If you’re on shift work and struggling to find balance in your life, try incorporating these tips into your routine.

1. Take the time to discover what works for you. 

Ask yourself: Am I a night owl or an early riser? Do I work better when I drink coffee? Do I have more energy when I nap? 

Try multiple things until you find one that fits best or combine a few into a rocking schedule that works for you! 

While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for the problems that come with having an irregular schedule, it’s important to learn which strategies work most effectively for you. 

2. Take an annual leave day. 

Don’t forget to take your annual leave, even without a holiday booked in — it means you’re also committed to yourself. 

Go do something that makes you happy — whether that’s reading a book, watching a movie, going for a walk in the park, or just hanging out with friends. 

If you don’t have time for an actual “day off,” it can be helpful to take an hour off during your shift to do something relaxing. Time dedicated just for yourself gives you the chance to unwind, re-charge, and get back in touch with yourself and your priorities. 

3. Establish expectations with your employer. 

Remember that setting expectations is not just about what other people need from you — it’s also about what you need from them! 

To do so, know your employer’s policies that are in place. Then, make sure to communicate clearly with your manager or supervisor about what they expect from you. 

Set specific goals so both of you are on the same page about what needs to get done. 

Be specific about your needs. This includes things like resources/ tools necessary to get the job done, or any requests related to scheduling or workload. 

And if something isn’t clear, ask questions. Regularly have a conversation if there are any changes about your work. 

4. Set a routine. 

Setting a consistent schedule for sleep, meals, and exercise can help you stay energised and focused during your shifts. 

Try to stick to the same schedule as much as possible, even on days off. This will help regulate your body’s natural rhythms and make it easier to adjust to different shift patterns. 

5. Sit and reflect. 

Take a few minutes to reflect during a break, or whenever you have a moment to spare.  

Try to focus on your thoughts and feelings. Take the time to meditate, journal, or simply sit in silence and breathe deeply. This way, you can gain a greater sense of self-awareness and improve your well-being.  

Doing these can help you feel more centred and more grounded even in the midst of a chaotic work schedule. 

These tips can help you take care of yourself better, so you can take better care of others.