No matter how much you love your job, enduring a twelve hour shift is never an easy thing to do. With the increase in competition among desired career fields, the likelihood that you will eventually have to work long hours has greatly increased in the recent years. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help prepare your body and your mind for the long hours at work. Here are five great strategies to help you get through a twelve hour shift.
It is very important to keep a constant supply of energy flowing through your body, especially if you are very busy during your shift. Instead of eating one large meal that can weigh you down and make you feel tired afterwards, it is better to graze lightly throughout your shift. Keep health snacks such as granola bars, yogurt, assorted nuts, and raw fruit with you, and try to remember to eat something small once every half an hour. This will keep you energized throughout your long shift.
Our bodies require at least eight glasses of water a day to function at an optimal level, and a long shift is no time to neglect this. Sip slowly on water throughout your shift to keep your body hydrated and your mind alert. Slowly drinking the water will help your body to absorb it better and will decrease the number of bathroom breaks you need to take.
The worse thing that can happen during a long shift is to have a lot of down time. The less you have to do, the more bored you will be, and the more tired you will become. If there is no actual work to be done, look for busy work to do around the work environment. Organizing folders, restocking supplies, and cleaning appliances are all great ways to keep your hands busy and mind active while at work. They might not be the most interesting tasks you have ever done, but it will be much better than having nothing to do at all.
Get Plenty of Rest
The day and night before a long shift should be devoted to preparing your body for the next day. Eat several healthy meals to help your body stock up on nutrients, and make sure you get a good night’s sleep. Eliminating distractions while sleeping by turning off the TV, closing the windows and blinds, and asking anyone living with you not to disturb you after you have gone to bed. If possible, go to bed a couple hours early to get some additional rest before your long shift.
If you have a job where you are frequently required to work long shifts, it is a very good idea to take a daily multi-vitamin. This will make sure that you are still getting adequate nutrition even if you are not eating regular meals. Multi-vitamins will also help to increase your mental focus and decrease lethargy when taken on a regular basis. Even more importantly, they will help to prevent you from getting sick if you work in a healthcare environment where you are frequently around people who are ill.
It is very important to enter every twelve hour shift with a positive mindset and a good attitude, otherwise you will not only be making the experience unpleasant for yourself, but you will also be making it unpleasant for those you have to work with. If you follow these strategies for getting through a long shift, you will not only find the long hours easier, but also more enjoyable.