Orange, Almond and Chia Smoothie:

A Great Energy Smoothie For Night Shift!

What’s great about this smoothie?

  • Almonds contain healthy monounsaturated fats, protein, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc and vitamin E.  The proteins and healthy fats provide a slow source of energy release, and also help to slow down the release of simple carbohydrates or sugars into the bloodstream.  This helps to keep our blood sugar levels steady thereby reduce sugar cravings – something almost every shift worker struggles with thanks to ongoing sleep deprivation.
  • The oranges are bursting with immune boosting benefits including vitamins B and C, along with Flavonoids, Folic Acid, Carotenoids, Potassium and Dietary Fibre.  Vitamin C is also critical for adrenal function, one of our stress regulating glands which bear the brunt of a sleep-deprived lifestyle.
  • The Chia seeds are also high in protein and fibre, both of which help to keep us feeling full and have been shown to aid weight loss.


“I Can’t Do This Anymore!”

The Day I Turned My Shift Working Life Around.


To anyone who has ever worked shift work before, you will know how incredibly tough and at times downright exhausting it can be.  In fact, I remember coming home from work one day after an extremely stressful day (on top of it being my fourth early shift in a row), taking my shoes off and proceeding to curl up into the foetal position on the floor in the spare bedroom and saying to my husband – “I can’t do this anymore”.

I’d reached a point of burn out. I was physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted.

Every muscle in my body ached from top to toe, my sleep-deprived brain felt completely drained, and I became overwhelmed with emotion when my husband wrapped his supportive arms around me triggering an outpouring of tears down my face.

I felt completely and utterly lost.  I loved my job, but due to circumstances beyond my control – the dynamics of the workplace had changed.

A change in management had brought about changes to our work practices, including our rosters – but without any consultation with the staff.  This resulted in over 100 resignations over an 18 month period, from a workforce of 300.

Quite simply, despite many years of service, my workmates had reached a point where they’d become burnt out and had enough.

It was an incredibly emotional time – and one that I will never forget.

A stressful workplace is hard enough to navigate through at the best of times, but when it’s coupled with ongoing sleep deprivation thanks to our 24/7 lifestyle, it can wear us down to our very core.

Nonetheless throwing in the towel and quitting my job at the time for me, was not an option.  Like most young couples we had a mortgage and bills to pay, and despite the ongoing sleep-deprivation and changes which were occurring in my workplace at the time, I still really loved my job and wasn’t ready to hang up my alarm clock for good – just yet.

In fact, all I really needed was someone to tell me “I know it’s hard Audra, but you’re going to be OK.”

But there was no-one. No-one to put my mind at rest and tell me that despite the rigours of working 24/7 – I was going to be OK.

Perhaps you can relate to these feelings too? (more…)

Fatigue and Tiredness:

Why We Can't Always Blame Shift Work!

tiredbookI think we can all agree that feelings of constant fatigue, tiredness, sleepiness and drowsiness certainly comes with the territory when working 24/7. However whilst a good part of this may ring true, it’s important to understand that shift work may not be the only reason that’s causing you to feel like a deflated balloon.

What do I mean by this? Well as I approach my 12 month anniversary since accepting a voluntary redundancy from my shift working job – a position which encompassed over half my life, I was kind of expecting to feel like an Energizer bunny on steroids soon after hanging up my alarm clock for good.

But a funny thing happened.

I didn’t reach that Energizer Bunny status. In fact I didn’t even come close.

In fact these last 12 months have been an interesting journey as I learn more and more about my own health whilst at the same time, embarking on a degree in Nutritional Medicine.

As I’ve since discovered – fatigue can be a funny thing.

When we work shift work we learn to accept that it is what it is, we never query that our tiredness could be attributed to anything other than ongoing sleep deprivation.

And why should we? It’s fairly obvious that sleep is a major contributor, but what if it wasn’t and how would we know?


Snake Bites, Shark Attacks And Shift Work – What On Earth Do They Have In Common?

First aid kit on a hikeIf you were near a television, radio or just surfing the internet yesterday you would have definitely heard about the recent shark attack in South Africa on Australian surfing champion Mick Fanning.

Like most of us around the world, as we watched the terrifying footage unfold on the screen, you couldn’t help but think how incredibly lucky he was. To come that close to a great white shark – one of the world’s most deadly sharks and walk away without a scratch is nothing short of a miracle.

And it got me thinking.

As it just so happened, I was attending a First Aid course yesterday renewing my certification, a requirement for my University course next semester.

And as I sat there listening to my First Aid Trainer go through some of the various scenarios which would warrant the need for first aid, it made me think more deeply how in life – so many things can go wrong.

As we all know – accidents can happen anywhere and at any time.

We can simply be in the wrong place at the wrong time

As was the case yesterday for Mick Fanning.

Of course certain events can cause a variety of injuries. They may be something minor such as a first degree burn or an allergic reaction, to something more life threatening as in the case of a car accident, or a near drowning at the beach.

Whether these events are preventable or not, we can inadvertently end up being a casualty of them ourselves – whether we like it or not.

And whilst I don’t wish this upon anyone, there may be times when we need basic emergency life support, to be given CPR, or perhaps even a shot of anti-venom if bitten by a deadly snake which can often be the case here in Australia!

But what about all the preventable stuff?

What about all of those things which are lifestyle induced but can cause us sickness, ill-health or even death.  Those diseases that are brought on by a poor lifestyle – lack of sleep, exercise, a poor diet, smoking, alcoholic abuse etc.  These include heart attacks, obesity, type II diabetes, and gastrointestinal diseases to name a few.

Because the scientific research pinpoints shift workers are at a high risk of developing these types of conditions thanks to our chronic sleep deprived lifestyle.

However as Dr Carmel Harrington points out in her book ‘The Sleep Diet’, association does not mean causation. Whilst there can be a myriad of factors, just because a person sleeps less doesn’t mean that it’s the cause of their weight gain or obesity.

In most cases there are many other factors involved such as:

  • Being so exhausted that we’re less likely to be organised. This makes us more likely to choose high sugared and highly refined carbohydrates as a way to satisfy our hunger.
  • Being so tired that we’re less likely to undertake regular exercise.
  • Being awake more so more likely to eat more.
  • Feeling so burnt out that it impairs our cognitive function thereby increasing our likelihood of making poor decisions.
  • Having no energy or willpower to look after ourselves properly.

Our haphazard rosters undeniably make it much harder (and more likely that we will set ourselves up for developing chronic disease), but that’s even more reason as to why we need to take care of ourselves.

By making ourselves more resilient , by nurturing our immune system with an array of nourishing whole foods, undertaking regular exercise and allowing our bodies the chance to rest and recover whenever we possibly can.

At the end of the day, whilst we may not be able to prevent certain accidents from happening to us (such as a shark attack or a snake bite), we can certainly implement simple actions into our daily lives that will go a long way in helping to prevent ourselves from developing one of these chronic disease later in life – and that is definitely a good thing.

Standing All Day? The Perfect Solution To Recharge Your Weary Legs and Feet.

Young woman relaxing on hardwood floorI’m sure we all agree that shift work can be physically, emotionally and mentally exhausting.  We can definitely blame continual sleep deprivation as the reason for our zombie existence.

But what about when you have to stand on your feet all day long?

Because there are a lot of shift working industries that require their employees to be standing for long durations at a time.  Some of which may include flight attendants, doctors, nurses, security staff – the list is endless.  However the downside of this is that it has the potential to make you feel even more tired and exhausted.

So if your shift working job requires you to stand on your feet all day long, then I’ve got the perfect solution for you.

It’s called “Putting Your Feet Up The Wall” pose, or in yoga language Viparita Karani.

Whilst our bodies are not designed to be sitting all day long either, standing for long durations at a time can be quite tiring causing our legs and feet to ache leading to a build-up of tension in other parts of the body.

So as a regular yogi, this is exactly why I love Viparita Karani.

This restorative yoga pose is perfect to do after work (or even at work during a break in your shift), as it has so many benefits, particularly after a busy and hectic day running around on your feet.  And the best thing is that you can do it from the comfort of your own home.  You just need a wall, which thankfully most homes do have!

Benefits of Putting Your Feet Up The Wall

  • Helps to calm a busy mind
  • Reduces swelling (oedema) in the legs and feet
  • Helps to relieve back and shoulder tension
  • Boosts the immune system by stimulating the lymphatic system to remove toxins from the body
  • Relieves stress and tension in the legs and feet
  • Helps to slow down our breathing, and calm our nervous system
  • Can also help to improve sleep and digestive complaints

How To Do The Viparita Karani pose:

  1. Place a folded blanket or yoga mat about 1 foot from the wall.
  2. Sit sideways against the wall with knees bent.
  3. Slowly lower your back and head onto the floor and rotate your buttocks around so they touch the wall.
  4. Lift and lean both legs up the wall and relax feet and ankles.
  5. Place a cushion under head and/or neck for support.
  6. Let arms rest palms up or down about a foot away from body.
  7. Cover eyes with eye pillow or small towel.
  8. Breathe slowly and deeply and rest for at 10-15 minutes.

Or better still, watch this short 6 minute video from Yoga With Adriene to show you exactly how!

So go on, take the time to put your feet up and relax – because you definitely deserve it.