Friday, August 31, 2018

10 Tips for Surviving Long Shifts at Work

In Japan, there is a word known as “karoshi” which literally translates to “death due to overwork”. Although a direct connection between strenuous labor and a quick demise are yet to be fully proven, studies do agree that piling on the extra hours can lead to high levels of stress and increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

However, there are times when work demands are unavoidable, and you need to find a way to deal with the load without burning out. Don’t miss this quick list with some of the best methods of achieving your maximum output while minimizing the negative repercussions.

1. Plan Ahead
A blind rush in the morning is a distressing start to your day, and you might even forget something important. Sidestep the madness by always thinking 12 hours ahead. Lay out tomorrow’s outfit the night before, and leave your keys, wallet, and phone in one central place. It’s also worth keeping a backup outfit at work in case of emergencies.

2. Eat Properly
A quick sugary solution from the vending machine may be a convenient hunger plug, but the glucose crash won’t help your mood nor your waistline. Stash and nibble on healthy snacks throughout the day instead, as they will help maintain sturdy energy levels without that heavy meal fatigue. Perfect options include nuts, seeds, fruit, or granola bars. And don’t forget to hydrate!

3. Exercise
The idea of making time for exercise may seem like a laughable fantasy, but if you can cycle to work or sneak off to a yoga lunch session, then your emotional state and general productivity will significantly improve. If this is simply not a feasible option, then at least run up the stairs whenever you can.

4. Compression Socks
For those who spend many hours on their feet (such as medical or hospitality professionals), it is important to cater for the extra demand you are placing upon your legs. Comfortable footwear is crucial, but you should also try compression socks which are known to increase blood flow and reduce swelling.

5. Stretch Breaks
Standing on your feet all day is a definite health concern, but endlessly sitting at your desk can also come with its own unique set of negative effects, such as strained eyesight and improper posture habits. To counter these concerns, set an hourly reminder to stand up and stretch, or simply go for a stroll.

6. A Stress Ball
Another risky consequence of prolonged computer use is that of repetitive strain injuries. If this term is familiar to you, then you may want to experiment with exercises to develop your forearm muscles while moving your fingers in different ways. One idea is to use a stress ball, which will not only ward off carpal tunnel syndrome but is also a harmless method of squeezing out your daily frustrations.

7. Team Work
If your shifts are starting to pile on top of you and you’re struggling to cope, then there is no shame in talking to someone about it. Your boss might be able to shuffle some slots around or a colleague could be willing to swap some hours with you. Teamwork is all about assisting one another, so never feel too proud to reach out.

8. Unwind Before Bedtime
After a particularly draining day, it’s tempting to walk through the door and slam your face into the pillow, passing out immediately. Occasionally, this may even be the healthiest option. However, nothing will erode your happiness faster than a work/sleep/repeat cycle, and you will burn out quickly. Take some time to relax in a bubble bath or read your book in bed, enjoying these personal moments of rare peace and quiet.

9. Sleep Properly (or Take Naps)

If the 7 - 8 hours of recommended slumber has been cut from your schedule, then your body is going to pay the price with low energy, memory loss, or even weight gain. It might not be ideal, but in desperate times, it could be worth sneaking off to your car or a private room for a 20-minute nap. Pretend that you have to make a private phone call, set your alarm, and then once you return, you’ll be perked up and better equipped to progress forward. Everyone wins.

10. Use Your Off-Time Wisely
One technique to ensure a smoother work life is to remove all of the unrelated obstructions during your downtime. Whether it be groceries, laundry, or any other personal errands, get these done as far away from your busy week as possible. Furthermore, don’t waste your breaks by sleeping your days away! Instead, spend some time with your family or friends, seeking out that big boost of social love to remind of what life is really about.

This is a guest blog entry.

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