How to survive the long hours on a shift


long hours

For most medical professionals, long shifts are standard practice. However, they aren’t always easy to get through. If you’re wondering how to survive the long hours on shift, here is some expert advice. 

Bring Some Interesting Food To Work

The highlight of any long shift is probably going to be your meal break. It gives you a chance to recharge, refuel and take a little time out before getting back to the grind. While it might be tempting to grab a sweet snack, that’ll only cause you to feel hungry, tired and craving more unhealthy food. 

Instead, it’s best to bring a meal with you that’s sustainable, filling and healthy. Porridge, yoghurt, nuts, avocados, berries, boiled eggs, meats, vegetables, hummus, fish, and quinoa are all great choices, and you can even bring something sweet but healthy to eat as a dessert such as dark chocolate, banana bread or popcorn. 

Having a nutritious and exciting meal during your long shift will be far more rewarding than grabbing a chocolate bar from the vending machine and it will give you a true break from your work. 

Add Some Exercise Into Your Shift

Doing some exercise while you’re working might be the very last thing you want to do during your long shift, but it’s a good way to help you get through it. Try running up and down the stairs instead of taking the lift and taking a brisk walk in the fresh air during your break. 

Exercise is great for your mind and body. It will help you to feel more positive during your shift and it will help you sleep more effectively when you get home afterwards. You’ll also feel less anxious and stressed, and this, in turn, will help you to focus more on your work and less likely to make potentially dangerous mistakes. 

Just half an hour of moderate exercise each shift is enough to help you reap the benefits. 

Try Some Peppermint Tea

Peppermint oil applied to the neck or wrists can help you feel more alert during a long shift, but it does have quite a strong aroma, so you may want to try to get your peppermint in a less obvious way. 

Peppermint tea has been shown in studies to boost memory and improve alertness – ideal for healthcare professionals who are working long hours. Peppermint is known for its mentally and psychologically alerting qualities, so enjoy a cup during your break to help pick you up when you’re flagging.

Have A Small Caffeine Fix

Long shifts are tiring, especially if they’re at night, and caffeine is a great way to stay alert while working. Studies have shown that caffeine helps to reduce errors while improving performance in memory and perception-related tasks. 

While it isn’t a good idea to drink too much coffee, small caffeine fix part way through your shift can be a good option when you’re struggling to focus and feeling tired. 

At Think Locum we provide our doctors with a healthy caffeine drink to support and help them during their long hours' shifts.

Follow these top tips, and you’ll find it easier to survive your next long shift.

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