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Wellbeing tips for shift workers and temporary employees

  • Sarah Storey
  • 26th July 2019

Being a temporary employee can be vastly rewarding but can also lead to a lot of hard work. Read our top tips for taking care of your wellbeing as a shift worker.

Being a temporary worker with an app like Syft is great because it has so many benefits and perks compared to the usual 9 to 5, including being able to pick and choose which shifts to take based on your schedule. However, it can be easy to slip into the habit of taking every shift that comes your way. While this will quickly build up your work experience and earn you some extra money, you could be pushing yourself too hard and end up burning out. 

It’s important to take care of your wellbeing both in and out of work. Not doing so can leave you feeling unhappy and unproductive. Having the freedom to choose your own shifts means you’re in charge of taking time for yourself. If coping with shift work has being getting you down then not to worry because we’ve put together our top tips on ways to improve your physical and mental wellbeing.

Take a break

Make sure that you give yourself a couple of days off each week. Not only do you need time to take care of yourself and see friends and family but your mind and body also needs time to rest and recharge. 

Not doing so can affect you both physically and mentally. Working too much can make you less productive, fatigued, feel down, make your heart work overtime, give you neck and back  pains as well as potentially affect your relationships in a negative way.

Everyone needs a break from time to time and you’re in charge of giving yourself rest time. So whether its a week in the sun or a bit of me time at home, you can take that break guilt free. 

Eat well

Flexible jobs and shift work don’t always follow the standard 8 hour working day pattern. They can often comprise of night shifts, rotating shifts and irregular hours, making it difficult to have set meal times each day.

While irregular meal times may be unavoidable, it’s important that when you are eating that you’re getting a healthy and balanced diet to help you feel your best. This includes eating a wide variety of healthy foods in the right proportions.

While working in temporary shift positions, it can be easy to fall into the habit of grabbing something fast and unhealthy to eat. But with a little preparation and planning you can ensure that you get the right nutrients in your diet. Try meal planning and bulk making meals so you have fresh healthy food ready to eat when you need it.

Exercise

The last thing you want to do after finishing a shift is a workout, but finding the time to exercise around your work life could benefit both your physical and mental wellbeing. According to the NHS regular exercise could massively reduce your risk of a variety of illnesses including heart disease, cancer, dementia and depression.

Exercise doesn’t have to mean spending gruelling hours in the gym or be a chore that you don’t look forward to. You should find something that works for you, whether you work it in to your social life, personal time or family fun. 

Being active in a way that you enjoy means you’re more likely to do it on a regular basis. Whether its tennis, five-a-side football, swimming, yoga or dancing, there’s something out there that’s right for you. The internet is a great place to start when looking for groups and classes to join and you’re sure to find one that fits around your other commitments. In addition to seeing the physical benefits, you’ll also see a positive change in your mood and outlook.

Have a social life

If you work unsocial hours like evenings and weekends, it can be tricky to find time that fits the schedules of your friends and family. But worrying about how often you spend time with people isn’t going to fix things. Instead, focus on the quality of time spent with loved ones rather than quantity.

Planning ahead and communication are going to be the best way to make sure you get the quality time you deserve. Try and set fun and enjoyable plans for when you know you’ll be free. It’ll give you something to look forward to and ensure that you make the most of your free time.

If your friends and family are frustrated that you can’t always be there even when not at work, then try and have an honest and open conversation with them. They’ll understand that you need your rest just as much as you need your social life.

Sleep

Temporary jobs and shift work are extremely rewarding but can also be a lot of hard work. It can involve working different hours each day going against your body’s natural rhythm, so it’s important to make sleep and rest are a priority.

Try and choose jobs and shifts that allow you to get an adequate amount of rest and sleep in between. According to the Sleep Council, 18 – 65 year olds need 7 – 9 hours of sleep per day. A lack of sleep can affect not only your mood and your ability to complete tasks but also your physical health too.

If you’re struggling to sleep then try winding down in an evening and practice a going to bed ritual. This will really help you go to bed at the same time every night. Make sure that your bedroom is clean, tidy and comfortable as this will help your mind rest. Finally, you should avoid using your phone just before bed. Not only does it stimulate your brain but the blue light from your phone can interfere with your sleep cycle.

Like any job it’s always difficult to find the right balance between work and home life. But being a temporary employee has so many advantages, such as choosing your own shifts, being your own boss, fair wages, flexibility, learning new skills and so much more. Read our article, Do You Know The Benefits Of A Temp Job to find out more. If you’re already convinced by the benefits of temporary employment and aren’t already signed up with Syft, then download the app and start living your best life today.

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