A 5-step guide to surviving the graveyard shift
Working the graveyard shift is not easy. It not only messes up with your health but affects your personal life too, completely ruining the work-life balance. The odd timings interfere with your internal body clock which is largely responsible for forcing the body to sleep in order to recuperate and stay on track.
Despite this well-known fact, there are many professionals who work while the world sleeps, like doctors, nurses, manufacturing workers, coders, security personnel and call center professionals. When working on the night shift you may experience lack of sleep and indulge in impulsive eating adding to your health woes.
However, everything is not so bleak. If working graveyard shift is your bread and butter, fear not. You can adapt to this way of work and at the same time find a way to manage your personal life, health and work.
Here are a few tips to build a good work-life balance while working the night shift.
Create and follow a strict schedule. Try to plan for the week ahead. You could begin by setting a specific time for running your errands, planning your meals and sticking to the time you decide to eat them, taking out time to wind down and complete other important tasks.
Having a picture of what to do before and after work and including that in your routine will help. At the same time, do not try to cram in too many things in your schedule. What you do and how you do is up to you but be religious and stick to it. All this helps in regulating your sleep patterns, saving energy and effectively using your waking hours.
A good sleeping pattern is key
Create a healthy sleeping pattern which involves sleeping and waking around the same time each day. Initially, working nights and sleeping during the day can be a little difficult to adjust to. That is why finding a fail-safe method of falling asleep during the day is important. This is helpful in not only maintaining good health but preventing stress and remaining energetic through your day. For example, you can ensure that your environment helps induce sleep. For that create a routine like listening to your favorite music or something as simple as pulling the curtains on your windows so that the room is dark enough for you to fall asleep.
Food is fuel
Lack of energy is one of the biggest problems that a person braving the night shift faces. Food is fuel to keep your body running at its best.
Plan your meals and eat at the same time every day of the week. Focus on eating a high-protein breakfast and say no to sugary drinks and junk food. Eat small meals instead of two or three large meals. Sleeping and eating right would help you work well during the graveyard shift.
Have a social life
Working the night shift means that often you are the only one free during the day when everyone else is working. But that does not mean you have to become an island unto yourself. In fact, you can use your evenings to socialize and catch up with friends with some intelligent time management. On some days, even if you’re hard-pressed to meet someone in person, you can always make a phone or video call. Remember, if you really want to stay in touch with someone, there is no such thing as a lack of time.
Maintain work-life balance
Your life is more important than your job. Yes, you need work to sustain yourself, but you still have a life apart from work. Keep unnecessary stress at bay by leaving work at the workplace. This will help you avoid burnout.
Since the lines between work and home tend to become blurred when you are working the third shift, it’s important to keep boundaries and maintain a healthy routine. Once that happens you will realize that even working this shift can be fruitful.