Some shifts are longer than others—even if the hours aren’t any different. There are certainly going to be days where you don’t feel like you have the energy you need to get through your shift. But don’t worry: we’ve got the quick fixes when a good night’s sleep or a fly-by shift isn’t a guarantee!
If you’re at your wit’s end and you don’t feel like you have the energy to make it through today or tomorrow’s shift, try out a couple of these tips, and see just how much energy you’ve really got tucked away! Stay motivated, and always remember, that you can make it through.
An Apple a Day Keeps The Tired Away
Sometimes when a cup of coffee just isn’t cutting it any more, your best bet is actually an apple. Loaded with natural sugar and healthy vitamins, apples have always been a great source of alternative energy and a naturally great snack!
They’re quick to eat and will help you to feel better almost instantly. They’re also something that’s easy to put down and keep coming back to if you don’t have the chance to sneak away for more than a few seconds at a time.
Pull-up Bar in the Back
Exercise is a great way to give yourself an energy boost. And while your manager may not be cool with you stealing away for an hour at Planet Fitness, you’ve still got some options for fitness on the fly.
For one, try a pull up bar in the back room! On those few seconds of break that you may get from a customer, try banging out a few sets up pull-ups—or even just drop and give yourself 10 pushups! It’ll get your blood pumping and help you to feel like you’ve got some of your stamina back—all hopefully without breaking too much of a sweat!
Small Snacks, No Meals
We all have the habit of forgetting to eat before a shift and then scaring during that 20-or-so-minute break. That’s bad news for your energy, though. A big meal in the middle of your shift might feel great in the moment, but it’s ultimately going to just slow you down.
Try instead to grab some small snacks on natural breaks during your shift. Don’t spend 15 minutes eating a big sandwich, but just keep quelling your appetite with healthy bites of almond, fruit or a protein bar
Carbs Aren’t Always The Enemy
OK, well depending on your dietary restrictions, that may actually not be the case. But for those of us who can handle a few carbs, you should! Especially if you’re expecting a long shift tomorrow, try having a more carb-heavy meal like pasta the night before.
Skeptical? It’s what marathon runners do! It’s a great way to store up a lot of energy that you can expend over a longer period of time. Just don’t get bogged down with too much bread and wine in the process.
Please. In fact, most of us mistake dehydration for feelings of hunger. When you hydrate, and replenish your body with those extremely necessary electrolytes, you’re giving yourself the most basic and helpful fuel on the market.
Staying hydrated affects almost every area of your health and energy. If you’re ignoring this basic fact, then you’re setting yourself up for a miserable shift.
Protect Your Skin
The sun can seriously drain your energy. If you’re spending a lot—or even part of—your shift outside, especially during these long summer days, then you’re sure to be a victim of the sun’s energy-draining powers.
Your first and best defense is to cover that skin up. While a little vitamin D is always welcome, you have to be sure that you’re well blocked from those harmful UV rays. No matter how much sun exposure you’re getting, it’s good idea to lather on some SPF 50 to maximize your stamina under the world’s tanning lamp.
Stay Busy & Focused
Set small goals for yourself throughout your shift, so that you don’t end up too focused on how tired you are or how many more hours until you can clock out.
Start with tasks like getting through a big re-stock or helping out a few specific tables. When you take it one step at a time, you are using the energy you have to focus on the task at hand—rather than worrying about how to stretch out your energy for the next few hours.
Create a Friendly Competition
Nothing gives you a boost quite like your pride. If you can create a small, friendly competition between coworkers, that can often be enough to get you the energy you need to finish a shift. Come up with something to keep you and your coworkers motivated, like a “who can serve the most customers” competition, or a race to see who gets the best tips.
Not only do these competitions help to keep your eyes off the clock, but they’ll ultimately make you a better worker—just don’t let your drive for competition get in the way of good customer service.
Cut Out Nighttime Caffeine Boosts
If you’re in the habit of drinking a cup of coffee towards the end of your shift: stop now. Nighttime caffeine boosts may make sense in the moment, but they’re ultimately hurting your ability to get a good night’s rest, which is probably hurting your performance and energy levels for your next shift.
Make sure to use a variety of energy boosting tricks, instead of relying on one. Different ideas work better at different times—and caffeine at night? That’s a bad deal for everyone.
Spread Out Your Breaks
If you can, spreading out your breaks may help take the edge off a lengthy shift. Instead of having one break right in the middle of two large multi-hour blocks, try taking a five-minute break every hour. It’ll help you to compartmentalize the long hours of your shift.
Finally there’s always the tried and true power nap. Even just 10-15 minutes can significantly improve your awareness levels, and help you to stay sharp. This might require an understanding manager or a nice nook in the back room. But if you need it, try it.
Having enough energy at work is a must, so do what you have to do to stay awake. In the end, it’s about being the best worker you can be.