The night shift is a unique work period. For plenty of shift workers, especially those involved in ongoing care, it can be non stop grind of activity. For others, such as emergency first responders, it’s feast or famine, with long periods of inactivity punctuated with periods of extreme busyness. In this circumstance, it can be difficult to remain alert and focused.
There’s all kinds of advice out there to help you stay awake – such as exercising, napping, eating a little and often, drinking plenty of water etc. All of them important tips to take on board.
But what do real nightshift workers get up to during the nightshift? We talked to some, and searched through some of the online forums, to find some of the more popular and more obscure things nightshift workers get up to.
1. Self Educate
It’s amazing the number of answers to the question, what do you do on the nightshift, are related to increasing education in some way, either formally, or personally for fun.
Online courses are an increasingly popular way of learning, and plenty of shift workers with time on their hands take the opportunity to get some more qualifications under their belt.
Reading, too, is popular. From the latest romantic frolic, to self-learn books. One suggestion we liked was to learn sign language.
2. Creative Writing
They say everyone has one novel in them. Well, why not let that novel out during the downtimes of a nightshift. Even if you never publish it, many people find writing a soothing experience. And taking the time to explore your inner imagination can be really good for your mental state.
Additionally, more time writing helps to hone a much needed and underused skill. Plenty of employers complain that people can’t write anymore. Why not put in some practice and learn to get better?
Of course it doesn’t have to be a novel. Short stories, poems and novellas are popular for reading online. And if your work is really good, and your friends like it, why not try self publishing through Amazon Kindle or Smashwords? You never know, a whole new career may be calling.
Cross stitch, knitting, crocheting. Crafting of all types is more popular than it has been. Activities like cross stitch are easy to pick up and put down and have been proven to be beneficial for enhancing concentration and helping you to relax.
As winter is on the way, why not knit everyone on the shift a comforter? Just make sure you get the sizes right!
4. Learn Origami
The Japanese art of paper folding has similar concentration and relaxing benefits to crafting. But it takes time to build up the skill and knowledge to learn to fold some of the more wondrous creations.
Of course, you could just go for the simpler option of making paper airplanes – with an emphasis on distance and lift!
5. Search the internet for other nightshift workers
It can be a lonely existence, on the nightshift. You may have colleagues and co-workers to share the experience with, or you may be stuck by yourself. The good news is that, thanks to the wonders of the internet, you’re not alone at all. There are plenty of online forums and websites dedicated to helping you through the night.
Plenty of opinions are voiced in the forums on what to do with your time, and how to stay sane, but it’s always good to know that other people are experiencing the same as you.
6. Help out the following day shift, maybe?
It’s controversial, but there’s plenty of opinion from some day shift workers on the forums that the nightshift could always help them out. As one poster suggested:
“There is always something to be done …… assist your coworkers on the next shift , get creative about dispersing some tasks from the day and evening shifts to yours.”
We’ll leave that one there. No need to start a war …
7. Drink lots of Coffee
Caffeinating is very popular. Not just because it helps to boost your energy early in the shift, and helps to keep you awake, but also because it’s a sociable activity to sit down with your co-workers over a hot brew and discuss why the nightshift is so bad. Nothing beats that kind of bonding!