Whether you’re a nurse or a driver, you’re going to potentially find yourself with less self-care than you need, we tend to give our jobs our all, and at times it may feel as though we are chasing our tails. But if you have an idea of the self-care you prefer, then intentionally making it happen is the next hurdle. So why is it that shift workers find it challenging to find time for self-care? And what can we do to rectify this? We all know how important it is to look after our mental health and we do our best, but here are some more ideas on how you can look after yourself, practice self-care, and still get the job done.
Taking time to rest
This may sound the most obvious thing to do. Still, if you want to avoid work-related injuries from tiredness and stress, and be at your best either for work, or for friends and family when you get home from work, then you need to rest when you can, of course, if your hours going to bed are different to everyone else’s, then buying blackout blinds, earplugs and eye mask may be a good idea for you to get a good rest. You could even treat yourself to some spa treatments. Also, possibly arrange for your children to be cared for while you’re resting. Once you’re back to feeling well-rested again, then you’ll have much more energy for the children. Win-win.
Quite often shift workers just grab food on the go, it’s the most convenient way, but not necessarily the healthiest option. Preparing healthy snacks and meals to take with you to work, and making sure that you are making good choices for yourself will enable you to have plenty of nutrients and energy while working. Using caffeine and sugar to get through a shift, is quite a common choice. But just remember that these are empty calories, with little nutrients, and can only bring you short bursts of energy. It may be a great idea to choose low GI foods and manage your energy levels effectively.
It may seem as though you don’t have any spare time with working and family commitments, but everyone can find the odd 10 minutes here and there, to do something that they enjoy doing. If you used to be good at drawing as a child, then why not buy yourself a little art set and get started? Alternatively spending time with your pets, listening to music, or even reading a simple book, are great ways in which you can relax your mind, this depends on how much spare time you have of course!
Shiftwork isn’t necessarily suitable for everyone, but if you just get on with it, and smile your way through a shift, just remember to look after yourself first and foremost, because if you’re pouring from an empty cup, then you are not going to be doing your best work. Just try and enjoy your time off you never know, you might just end up with a whole new hobby to work on in your spare time!