There seems to be a trend of discussing work for the last few blog posts and I’m okay with that. Today’s will be all about survival tips for the night shift mama.
As many of you know, I am a night shift nurse.
Have been since I started as a nurse, and honestly outside of maybe having my own patients one day, I don’t think I would ever be any other shift.
I like the night shift.
I love the way the unit is so quiet in the middle of the night.
The way that the patients feel safe enough to sleep knowing they are cared for is amazing to me.
And honestly, I can’t leave this little fact out, I like the night shift differential pay.
Hey, I’m just being honest.
However, there are many parts of the night shift that I do not like.
Completely jacked up sleep schedule.
Missing out on major events and activities.
And most importantly, not being able to cuddle with my baby at night.
This mix of the good and bad can take a toll on anyone but especially a mama.
But you know what I’m going to say…
You can’t let it.
You have to use that good ‘ol mindshift switch and self care routines that I always talk about to find beauty amongst the chaos.
Here’s my top 5 survival self care tips for the night shift mama:
- Use grace. This is important in everything but especially for working night shift. You won’t make it to every soccer practice, to every night time bath, or or even to the morning wake ups, and that is okay. Give yourself grace to understand that missing things sometimes is okay and though you won’t be there for everything, the moments you are there for, you can make absolutely magical. This use of grace will allow yourself to truly enjoy night shift, and the perks that come with it.
- Sleep. PLEASSEEE I am begging you do not take this lightly. As a mom I know it is so easy to just think well I’ll take a little nap when I get home and then you hear the kids cry or wine for something and you wake up immediately and take over. Or you get home and realize the house wasn’t cleaned the night before so you immediately start. STOP THIS. And don’t worry I’m mostly yelling at myself as I write this sentence. Your body literally depends on sleep. We need it mama!! So do yourself (and your body) a favor and take the nap, take the extra hour, take what you need.
- Drink water. Okay, another yelling at myself session here. Our bodies need water just as much as it needs sleep. I mean the statement “your body is made up of 60% water” is not a hoax. It’s true. And flipped work hours puts stress on your body, stress on your body uses up more energy and depletes the water already in your body, in order to keep your body from being dehydrated you have to fill it. Fill it with what? Water. Drink it mama.
- Take a walk. Y’all know I have been on my grounding tip like this whole month. Let me tell you why; because it has CHANGED. THE. GAME. As a night shift work I’m sure you and the sun barely get some quality time as it is. I mean hello, you guys are literally on opposite schedules. Getting some outside time in after work is imperative! It is literally a new part of my routine and I am loving it. It allows me to decompress, increase my heart work (hello exercise cheat code) and to connect with nature aka increasing my emotional wellness at the same time. I promise you this simple grounding routine trick will elevate your mood immensely.
- Chat session. This one is specifically for my nurse mamas but I am sure it works for non healthcare related stressful night shift days too. When working night shift, especially in the ER, there are no such things as the pastor/ priest or social worker overnight to help you reset after a tragedy or rough night. If you want access to these things then you have to wake up early in the day time (which is hard when you’re already off schedule) and head into the office on a day off and have these conversations. It’s a lot of loops and holes just to get mental health assistance. But honestly, your mental health is too important to just NOT have these conversations. This is where other co workers or therapists come in handy. Find time outside of work to digest situations with your co-workers to help with your mental state. Within HIPPAA guidelines of course. Sign up and talk with a therapist (the online ones are amazing) and allow yourself the space to free these things from your mind. It’s not only necessary for your mental capacity but for your physical health too. Remember, we can’t hold in any more stress. See number three for reference.
Working night shift is very hard, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. You can absolutely survive! But, like I alway say, you just need the right tools in your self care work belt.
Take care of you too mama,