Gone are the days (or nights) when the graveyard shift was unheard of. Currently, 15 million Americans are assigned to the night shift. Naturally, this clear digression from the body’s circadian rhythm has negative effects on your body such as 23% higher risks of heart attack, 5% higher risk of ischemic strokes, as well as 24% higher risk of coronary conditions.
Let’s face it, though: life is tough and you’d be crazy to quit a secure job, even if it means working the graveyard shift. Still, there are quick and easy ways to survive the night shift. There are also health measures you can take. But there’s one more thing that can get you and your body through the night shift, and that’s motivation. Take a moment to learn these 10 healthy, motivational ways to survive the night shift.
Definitely avoid crashing just when you get home from the graveyard shift! In fact, sleep will come easier if you unwind before you go to bed. Slowing down before bed tells your brain you’re about to rest.
#2 – Reward yourself—with healthy food
Thinking about a big, juicy hamburger to end your first few nights of the graveyard shift? Forget it. Exposing yourself to fast and/or junk food only puts your health into greater risk. Surround yourself with healthy food. Instead of potato chips, eat saltine crackers and hummus.
#3 – Get some me-time
Always schedule some time for yourself. Dr. Kristin Neff, an associate professor of human development and culture at University of Texas points out that self-pampering helps strengthen your immune system. One study conducted in Maastricht University also shows that pampering yourself helps you be more optimistic.
#4 – Sit down and savor your meals
When you’re on the graveyard shift, enjoy every meal. You’re already working difficult hours, so you need to savor your breaks. That will keep you from feeling overwhelmed. The key is to avoid rushing your meals. After all, eating more slowly is better for digestion.
#5 – Schedule your caffeine intake
You’ve probably heard that coffee is bad during the graveyard shift. But don’t worry, you don’t need to stop completely. Instead, take coffee at a particular time. Don’t drink any coffee on the second half of your night shift so that you can fall asleep more easily afterwards.
#6 – Make water your best friend
Just because you need to take less coffee doesn’t mean you should drink less of anything else. Load up on fluids to stay productive on your graveyard shift. In fact, water is a great energy booster.
#7 – Say no to day-time activities
While your friends plan brunches all over the metro, you should probably say no. Repeat until necessary: you have a different schedule; don’t follow theirs.
#8 – Do your best to move it
An Australian fitness author, Lisa Westlake, has great advice for people who work shifts. Incidental exercise, like walking more on your commute or taking the stairs is important. Ease into exercise. Write down goals.
#9 – Get into a hobby
Who has time for a hobby? You should! Benefits of having a hobby include inducing eustress (which motivates you) and encouraging you to take time off. Something as simple as folding origami or sketching can give your mind a much needed break.
#10 – Actively look for inspiration
Some people expect inspiration to fall onto their laps like magic. But when you’re on the graveyard shift, you need a sense of urgency. Don’t wait until you have a different schedule before you inspire yourself to be a better call center agent.
Nothing to It
The night shift is inevitable in a call center agent’s life, but sacrificing health doesn’t have to be. Taking care of yourself has to do with both your emotional and physical health. Consider it something to look forward to. When you love your work enough to motivate yourself, you can inspire other call center agents, too. And together, surviving the night shift will be easy as pie.
Blog Post Author: Boom Rizal is an investor, a researcher and a passionate writer. Get in touch with her and follow her @boomrizal.