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10 Ways to Stay Happy During a Long Shift

Published 11 August 15 03:25 PM

10 Ways to Stay Happy During a Long Shift

Healthcare professionals undergo a considerable amount of stress during their long work shifts. Standing on your feet nonstop, fighting to stay awake and dealing with challenging patients takes a toll on an individual. That’s why we’re offering some helpful tips for medical professionals.

Here are 10 ways to keep your sanity during a long work shift, and, therefore, lead a happier life overall.

1. Stay positive – Try to focus on the positive aspects of your job over the negative. Instead of worrying about department gossip or difficult patients, think about all you are achieving on a daily basis. Remember why you entered this profession to begin with, and keep that in mind throughout those long work shifts.

2. Surround yourself with positive people – It will be that much easier to stay positive if you are around like-minded people. Steer clear of those debby downers and troublemakers, people who constantly complain or gossip. These types of individuals will only bring you down and make your workday seem even longer. If you have to interact with them, ignore their negativity as best as you can and change the topic to something more positive.


3. Eat healthy – Eating healthy on a hectic work schedule can seem nearly impossible. You may hear that vending machine calling, and forget all about your promise to give up junk food. That’s why you should always plan ahead of time.

Your best bet is to pack healthy snacks in advance – bananas, nuts, granola bars and other energy-boosting portable snacks – and keep them in a lunch bag or tote for easy access. Also, instead of eating a couple large meals, eat several small meals a day to keep your energy levels up. Improve your diet and you’ll be seeing a significant difference in your attitude and your alertness.

4. Play some tunes – If you’re allowed to play music in your office or facility, then we highly recommend doing so. A playlist of your favorite songs can do wonders for your mood. Try to select upbeat songs that will have you feeling energized rather than relaxed.

5. Stay hydrated – Unfortunately, thirst and dehydration are all too common with busy healthcare professionals. Maybe, you’re so caught up in your work, you forget to meet your own basic needs. Or you avoid drinking water because you dread those constant bathroom trips.

Not drinking enough water is dangerous for your health and can lead to headaches, irritability, dizziness and other negative side effects. If necessary, take certain steps to ensure you’re refreshed and alert all shift long. Keep a water bottle within reach at all times, or set a timer as a reminder to drink water every so often. If you know you’ll be busy for the first few hours of your shift, drink some water beforehand to get off to a great start.


6. Get enough sleep – No one likes a cranky person, so do yourself and everyone around you a favor by making sure you get plenty of sleep before your shift. If you’re having sleep problems, set up a nighttime routine to help you wind down before bedtime and stick to it all week long. Avoid alcohol close to bedtime, as it can interfere with the sleep process, and instead drink some sleepytime tea. Never check portable devices or watch TV right before bed, as the artificial light can disrupt your sleep cycle.

If you work the night shift, go to sleep right after your shift. You may be tempted to do chores or run errands, but these activities can leave you feeling more alert. Also avoid caffeine during the second half of your shift, or you may have trouble sleeping later.


7. Wear comfortable shoes – When you’re a hardworking medical professional, you’re constantly on your feet. That’s why it’s essential to own a pair of comfortable medical shoes or clogs. For the best fit, look for a shoe that has generous padding, arch support and a breathable footbed that absorbs and evaporates perspiration. Never choose a shoe for its look instead of its feel, as you’ll regret your decision halfway into your shift.

8. Exercise – Try to squeeze in some exercise time whenever you can. This suggestion may seem outlandish when you’re on your feet constantly, but a brisk walk or a run before work can increase your endorphins and have you feeling prepared for the day ahead. Stretching during your breaks or even a quick run up the stairs can also be beneficial.

9. Make your breaks count – Make each and every break count by doing something that you enjoy. Maybe, you could read a book that has nothing to do with work. Or, you could step outside for some fresh air to get away from all the hustle and bustle. Whatever you do, it should be an activity that leaves you feeling refreshed and ready for whatever comes your way.

10. Lend a hand – Help out your coworkers and they might just do the same for you. If you notice they’re having a bad day, ask if there’s anything you can do. They’ll appreciate that you pitched in, and you’ll feel better knowing you did a good deed.

Make the most of your workday with any of these tips! They’re sure to improve your mood on those seemingly endless shifts.

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    Setting: King of Prussia, PA
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