There are times when the individual is required to work overtime because of their nature of the job and people become curious about how to survive a 12 hour shift. It might sound unreal but there are some specific professions that usually have long hours of work shifts which includes:
1) Police Officers
4) Truck Drivers
5) Assembly line workers
In due time, some people do eventually become habitual for working 12 hours a day on frequent basis. However working overtime for long periods can lead to detrimental consequences, such as obesity, sleep disorder, fatigue and chronic health problems.
Because of these negative effects, person can no longer lead normal healthy life and perform up to their full potential. Moreover from psychological viewpoint, it can also create feelings of overwhelming, stress and anxiety which further diminishes the person’s work performance.
How to survive a 12 hour shift
It is essential that person implements a set of useful tips which will not only make working 12 hours day shift convenient but will take less toll upon their both physical and mental health. So what are those tips that can answer about how to survive 12 hour shift efficiently?
1) Get full night sleep
If your next day is 12 hour shift, it is crucial to have a full seven to eight hours of sleep. Nowadays people rarely give any importance to the well-rested sleep as they prefer to spend free time scrolling in their Smartphone just before bedtime. This is harmful as it can damage the quality of your sleep due to the blue light emitted by the screens of the Smart Devices.
According to Harvard research study, an exposure to the blue light can disrupt the human’s circadian rhythm, which is twenty-four hour internal clock that regularizes your sleep-wake pattern. When eyes are exposed to blue light in nighttime when it’s time for bed, it can significantly reduce the production of melatonin, a hormone that causes person to feel drowsy.
Due to reduced release of melatonin, a person’s circadian rhythm is severely affected and it takes more time to fall asleep. Hence by the time a person wakes up, not only he will wake up tired but will unable to focus throughout the day.
Hence it recommended reducing the screen time from two to three hours before sleeping. To further stimulate a good quality of sleep, avoid the consumption of caffeine and foods that have high quantity of sugar.
2) Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated
Working 12 hours a day is not easy, many got confused about how to survive a 12 hours shift and majority of us are guilty of not drinking enough water during daylight hours. If our bodies don’t receive sufficient amount of water, it can lead to dehydration and fatigue.
Therefore to avoid the risk of side effects of consuming less water, do get yourself a water bottle, preferably aluminum one as it has ability to keep water temperature cool.
If you struggle to remember to drink water, set cues on your phone to help you keep in check. There are many benefits that come with staying hydrated such as it improves your physical and mental performance and keeps your organs healthy.
3) Make the good use of the breaks
You should use your break wisely as working for working 12 hours a day can put strain on one’s energy and well being. Rather than using your Smartphone during your break, you can replace it much better relaxing activities like if working 12 hour a day, do take a ten minute walk outside as you will get expose to sunlight which is good source of vitamin D.
Moreover fresh air outside will assist you in boosting your energy levels and sharpening your mind. Or if it is impossible to leave the workplace, you can utilize the spare time in reading some light material, listen to some podcast or mediate on quiet corner place. The main purpose of taking break is that you come back more energized than ever.
4) Make buddies at workplace who have got your back
Working long shifts can become overwhelming and draining, especially if you are working alone. Hence it is necessary to have friends working along with you.
There are many advantages of having friend working close by; first you won’t feel alone and isolated as there will be someone familiar whom you can socialize easily and share your problems with, second having friends in workplace will motivate you to work hard as you get opportunity to share the workload with other, which further reduces the work related stress.
Thirdly it creates the feeling of strong unity and social cohesion within workplace.
5) Prepare and consume healthy meals
There is nothing wrong to have a fast food or sugary snacks once in awhile. However consuming it while working 12 hours a day is not beneficial as it looks. Sure they remove the hunger but only momentarily, thus leaving the person more tired and hungrier than ever.
So it is advisable to prepare the healthy meals back at home. Try to incorporate foods that are nutritious and have high protein content.
If you have trouble cooking food daily night before, cook your weekly meals beforehand during weekends. In addition to bringing healthy meals, you could pack some extra healthy snacks when you feel low on energy such as apple, banana or walnuts.
6) Do make time for exercise
Lately there has been increase in gym culture and doing workouts between busy schedules. Some of you might think this is just an excuse to show-off one’s muscles however there’s more to that.
Research has shown that even twenty minutes of workout can significantly improve your mood, develop your muscles and enhance your energy levels. Furthermore it can help you prevent chronic disease such as heart attack, arthritis and diabetics.
Sitting for long periods of time can lead to muscle cramps and massive weight gain. To combat these negative outcomes, you need to make time for exercise. Now you must be thinking that this is non-sense, who on earth would be willing to exercise after a long working 12 hours a day?
Yes it is difficult but the consequences of neglecting your health can far more risky which will inevitably manifest in upcoming years. Therefore do make time for workout, enough for just fifteen minutes.
If this is not feasible, try doing it within your premises as there are lots of workout tutorials available in YouTube.
And if you are not kind of person who doesn’t like cardio or weight- lifting, do some stretch exercises regularly as it can heal muscle soreness and increase your range of your motion.
7) Prepare and organize your things
With the major chunk of your time spent in work, you wouldn’t have remaining ample amount of time left to do other important things such doing grocery shopping, cleaning the house etc and by this it becomes easy about how to survive a 12 hour shift.
Therefore to avoid impending work and accumulating disorderliness, you should prioritize staying organized during your off-days. Which means you should make good use of your free time by preparing essential things ahead of time like:
1. Doing Laundry
2. Cleaning and de-cluttering your home
3. Purchasing grocery and running necessary errands for example paying bills.
4. Prepping the weekly meals.
By staying organized, you will feel more controlled and coordinated. The additional benefits that come along from doing mundane tasks are that your mind will be at ease and there will be considerable reduction in levels of stress and apprehension.
8) Include the daily supplements in your diet
We might feel that we may not require additional supplements in working 12 hours a day as long as we consume caffeine in the form of coffee or tea in order to remain active.
But this is not healthy solution as consuming high quantities of caffeine has its own set of side effects; it has a potency to cause restlessness, insomnia, high blood pressure and nervousness.
So what’s the healthy alternative? Include the set of healthy supplements in your diet, especially Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin B and D. Omega-3 Fatty acids have proven beneficial for maintaining cardiovascular health, improving joints and muscles health as well as combating against depression.
On the other hand, Vitamin B is the good source of increasing energy levels and boosting cognitive performance while Vitamin D strengthens your immune system. By making use of necessary supplements, you will have sufficient amount of energy which will then allow you get through tedious long shifts with no compromises on your work performance.
9) Do take your leave to reward yourself
When you are done with 12 hour shifts, do take a vacation occasionally even if it’s just for one week.
It is easy to get busy and forget that our bodies and minds do need time to rest and recharge. When a person is working 12 hours a day consistently then sooner or later, it will deplete their energy levels, indirectly putting negative impact on overall performance.
Thus it is better to take a leave when required so that you get an opportunity to rest and recuperate, enabling to take upcoming lengthy shifts in future.
10) Practice self-care
It is easy to neglect ourselves when there is a work to be done. But the question arises, how can you pour from the empty cup? The answer is you simply cannot.
Similarly how can you expect to survive 12 hour shift if you don’t take care of yourself first? Self care doesn’t have to be fancy or difficult for that matter; you can practice easy self-care remedies by catching up with friends and family, watch some comedy shows or even read a book which you have been interested in for long time.
Final thoughts on how to survive a 12 hour shift
Working 12 hours a day may seem impossible at first but they are manageable as long as you make time to practice these aforementioned tips.
It is easier said than done and no doubt, it will be difficult to implement and become perfect in one go. So my advice is to you take it easy and take one step at a time.
With enough practice and effort, eventually you will get good grip on this.