As I coach different people, I get to know a lot about their work and their lifestyles: how many of them have dual jobs and are bone-tired at the end of the day, how they feel they do not have the time to eat healthy or to work out, or how they wish they could spend more time with their loved ones. BPO employees and other night-shifters, in particular, face challenges that many of us don’t have to deal with: their body clocks are topsy-turvy, they don’t see a lot of sun except on weekends, they’re asleep while their loved ones are awake and awake while their families sleep, restaurants are closed when they’re just about to have lunch, and all that.
But as with most situations, there are things under your control that you can act on, and things outside your control that you probably shouldn’t stress too much about. Here are some lifestyle tips for the nocturnal:
- Identify good food sources, and make baon when you can. Not everything is closed past 9pm. Explore your neighborhood and identify which restos that serve decent ulam and vegetables are open ‘til late. Do not default to fast food. If there really aren’t a lot of choices, then doing some food prep on your off days is your best bet. Chop up some firm vegetables that you can easily stir-fry before you get out of the house or pack some pre-washed vegetables so all you need to buy is your choice of meat/fish/seafood. Bring along nuts or cheese or hard-boiled eggs to snack on, and you should be ok. Drink lots of water throughout the day.
- Move as much as possible. You’re likely spending a whole lot of time sitting down, so at every possible opportunity, stand and walk.
- Make plans for off days. Especially if this is the only time you get to spend with family, make sure it’s worth it! Make weekends an event you look forward to by putting even just simple plans in place, such as preparing a healthy home-cooked meal, spending time at the park, or playing sports. Don’t just crash on the couch all day; make the time count!
- Get some quality sleep. Many of you are probably already using black-out curtains to help you get some sleep while it’s light outside. But try as well to minimize stimulation from your devices and social media and thus avoid blue light before you sleep so that your body knows it’s time for bed.
- Get some sun when you can. The sun is still your best source of Vitamin D which helps in calcium absorption, regulating insulin function and many other benefits. It’s also a natural energizer, so the earlier you can get in some exposure, even just 10-15 minutes, the better.