As shift workers we often feel like we’re on a constant uphill battle trying to achieve optimum health. The irregular hours, disruptive sleep patterns and work-related stress place an enormous amount of strain on our bodies every single day.
But what price do you place on your shift work health?
Many shift workers say they take good care of themselves, but are you really? Are you really doing absolutely everything possible to take care of your health?
Take a moment to think about your answers to the following questions.
1. Do you avoid buying ‘health’ food products because you think they’re too expensive?
2. Have you chosen not to join a gym, health club or yoga class because you believe they charge too much?
3. What about those dancing classes you’ve always wanted to sign up for but keep saying to yourself you can’t really afford to do them?
If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, then it might be time to re-evaluate.
Healthy food is not expensive – it’s how you perceive it to be.
When Cyclone Yasi wiped out 70% of the banana plantations in North Queensland last year, the price of bananas went up – no question. But even though a banana cost $1.50 at the time I still bought one because it was cheaper than buying a chocolate bar or a bag of chips.
And for a shift worker who is starved of energy, eating a banana is always going to be a much healthier and better option than eating a chocolate bar or a bag of chips.
The same goes for buying fruit or vegetables. Even though I do try and buy things when they are in season (you know they are going to be fresh this way as well) – I don’t NOT buy them just because the price is higher than normal.
Why? Because I know my shift work body can function so much better if I provide it with the right kind of fuel – that is, the right kind of nutrition.
The same can be said about exercise. You don’t have to join a gym or class to enjoy the benefits of exercise. There are lots of outside activities that are free, but sometimes joining a club or signing up for a class is a great way to meet new people and you are more likely to work that bit harder than if you were exercising on your own.
So never underestimate the value of your shift work health.
Many people spend their whole lives eating all of the wrong foods and doing all of the wrong things because at the time they appear to be the ‘cheaper’ and easier option. But if you consistently abuse your all-ready-struggling shift worker body with bad food choices and little exercise it will eventually catch up with you when you get older – guaranteed.
“Those who think they have no time for healthy eating, will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” – Edward Stanley
Shift work health is all about prevention. Spend your hard earned money taking care of yourself now, so that you don’t have to spend a fortune correcting it when you’re older.