• 26 April 2021
  • 7 min read

Shift Work: Making The Most Of Your Time Off

  • Yvette Opoku
    School Nurse
    • Aubrey Hollebon
    • Mat Martin
    • Richard Gill
  • 0
  • 499
Play video: "We have to put our professional on pause so we can enjoy our personal."

Shift work can often leave you feeling run down and unable to really enjoy your time off. School Nurse, Yvette, explains how to switch off and enjoy yourself when you’re between shifts.

Topics covered in this article


Switching Off

Plan Your Days Off

Plan A Day For Self-Care

Learn Something New

Stay Connected To People

Prepare For The Next Morning


Hiya, my name's Yvette, and today I'm going to be talking to you about how to make the most of your time off when working shifts as a Nurse.

So let's get straight into it.

Switching Off

So first things first, you need to switch off.

Yes, switch off.

And when I say switch off, I mean switch off your role as a Nurse.

So, you have your personal and professional life.

And for now we have to put our professional on pause so we can enjoy our personal.

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As Nurses, it's so hard to switch off and actively practice self-care.

Oftentimes we find that self-care is actually reactive rather than implemented in our daily, everyday lives.

In order to make the most of your days off, you have to switch off.

Plan Your Days Off

Secondly, I would say plan your days off so they are productive.

So as you know, the saying goes, fail to plan, plan to fail.

So if you know you have things to do in a week, it's best to plan them across your days off.

But also there is a tip I'll give you.

You can actually implement some of these things you have planned on the days that you're working.

For example, if you have certain things to do that are not time restrictive, i.e. food shopping, then I would say, in order to make the most of your days off, I would do my food shopping after a shift.

Now you're probably thinking you're gonna be tired, but think of the benefits.

On your day off, you won't have to wake up so early to go and do food shopping, because you'll have done it the night before.

Now for the errands or things that you have to do that are time restricted, I will say, this is the moment where a checklist is perfect.

A checklist allows you to monitor what you have completed and what you haven't completed, therefore, allowing productivity, as your days are planned in advance.

Now, I know you might be thinking, why would I create a checklist when I've got a day off, when really all I wanna do is spend my time sleeping all day and resting?

Now, that is a good point actually.

You do require some lazy days.

However, in order to feel fulfilled, in let's say your personal life, it is very important to have productive days.

This also gives you something to look forward to when you're doing shift work and when you're actually not on annual leave yet.

Plan A Day For Self-Care

My next tip will be self-care.

Plan a day for self-care. Now a lot of the time people think, oh, self-care means, you know, getting a facial, getting your nails done, getting your feet done, getting your hair done.

But self-care simply comes down to what you enjoy.

What helps you relax.

And sometimes this can actually be just sitting in silence.

Sometimes you might find you want to sit in silence and you just want to reflect on how your week has gone so far.

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Or maybe what goals you want to achieve for the rest of the week or the rest of the month, or the rest of the year.

But one thing I will say is having a facial, relaxing, watching a movie, all those kinds of things contribute to self-care and can help support you in making the most of your days off.

Learn Something New

Another thing that you can consider is learning something new.

Now, this can be a new language, a new skill.

Learning how to cook a new dish.

And if you set yourself this every week or every two weeks, on your days off, then you feel a level of productivity, and therefore you are fulfilled in achieving those goals.

Also trying something you can also include, for example, if you decided to take a walk in order to make the most out of your day, try a different route.

Explore your area, explore the different facilities that are available in that area that can help support you make the most out of your day when you're off.

Also, it is nice to go out for fresh air simply because you're in a new scenery.

So you don't wanna find yourself where you're always either at work or at home.

Going out for fresh air, seeing different people.

Obviously now, I know we're in a pandemic, so you wouldn't be communicating with people directly.

However, seeing new faces as you take a stroll, with some fresh air blowing through your hair, will be perfect for making the most out of your day.

Now that takes me onto my next point.

Stay Connected To People

Communicate with someone, right?

It's very important to stay connected with our friends and family in order to feel productive.

Now, you might think why is a conversation gonna make me feel productive?

It simply supports you having interaction outside of the workplace.

You're able to catch up with your family members, catch up your friends, find out what's new, and also talk to them about maybe your interests of what you're thinking about doing and how they can support you with doing so.

Although communicating with your family and friends is very important and enhances productivity, you might find that not all your family and friends are off at the same time as you.

And this is where building successful healthcare relationships comes into place.

During the earlier parts of your day off you can communicate and meet up with fellow healthcare professionals who so happen to be off the same time as you.

This may not always be the case, but I'm sure you will find that within your healthcare professional support system, there'll be at least one person off at the same time.

Prepare For The Next Morning

And last but not least, my next tip will be prepare for the next morning.

Now I know you're probably thinking, my day off, why do I want to prep for the next day?

This simply allows productivity because number one, you're getting things on your checklist done, as you would include this on your checklist.

But most of all, you find that you're prepared for the next day.

So therefore this supports you in feeling uncomfortable when going to sleep, for example.

You won't be going to sleep stressing about if you've got everything ready for the next day, if you've packed your lunch, if you've packed all your bag properly, if you've packed your equipment for the next day, and you find you'll be rushing on the day that you're going back to work.

Or let's say the day that you're going out for an activity because it's another day off.

This will help you feel calm and relaxed.

It will help you get the best sleep that you need to on your day off.

I hope you got something from that and enjoyed this video.

See you!

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Do you have any questions for Yvette?

Ask Yvette your questions below

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  • Yvette Opoku
    School Nurse

About the author

  • Yvette Opoku
    School Nurse

Yvette is a qualified Nurse, formally working as a Neonatal Nurse, and Neonatal Junior Sister. Yvette now works as a School Nurse, and runs the ‘askNurse’ Instagram page.

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