Understanding the Unique Challenges
As the festive season approaches, it’s essential to acknowledge the unique challenges faced by shift workers. While many enjoy the comfort of family gatherings and holiday festivities, shift workers often find themselves on the job, missing out on these cherished moments. This can lead to feelings of isolation and disconnection, magnifying the stress associated with irregular work hours.
Empathy: The First Step for Coaches
For health and wellness coaches, practicing empathy is the first step in supporting shift workers during this time. Recognizing and validating their feelings is crucial. It’s not just about missing a holiday dinner; it’s about a consistent pattern of sacrificing personal time for work responsibilities.
Practical Tips for Boosting Mood
- Encourage Connection in Alternative Ways: This can be very difficult because it never seems to be the same; however, working within the confines of doing what we can is crucial. Organizing a post-holiday get-together or connecting digitally with family during breaks can be a great way to share in the holiday festivities.
- Focus on Small Joys: Help shift workers find joy in the little things. This could be decorating their workspace, enjoying a festive treat, or listening to holiday music during their shift.
- Promote Self-Care: Emphasize the importance of self-care. This includes adequate sleep, healthy eating, treating yourself to something special, and including those mental health breaks.
- Be Mindful of Sleep: We know that sleep affects so much, not only energy levels and health but also mental health and emotional stability. When we don’t get enough sleep, it’s more challenging to manage our emotions. To learn more, download our copy of Coaching the Night Shift for some helpful sleep tips to offer clients.
- Offer Flexible Coaching Hours: Be available for your shift worker clients at unconventional times, showing that you understand and accommodate their unique schedules. Think about it: What would it be to offer just a few sessions in the early morning or late evening?
- Create a Supportive Community: Organize group sessions or online forums where shift workers can share their experiences and support each other.
Inclusivity in the Workplace
- Educate Employers: Work with organizations to help them understand the needs of their shift-working employees during the holidays. Encourage them to recognize their contributions, perhaps through holiday bonuses or thank-you notes. To learn more about some great gift ideas check out our blog post on the Must Have Gift Ideas for Shift Workers.
- Suggest Flexible Scheduling: Advocate for more flexible scheduling during the holiday season, allowing workers some leeway to participate in family activities.
- Promote Workplace Celebrations: Encourage inclusive celebrations at the workplace. This could mean holding a holiday party during a time when most shift workers can attend or having dedicated celebrations for individual shifts. Nothing is more disheartening than realizing the day shift had a fun holiday party and the evening and night shift with the soggy pizza that nobody had eaten 8 hours ago. Let’s be honest: if the day shift had a party, the leftovers went to the evening shift, and the night shift got hosed. This is typical and why it is so essential that we advocate for these shifts so that they get the same treatment as the day shifts.
Conclusion: A Collective Effort
The holiday season for shift workers doesn’t have to be a time of loneliness and exclusion. As coaches, we play a pivotal role in bridging this gap. By understanding their struggles, offering practical support, and advocating for workplace inclusivity, we can help make the holiday season brighter for those who keep our world running around the clock.
“I have never met a person who didn’t want to be healthy; I have met plenty who didn’t think healthy worked for them.” – Let’s ensure our shift workers know that health and wellness is for them, too, especially during the holidays.
If you want to learn more ways, you can download our copy of “Coaching the Night Shift.“