Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
CAREER ADVANCEMENT / JUL. 06, 2014
version 5, draft 5

How to Keep Functioning After 12 Hours on the Job

It is not uncommon for individuals to work 12 hours or more during one scheduled shift. Our career demands are growing, forcing us to work longer hours. For many families, they’re living on one income. One parent is taking care of the kids, while the other is out working. In this case, employees take all the hours they can get.

Others enjoy their work, putting in extra hours to excel in their current positions. If you’re a business owner, you know that 12 hour days are not uncommon. You need to work long days in order to develop and grow your business.

Regardless of the situation, 12 hours can take its toll on anyone. If you’re going to put in those hours, you want to be functioning effectively.

Tips to Keep Functioning After Twelve Hours on the Job

If you commonly work twelve hours, you need to get yourself into the habit of healthier, more productive choices. Make changes, and you will notice a difference in the way you feel. The following are tips to improve the way you feel and work after hour number twelve:

1. Take Care of Your Overall Health

If you’re not taking care of yourself, it’ll be no surprise that you feel terrible after a long day at work. There are many aspects in terms of a healthy lifestyle, but the two most crucial in this case are sleep patterns and diet.

Sleep is vital, especially regarding cognitive functioning. If you are not allowing your body and mind to rest, you can actually compromise your immune system. Make sure you’re getting enough rest the night before a twelve hour shift.

Your body needs energy to continually function. You should be increasing your food intake, allowing your body to access more energy. When I say increase your food intake, I don’t mean eat two McDonald’s hamburgers instead of one.

You need to consume more complex carbohydrates. These break down slowly, providing energy for an extended period. Unlike simple sugars (e.g. white bread), which give you a short-term boost of energy. After this energy subsides, you feel more sluggish than before. You need to eat a varied, nutrient-rich diet. Incorporate more dark leafy greens into your diet. It’s important to consume a mixture of healthy ingredients, that way you will gain multiple essential vitamins and minerals.

You need to space out your meals as well. Do not eat one large meal throughout the entire day, this will negatively effect your energy levels. Space your meals out, consuming smaller, more frequent meals. This helps to regulate your blood sugar, increasing energy levels.

2. Skip the Coffee

Although we’re accustomed to reaching for the coffee pot, caffeine can actually make you feel worse. Just like any other drug, your body builds a tolerance to caffeine. Your response to coffee will change after extended use.

This means that you could drink five cups of coffee and still feel like you’re dragging your feet. You may not feel energized, and you could potentially feel worse than before. Excessive caffeine consumption can make you irritable and dehydrated. You can also experience severe headaches, which is not appreciated after twelve hours at work. A caffeine overload is not the solution.

Once again, target your diet for more energy promoting foods. Bring a bag of nuts to work, they’re packed with energy and protein. Berries are also a great snack, pack some blueberries to nibble on throughout your shift.

3. Get Outside

Depending on your location, you may not see much of the sun during your 12 hour work day. During your break, slip outside and take in some rays. Vitamin D is essential, targeting fatigue. It is not uncommon for individuals to experience high levels of stress, pain, fatigue, and mood swings when they’re vitamin D deficient. 

Fresh air can also do wonders. Work environments can be hectic and overwhelming. Sometimes it’s nice to just take a moment of time, escaping from the hustle and bustle.

Take a brief walk around the block on your lunch break. Not only will you get vitamin D, you’ll benefit from the exercise. When you exercise, your body releases ’feel good’ hormones known as endorphins. A fifteen minute walk can do wonders for your energy levels and mood. 

4. Sneak a Nap

If you can fall asleep quickly, a nap is always an option. A short nap can restore and boost brain functioning. A twenty minute nap can actually benefit you and your overall productivity. We don’t all have an office like Google, so ’sleeping pods’ aren’t a common occurrence.

If you know you’re working twelve hours or more, bring a little blanket to work. You won’t be the first person to take a nap in your car or on your desk, you won’t be the last either.    

So, no need to dread that twelve hour day. Take the right steps and you can not only improve your functioning, but your overall health. There are beneficial ways to target fatigue and moodiness. Get more involved in the things you eat, the amount you sleep, and time spent outdoors. You will begin to notice a difference in the way you feel and operate at work. 

 

 

Photo Credit: Flickr 

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