In our field, shift work is part of life. It is the inevitable consequence of offering services 24-7. Fortunately or unfortunately, it is becoming more and more common in our society, prompting plenty of research and suggestions.
Just like other strategies we have subscribed to our survival, this phenomenon is one that has to be approached and applied with the same amount of interest and intensity.
The tips provided may be as crucial as a protective vest or your professional perceptive skills. Uniquely, they are not only limited in helping you, but can also provide assistance for those around you.
The following five suggestions are for you and yours.
First, and foremost, you need to sleep. The time selected may be unique, but proper sleep is an essential part of life. Those around you must share in the understanding and the value of the activity.
Second, just like your occupation, planning is critical. Winston Churchill said long ago, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail”! We’re surrounded by non-planners. Make it a Lesson Learned experience and enhance the effort by engaging in with interest and intensity.
Third, just because your schedule has become a “new normal”, don’t forget the old one most people experience. Take time off like everyone else. Smell the roses and don’t forget to plant a few in the process!
Fourth, if you must face a problem, if possible delay it for your day off. Most of the time, it will still be there.
Finally, remember life is short, extend it or at least enhance it with active exercise, healthy eating, and rewarding relationships. We already give so much as part of our occupation. Realize, that’s more than enough. Put yours efforts where they belong . . . in a prioritized, preserved, and precious place.
Sure, the occupation we engage in is at times unhealthy, unnatural, and unappreciated. But peace officers are sworn to serve to the best of their ability for a specific period. Service shouldn’t be confused with duty. And once that service is over, we should extend it to the real duty to those most valuable and viable in our lives.