Health and Wellbeing
Health and wellbeing / Personal wellbeing

Handy tips & Articles


It’s safe to say that things have gotten a little crazy recently. Here’s a few tips to keep your wellbeing in check during social isolation.

Due to the nature of working in the NHS, there may be times where you are working night shifts. Whether your job is a Nurse, Porter or Admin, and whether you are a night owl or early riser you will benefit from these seven life hacks that will help you cope with night shifts.

NHS Professionals strongly believe in having a work-life balance for wellbeing, working for the NHS through the bank is a fantastic way to ensure that you can pick the hours and shifts that suit your lifestyle. Remember to look after yourself as well as you do your patients!

The key to not just surviving but thriving on the night shift is to get adequate rest. Sleeping well during the day is essential.

Source

1. Take a 30 minute nap *

Before your shift begins and, if possible, try to get in a 10-20 minute nap during your break. Short periods of rest will help keep your energy high but be sure not to sleep too long or you’ll risk making yourself groggy.

2. Eat small portions throughout the shift

Instead of eating a giant meal right before your 12 hours on the ward, pack healthy snacks to eat throughout the night. Eating small snacks throughout your working “night” will help keep your energy up. Avoid fried, spicy or processed food as these are harder to digest and can leave you feeling lethargic. Instead, fill up on fruit, veg and slow release carbohydrates such as potatoes or pasta.

3. Limit your caffeine intake

Having a caffeinated drink before you begin your shift or earlier on into the night can give you a much-needed boost and help you to stay alert and awake. However, avoid drinking coffee, tea or fizzy drinks that contain caffeine later on in your shift, as they can make it difficult for you to fall asleep when you get home – thereby interrupting your sleep cycle.

4. Stay hydrated

Dehydration can leave you feeling fatigued because it affects the flow of oxygen to the brain and results in your heart having to work harder to then pump the oxygen around your body. This leaves you feeling more tired and a lot less alert. Drinking plenty of water throughout your shift will help you keep alert and energised.

5. Keep busy

While night shifts can typically be slower, Keeping your body moving will keep your blood flowing and mind awake. Try not clock-watch, as this can increase fatigue and make the night feel longer.

6. Talk with your co-workers

Who better to get you through your night shift than fellow night shifters? Not only will this help break up the shift and help keep you alert, but it’s also a great way to share your knowledge and tips for surviving a night shift. get tips for survival from night veterans and share some of your own too! Remember you’re all in this together and part of the NHS family!

7. Sleep well

In order to function properly after a night shift, you ideally need 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Try and set aside this time during the day to help with your recovery. Put your phone on silent, draw the curtains to make the room as dark and as quiet as possible to mimic night-time, and have a quick drink and snack before you hit the sack.

*NB: Both NHSP and client trusts designate sleeping on duty as gross misconduct – with many trusts dismissing staff at the first recorded incidence. Sometimes specific areas of nursing bring their own demands in terms of vigilance around tiredness and fatigue. For example, undertaking the close observation of a patient.

Resilience is the ability to face and recuperate quickly from difficult situations, remain optimistic and stay focused.

 

Everyday our NHS worker deal with patients and their families during some of their most challenging and vulnerable times. While we support them through their pain, fear, loss, celebration and excitement our emotions can often take a back burner, in order to carry out our roles and ‘get the job done’.

 

These emotionally charged and stressful situations we face can ultimately lead to you feeling “burnt out”, can cause anxiety, depression and other stress related illnesses.

 

In an already difficult period, we have compiled some hints and tips to get you through the added pressures and to help you build your resilience so that we can approach the NHS pressures together.

 

So, what can you do to build your resilience?

 

Talk to your colleagues– who better to understand the job you do and the challenges you face than your colleagues? It’s important to talk to the people you feel comfortable with whether that be a close work friend, or a ward manager. A problem shared, is a problem halved and getting the perspective of someone who shares the same environment as you will help.

 

Take the time to reflect– if you’ve had a difficult shift take the time to reflect why it was difficult – don’t ignore it! Feel emotion, learn from it and move on!

 

Acceptance– an important part of building resilience in the healthcare profession is to accept that there are just some situations that are out of your control.

 

Glass half full– be optimistic that tomorrow will be a better day and that your efforts are making a real difference to your patients and the Trust you work in.

 

Laughter is the best medicine– find the fun and laughter in situations inside, and outside of work.

 

Enjoy your life outside of work– really take the time to enjoy your down time.

 

Give yourself a treat every day and take the time to really enjoy it – if that means eating chocolate, then go for it – in moderation, of course!

 

Get enough sleep– the saying ‘things will look better in the morning’ is true. Having a good night’s sleep will leave you feeling refreshed and may help you to put things in to perspective.

 

Get moving– exercise gives you time to reflect on certain situations, relieve stress, re-focus, and will release endorphins that will help you to see things in a different light.