title of this book simply radiated with me. I read its contents like a woman possessed, but it was the first chapter that really struck a chord with me.

It was called – Taking 100% Responsibility for Your Life.

You see if you’re unhappy with your status quo right now, which is in your shift working job – then you need to do something about it.

That’s right – YOU.

You need to Take Responsibility for your actions, your attitude and your behaviours.

And nobody else can do this for you.

It’s about giving up all of your excuses, stop complaining and blaming others for your current circumstances.

One of my all time favourite quotes is from the late Jim Rohn …

“Your paycheck is not your employer’s responsibility, it’s your responsibility. Your employer has no control over your value, but you do.”

Pretty good don’t you think?

In fact I believe this quote is so good, I want you to read it again AND totally absorb the words.

“Your paycheck is not your employer’s responsibility, it’s your responsibility. Your employer has no control over your value, but you do.”

So whether you’re unhappy with your actual job, your lack of fitness or your weight, then you need to start changing your behaviour.

Whether it’s learning new skills, changing your diet, or exercising more frequently.

Because let’s be realistic here, sitting on the couch munching potato crisps after an early shift is not going to help you to lose weight. It’s only going to increase your weight and worse still, make you feel even more tired and fatigued than what you’re probably already feeling.

So start taking responsibility for your life. At the end of the day, your shift work health is not going to improve until you make the decision to do so.