Sunday, October 14, 2012

Working the night shift

Hello, blogosphere. I haven't been able to write an entry for a few days now because I've been working - dun, dun, dunnnn! - the night shift. It is a necessary evil in my line of work and I only have to do it every five weeks or so, but for anyone who's never done it, let me give you an idea of some of its challenges.

First of all, the obvious one is how to manage sleep. While there are people in this world who always stay up all night and sleep all day, for the greater majority this is not how our circadian rhythms work and so being awake at 4am, much less doing a job competently, is quite a challenge. Put it this way - how emergency room doctors/nurses do what they do without harming people accidentally through being so tired, I'll never know and I take my hat off to them. My responsibilities are much less, although they do require a certain amount of alertness for that one call you might get where a person really needs help. And there is a certain point in the night you get to where suddenly it's like you have an out of body experience. You feel as though you are talking in your sleep. You continue to do your job and function but it doesn't feel like it's you who's doing it. It's like there is an automaton who is performing the required job functions in the background while you gaze blearily at your screen and try not to think too hard about your nice bed waiting at home for you. This would be the part I dislike most about night shift. Oh, and the drive home isn't the best, either. You have to make a choice - do you have a mega strong coffee on the way out the door to make sure you stay awake for the drive, meaning you won't sleep once you get home, or do you take your chances, play loud music, splash your face with cold water, etc?

Now, in regards to the new lifestyle choices I am making, I think all things considered I am managing very well, but I am led to the irrevocable conclusion that working the night shift and eating mindfully probably don't really go together. There have been times in the last couple of days when I have been aware I'm eating something and not thinking about it, a couple of times when I've been eating things whilst doing other things (a big no-no if I can avoid it). My appetite has seemed all over the place and I've not been sleeping well because, bizarre as it seems for someone like me, I don't think I've actually been eating enough and my hunger is what's been waking me up. So this morning when I got home I made a point of eating something before going to sleep and that seemed to do the trick. I had the first good sleep I've had in days and I feel semi-refreshed for my last night of night shift tonight (YAY!). My exercise has been sporadic but there has been "some" and considering that I haven't done any for sooo long, I'm pretty happy to have managed to exercise three times in the last six days. I want to be doing some every day but, hey, it's something to build on. I promised myself I wasn't going to cane myself over mistakes this time, so I'm not. I honestly think I've done pretty well this night shift to continue on the path as well as I have. Next time I will do better because I'll have had this experience of night shift/eating mindfully (or trying to!) under my belt.

And with that, I might see if I'm up for a quick 30 minute walk now. Ciao for now!

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