Staying Energized and Shift Work

As many of you already know, I am a Pediatric Registered Nurse. Within this role I work mostly twelve-hour shifts including nights and days. After working as a Registered Nurse for a few years I started dealing with lower back pain, decreased motivation, and generalized fatigue. I found myself to be extremely sedentary during my days off. It was during this time 2.5 years ago that I found Pilates and fell in love with Lead.

I started taking Flex classes and eventually enrolled in the Beginner Mat class. This was a tough commitment to make, as being a shift worker it was often hard to make the two classes per week requirement. Making this commitment was the best thing I have ever done. Within the first month of starting Beginner Mat and making my health a priority I found my energy levels increased and my lower back pain was nearly gone. Since then I have made my Pilates practice a priority and have found a variety of other ways to help keep me healthy while working shift work at a job I love dearly.

Helpful tips:

  1. Drink as much water as you can during the day or your shift. I find it helps to have a variety of options to stay hydrated. I take ice water, sparkling water and tea with me to help make it through my shift. I pack healthy snacks so I am not heading for the vending machine in the middle of the night.
  2. Reduce screen time before trying to nap or sleep. I find reading a book or listening to a podcast on a timer are good options to help reduce busy thoughts of your shift or day.
  3. Taking ten deep diaphragmatic breaths when I get tired throughout a shift or during the day. The increased oxygen levels can be as effective as a twenty minute power nap.
  4. Book classes at Lead in advance so I can plan my days off around them. I have found that if I have a class booked I am more likely to go!
  5. Being active can help me sleep when needed and also increase my energy levels and mood during wake time. My favourite activities are taking a class at Lead or going for a walk. My current class plan at Lead is Intermediate Group Equipment once a week and attending a variety of other classes such as Bodhi or my all time favourite, Full Mat Repertoire.
  6. Start every day by reminding yourself of something you are grateful for. I have found this to really help improve my mood and outlook every day. A grateful heart is a happy heart.

The best advice I can give to anyone working shift work or feeling low on energy is to book a class at Lead! Make a commitment to make yourself a priority. Show yourself some love and gratitude.

– Tenneyl

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