5 tips for tackling an unstructured work schedule

An unstructured work schedule, also referred to as shift work could mean working 6 am-2 pm one day and a night shift the next. Whether you’re a midwife or a lorry driver, this type of routine can have adverse effects on the mind, body and general health. As these tend to obstruct night routines, sleep patterns and eating habits, workers can often feel run down, disorganised or physically unfit. With rotas changing and no week being the same, this makes it incredibly difficult for employees to plan their weeks, including social time, relaxation, sleep, exercise and meals. If you’re currently working an unstructured schedule and want to improve your health and lifestyle, here are 5 simple tips to help you get on the right path!

Create a nighttime routine

Although part of an unstructured work life, creating a nighttime routine which suits you is key to making sure you are having moderate sleep quantity and sleep quality. Most weeks will be different in terms of sleep and waketime, however, having common steps and habits each day will help you to wind down and get good sleep, whether that’s at 11 pm or 4 am. This routine could include things such as limited screen time, reading, a bath or shower or creating a cosy atmosphere to rest in. 

Maintain a healthy diet 

Due to limited time and organisation, it’s easy to abandon healthy eating and nutrition. After a long night shift, the last thing someone wants to do is go home and cook themselves a meal, so might opt for a quick takeaway or nothing at all. But getting into the habit of eating poorly will leave your body tired, weak and generally unhealthy. Here are a few easy ways to maintain a healthy diet whilst working shifts or awkward work patterns. 

  • Meal prep at the start of every week 
  • Have your hot meal for lunch instead of dinner 
  • Have a stash of healthy snacks 
  • Invest in daily vitamins 
  • Drink plenty of water 
  • Opt for simple, quick meals

Making sure what you’re eating is healthy and beneficial, all comes down to organisation. Making your diet a priority will keep you energised, fit, well-nourished and healthy in terms of immunity and illness. Got into the habit of getting a takeaway after your shift? Here are some of the negative effects of junk food. 

Make time for socialising and leisure 

Many people find it difficult to create a work-life balance, especially those who don’t have a solid routine. But making sure to make time for friends, family, hobbies and leisure is key for physical and mental health. Most workplaces will release weekly or even monthly shift patterns sometime in advance, so taking note and working around this will ensure you have plans and events other than work! It’s also super important to make use of holiday allowances and make sure you’re getting everything you’re entitled to in terms of time off, break times and employee benefits. 

Regular exercise 

An unhealthy lifestyle and limited exercise combined with shift work could increase the likelihood of sleep disorders, sleep loss, weight gain, or more serious health conditions. Regular exercise doesn’t mean going to the gym for an hour 5 days a week. You can improve your fitness by spending just 30 minutes a day on simple activities such as housework and walking. As unscheduled work could leave you with limited daytime, finding time to exercise can be difficult. However, planning your time efficiently will ensure you find opportunities to stay active, whether that’s playing sports on a Sunday or going for a walk on your lunch break. 

Create a relaxing home environment

Designing and creating a relaxing and enjoyable home environment can have a number of positive effects on your mental well-being, sleep quality and health. Investing in your home will create a space for you to enjoy, unwind in and forget about work stresses. Many people also comment on the idea that your living space is a reflection of your mind, so if you’re feeling stressed, tired and unorganised, this will show through your home or bedroom. On the flip side, creating a space which is calm, clean and methodical will keep your mind balanced and peaceful. 

Staying healthy with Optml

An uncheduled routine can leave you feeling lathargic, fatigued and lacking in the health department.

Optml is a two-step supplement consisting of Rise and Rest, that can help you to feel more alert in your waking life, and more rested in the evening so you will benefit from a restorative night’s sleep.

In combination, Optml can help bring your energy levels up to scratch so that you feel healthier, happier not to mention more productive in your everyday life.