Of course we all want to be healthier! Anyone who works shift work knows that we have a higher risk of almost everything (disease, earlier death, etc). So why would anyone choose a job where shift work is the norm?! Because we LOVE it and are passionate about it! So, what can you do to try and minimize the risks? I have a few ideas, some of which I’ve discussed in previous blog posts but are worth mentioning again because they are just that important!
- SLEEP! Sleep is so so so important! Not just after your day shifts and night shifts, but every single time you sleep! You need to strive for 8 hours or as close to it as possible. I discussed some nights shift sleep tips in this blog post.
- FOOD! You need to eat real, whole foods and stay away from packaged foods that are full of sugar and other garbage! See this blog post about sugar, and this blog post about reading food labels.
- WATER! Everyone needs to drink lots and lots of water in a day. I know you’ll need to pee lots, and that sometimes this is not a great thing on a busy shift as a Paramedic (unless you want to have to use your patient’s bathroom!). So, just drink as much as you can! No, Red Bull and coffee and pop don’t count! Here’s a few tips to help you drink more water.
- STRETCH! Even just for 5-10 minutes a day. Before shift, during shift, after shift, at home, whenever! I wrote about a few on duty stretches that are easy to do in uniform here.
- EXERCISE! I don’t care what you do, just get out and move! Run, walk, ride your bike, go to a class at a gym, sign up for a community association program (bonus…these are usually cheaper than at a gym!), anything! Find something you enjoy doing and/or find a buddy to do it with you! You’ll help keep each other accountable!
- LAUGH! I hope you work somewhere as fun as I do and can laugh a TON with your fabulous co-workers! Find some fun friends outside of work that you can have a blast with as well! Go to a funny movie, anything that will make you laugh! It truly is the best medicine!
None of these are new ideas, and I know you’ve all heard them before. But maybe this is the one time you’ll take one of the suggestions to heart and change something in your lifestyle.
Feel free to share any tips you have to become a healthier Medic!