18 December 2017

How-to thrive in your long shift this Christmas

There is no denying it, working over Christmas can be tough. Especially you are working a long shift, knowing that family and friends are at home scoffing down some dry turkey, opening presents, and indulging in a few festive sherbets.

So, we’ve compiled our ‘how-to’ guide to kick those winter blues, easing you through your Christmas shift, ensuring you thrive throughout your shift, providing the highest quality of care, yet remaining in full festive cheer.

Tip 1: Share a smile

Your smile is actually contagious!


Your smile is a powerful tool, when you’re radiating positivity smiling at someone, they can’t help but smile back.

You can trick your brain into being happy by flexing your facial muscles, each time you crack a cheeky grin your zygomatic major muscles at the corners of your mouth flex sending radiant bursts of sunshine to your brain signalling that you are happy. Smiling tricks your brain into being happy causing a natural grin leading the orbicularis oculi muscles in the corner of the eyes to flex which only occurs when your brain is actually smiling from pure happiness.

Each time you smile your brain throws a little ‘feel-good party’, activating its happy centre releasing the brains natural ‘happy’ chemicals, neuropeptides and neurotransmitters endorphins, dopamine and serotonin that work toward fighting off stress, elevating your happiness levels, this not only relaxes your body, but lowers your heart rate and blood pressure as well.

So, stay positive and share a cheerful smile on your shift, it will not only benefit you but will bring a bit of festive joy to all your colleagues and all those in your care.

Tip 2: It’s all about the vitamins

Effervescent vitamin tablet dissolving in water

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) is your saviour for a long shift helping the body convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which the body uses to produce energy.

Great for your Brain! Pantothenic acid gives your brain energy, helps to boost memory, and promotes normal logical brain function.  Known as an anti-stress vitamin, Vitamin B5 helps to ease anxiety and irritability helping you to stay positive on a long shift. It also helps to strengthen your immune system and promotes healthy skin and hair.

Our top tip is an effervescent multi vitamin tablet (containing Vitamin B5 pantothenic acid) and a banana to keep you going.

Tip 2: Food glorious food


Eating right is key to ensuring you keep your energy levels high until the end of your shift. Eating smaller portions throughout your long shift will boost your energy for longer and is easier for your body to digest.

Increasing your intake of foods rich in vitamin-D, such as tuna, salmon, cheese or milk, and B-vitamins, such as chicken, bananas and spinach, will help decrease fatigue. Omega-3 fatty acids can contribute to increased brain cell development.

Our top tip is an effervescent multi-vitamin table (containing vitamin B5 pantothenic acid) and a banana to keep you going.

Tip 3: Make the most of your break

When you have a break make the most of it but resting. Grab a chair and chill out. Short resting periods will allow you to keep your energy up, helps to beat off those yawns and freshens up your brain and helps you to stay alert.

Tip 4: Just keep moving


Keeping your body moving, stretching out your muscles, taking a little stroll and staying active on a shift will keep your blood flowing and your mind awake.

Chatting, have a chat it is Christmas after all, talk with your co-workers and patients keeping yourselves in high spirits as staying positive and keeping your mind active with conversation will prevent you from dozing off, and keep you engaged.

You also may be able to discuss difficulties that you’re having with the night shift transition and share tips for coping with the changes.

Tip 5: Get a good night’s sleep

puppy napping

Before a long shift ensure you get a good night’s sleep. I know it’s Christmas but avoid alcohol or caffeine so you can blissfully drift off to sleep.

A good night’s sleep not only makes you feel better, look better and makes you feel refreshed, but can drastically boost your mood, making you feel more positive boosting, your morale. Sleep is key to improving your health, it improves your memory, increases your life span, improves creativity and most importantly can reduce your stress levels making you feel calmer and more alert.

Tip 5: Step back, and take a deep breath


Taking deep breaths is one of the best ways to instantly lower your stress level. Breathing exercises can help you relax, even just taking one deep breath can calm your brain.

Taking a momentary step back from a stressful situation, taking a few deep breaths in through the nose and out from the mouth, enables you to collect yourself, de-stress, and re-approach the situation in a calmer more logical manner. This really helps to keep yourself going and remain positive through the festive period.

Remember you’re playing a vital role this Christmas, whether it be caring for the elderly, providing support for a family, or keeping someone company, you are making a real difference to the lives of the people in your care. Because you’re going the extra mile Newcross ensure all those who work on Christmas day get paid on New Year’s Eve so you can go out and celebrate in style!

So, give your local branch a ring to book into a shift over the festive period, to spread some Christmas cheer to those who need it the most.