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How to stay healthy during graveyard shifts
December 7, 2007

If you try searching for "How to stay healthy during graveyard shifts" on Google, the results are overwhelming. You've got a bunch of a Yahoo! Answers entries, and a myriad of articles and blogs about it. Needles to say, this is a huge concern, especially with the increasing popularity of call centers.

I find that the following tips really help:

1. Drink lots of water.
Whenever you feel a little parched, take a swig of water. Based on personal experience, I get thirstier as the hours roll by. Stick to water as your beverage. Anything with sugar or caffeine is not going to help (let me tell you that the sugar rush is not a pretty feeling)

2. Eat healthy.
I know, it's better said than done. When you start to get the hunger pang, it's always easier to just head to the convenience store and buy yourself a cup of instant noodles. But a little effort really goes a long way. Try packing yourself a nice healthy sandwich, with fresh tomatoes and lettuce. Or, if you're too busy, you'll most likely find a nearby place that serves healthier options than instant noodles and potato chips.

3. Take a minute off.
And I mean it even in a literal sense. Just closing your eyes for a minute or two, massaging your temples, and taking a deep breath can do wonders for you. Studies show that looking at calm and cool colors like the color green can also help.

4. Hello Mr. Sun!
It's good to get some sun every now and then! So go out of your artificially lit cubicle and take a short walk outside under the sun. Studies show that the sun is hottest between 11 am and 3 pm so try to soak up some sun before or after that interval. Everyone here in the Philippines must know how scorching the early afternoon sun can be.

5. Get a GOOD sleep.
Did you ever experience, back when you had the privilege of going to late night parties, the lousy feeling you get when you wake up the next day at 3 pm in the afternoon (even minus the booze)? Did you ever wonder why sleeping for 12 long hours from 3 am to 3pm doesn't help you wake up refreshed?

That's because it's not so much the length of your sleep that's important. It's the quality of sleep that really determines how you're going to feel when you wake up. Once you get home from the call center, relax yourself, leave all thoughts of work behind, build a "before sleep" routine to get you in the snooze mood and get some valuable shut eye. It's also important to keep your room dark to fool your body into thinking that it's night time.

An uninterrupted sleep will make for a bright and bushy you the next day.

6. Music is life.
Bring your headphones and listen to some upbeat tunes. My pick? Orson and Maroon5 ;)

7. Chat with your officemates.
Who says work at the call center has to be boring? Make friends with your fellow colleagues. Chat every now and then. You'll find a lot of great friends in the workplace and they'll help you stay sane throughout the shift. Sync your schedules with each other so you can hang out after sleep like normal people do. Speak Filipino with them and relax your tongue from the intense English speaking workout you get in the call center.

8. Retail therapy, anyone?
Shopping during your free time every now and then never hurt anyone. Try it :) Just don't do it too much because it will hurt the wallet ;)


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