Saturday, 19 January 2013

No fancy titles: I'm just tired

Before you read on, please know that I’m writing this post from Cranky-ville tonight.  So if you’re needing a Rainbow Brite-esque post, maybe wait till my next one.  I’ll also be honest from the outset, this is going to be a bit of a whingey post.  But it’s my blog and I’ll whinge if I want to. ;)

I’m really, really tired.

This shift work is driving me nuts.  Regular shift workers, how do you do this all the time??

I’ve worked for 2 weeks straight now without a day off – and tonight is my 8th graveyard/moonlight/overnight shift in a row.  One more to go tomorrow.  I can’t remember when my last exercise rest day was – I think it was also 2 weeks ago.  And I’ve had a stressful week.  And these things are messing with everything health!

I think I was coping ok with the work factor because I thought I had a day off today.  But last night that changed and I have now 2 more days before I get a day off.  It’s such a little thing but it disheartened me.  But the main issue is the time I am working.  I’m not coping working overnights anymore.  I’ve never done it before, this is all new to me.  This is how my last 8 days has gone:

  • Go to work at 9pm.
  • I love my job but the circumstances at the moment are difficult.  I’m sitting in a room with 1 other person, monitoring and reporting through the night.  The light in our office turns off every 10 minutes.  It gets to the point where we can’t be bothered to stand up every 10 minutes, so we let it turn off and we work only by PC and projector screen lights for the night.
  • Because this is a special project / not the norm, we have catering.  So I have access to unlimited free food – people offering to do runs to takeaway shops, fridges stocked full of high cal meals, baked treats from my workmates wives etc.  I have not eaten one thing on offer – I have brought my own food each day, but it’s hard.
  • Around midnight, my work colleague says that he’s really hot (we have air con), and he turns the fan on.  I am so cold it’s ridiculous.  I’ve been wearing 3 jumpers to try and stay warm and even then am still cold and uncomfortable.  One night I went to get a picnic blanket out of my car to wrap around me.  I did say something once but it continues – is this me not standing up for myself?  I don’t know, I’m too tired to consider this. ;)
  • Around 2am-4am, in the dark and wearing multiple jumpers, I start falling asleep because I didn’t get enough sleep during the day.  Each night I do that quick fall-asleep-and-wake-up-head-nod thing, multiple times.  I’ve started talking and reporting while I’ve been semi-asleep and that’s scared me.  So then I get up and go for sprints down the work hallways or do squats in the bathroom to try and wake up.
  • Between 4am-5am I pep up.  I don’t get a break and often have to stay back to train someone or do a handover.
  • Then I change into my training gear and go to training – generally boot camp.
  • Between boot camp and when I have to go back to work, I have stuff I have to get done and I try and sleep, but I am struggling.  I get between 2 and 5 hours a day.  I’m used to only having 4-5 hours a night usually, but for some reason this week that isn’t enough.  I’m waking up confused, I don’t know what day it is, or whether it’s AM or PM, and I’m finding it difficult to sleep for longer.
  • I then go to work at 9pm.
  • Repeat.

My nutrition is all over the place.  I am proud to say I have been eating perfectly – I have not deviated once in the last 2 weeks.  I have eaten completely clean.  But when I eat is hard.  I’ve tried swapping it around so I have breakfast as I start work etc. but it’s then hard to stomach salads and Penang Chicken at 4am.  My mind still knows what time of the day it is.  So I’ve been eating clean, but not well.

I used to struggle with why training rest days are important.  I never really believed that they were necessary.

They are.

I’ve noticed that the last few days, my mind is tired from work/not sleeping, and my body is tired from training every day, that I haven’t been giving everything I’ve got.  I’ve had DOMS from the run on Sunday too, so it hurts.  I’ve literally just been going through the motions – not going hard out like I used to / like to – there’s nothing left in the tank and I didn’t even care.  I realised that today.  I was doing sprints at boot camp – actually let me re-phrase that: I was supposed to be doing sprints, and I was lightly jogging.  I was tired and just couldn’t put my all into it – there was nothing left.  I finally realised then that this is why rest days are important and I decided to take one tomorrow and skip boot camp.

I’ve been dropping things before going to bed, I haven’t been myself, I’ve been crying myself to sleep, I even burst into tears on my scales today.  For no reason!  It’s not even weigh in day.  I never cry on the scales – I can weigh myself daily and not have it affect me – but today?  I haven’t seen or spoken to my friends and family for ages.  My life was highly disorganised before and now it’s even worse.  I’m walking around like a zombie.  I’ve been doing heaps of awful self talk to myself, feeling fat and looking fat.  I’ve had a very distressing personal circumstance this week.  Because I’m working overnight, I can’t do my normal incidental walks during the day- I could do them I guess, but I prefer it when they’re incidental.  So this annoys me.


I think I’d be coping better if I had a routine – well, a routine that didn’t involve shivering 3am sprints and afternoon tears.

I'm also getting really strangely reflective and emotional about next week.  The 24th January will be 1 year since my life changed.  It's not my health anniversary of my weight loss, I started 12WBT and losing weight in June - but January indirectly was the catalyst for this and so much more.  This is the day everything changed.  I didn't think it'd affect me so much but I can't stop thinking about it.  I want to mark it somehow and I have this weird idea to pierce my ears?  I already have 2 holes in each ear but I think I want a 3rd?  It's a really weird thing to do, I know.

Maybe me wanting to pierce my body is subconsciously symbolic of the 1-25 needles I had to get weekly for 8 months last year?  It's also my birthday the week after and I don't know how to celebrate it and that's making me anxious.  I do this every year, I have no idea what to do and end up making great plans.  It's just the lead up that I'm in indesicive dick about.  Last year I spent the night leading into my birthday in hospital and although I got released in the early hours of the morning and got to go out for breaky, lunch and dinner, I spent the whole day exhausted, shaky and overwhelmed.  So whatever I do this year will beat that, I am sure. :) 

So that’s all.  It’ll all sort out and things will change – I should have a day off in 2 days time from work, the weird shifts should stop or calm down too – and tomorrow is now a rest day.  One of my trainers lent me a foam roller and resistance band so I’ll do some stretching and just continue to do the best I can with what I have to do.  I'll work out the anniversary and birthday stuff.  And the other stuff will work out.  It’ll all be ok.  I guess this has just shown me how important sleep is.  It can hold (or unravel) everything and things seem easier and clearer when we've had enough.  I can’t think straight without it so will get back to you once I’ve had a catch up sleep. I think I just needed to whinge.  Thanks for hearing my complaining out. :)

On a brighter note, here's a link to my entry for the weekly challenge this week, it's a 1min. video with the theme of making the 'impossible', 'possible'.  Hopefully it works.  Enjoy x


  1. Oh you poor girl. You need some sleep, stat! ! Do you have a nice cool dark room to sleep in during the day? I'd try going straight home from work, having a very light meal and short wind down, then straight to bed. Then do exercise and errands when you've had some sleep.

    1. Thanks Andrea <3 I have a cool room but not a dark one but that's ok coz I fall straight to sleep anyway. Thanks heaps for the tips, I had a great sleep today :)

  2. From someone who works permanent nights (7 on 7 off) I hear you! I am currently on 9 weeks leave and love how I feel. I am not tired and cranky or just feeling so overwhelmed by everything.

    I find for me, its better to stay up until lunchtime or even better about 3 before I go to bed - I sleep much better - but then I don't start until 10:30pm. As for food, its still trial and error. Mostly I have my main meal about 2am, a snack before I go to bed and a big breakfast (my favourite is the breakfast burrito) when the others eat dinner. You have done so well eating clean through all this! That is the hardest for me - I just want to graze :)

    You should be proud of what you have achieved - it isn't easy but you are doing it and enjoy your rest day.

    1. Hiya, wow 7 nights on permanently, I feel for you! Interesting you feel better having a break when you're used to it - it sounds like it can get to the best of us. Good idea re going to bed afterwards, I guess that's what I do when I work day time - I work, then other stuff, then sleep, then straight to work.

      Thanks - the eating has been hard but I have managed somehow :) Thanks heaps I have definitely enjoyed my rest day :) Thanks for your comment x

  3. Katie - can I just say that this is crap. It's unfair to expect you to work like this without a break. I used to be a nurse, and the nights were the reason I left nursing because as much as I loved it, I was simply a dangerous person on the ward on night shifts, and I couldn't imagine the repurcussions if something had happened.

    GOOD ON YOU for your eating. I totally get how hard it is to eat on nights. For me, I found snacking really helped keep my energy up, ensured I was eating appropriate calories and good foods, and it helped a lot.

    big hugs. It's nearly over xo

    1. Thanks hon....yep the no break thing is hard - it's sitting for 8 hours straight, no wonder I take so many bathroom and drink breaks to get up and about. Thanks for the idea re snacking, I did that tonight and it seems better. Yep its almost over, I am hanging out for normality that's for sure. Thanks for your comment :) xxxx

  4. Agree with Kylie. Shift work sucks. You are sleep deprived.

    Maybe try not eating "meals" as such, just work out a series of snacks you can munch on that will add up to your daily nutrition totals. And don't train every day. I know it's easier for me because I only do 1-2 nights a week but I don't train before/after night duty. It messes with my body clock.

    Take care. It's a short term thing remember. It will all be done with soon. If you need me you know where to find me. <3

    1. Thankyou :) Thanks for the idea re the no 'meals', I've tried that tonight and it seems better, I'm more hungry to eat snacks so I'm looking forward to eating. I've been gagging on some food as I just can't stomach 'normal' foods in the middle of the night. Snacks within total cals seem to be the way to go.

      Yep I am definitely lucky that it's almost over. I take my hats completely off to you guys who do this often, even 1-2 nights a week would be hard. I slept for 7 hours today so feel a lot better for it.

      Thanks so much <3 xxooo

  5. I used to take a bunch of snacks to get me through a night duty through the night. Cans of tuna, Chopped up veges with tzatziki, yoghurt and muesli for when the sun made and appearance, I usually did start the night with something dinner like.
    There is a light at the end of the tunnel and you have not eaten rubbish. HUGE WIN! Well done.
    Sending lots of well slept thoughts your way

    1. Thanks Bek :) Great idea there, I like that. I cooked a breakfast meal even though it felt like dinner when I woke up and I could stomach that so that worked well - it was like my breakfast at a 'usual' 'dinner' time so I went with that.

      Thanks - tonight was hard when my colleagues ate Maccas in the tiny room we're in ahhhh! But I stuck to my rice crackers and water. Definite win :)

      Thanks heaps for your lovely comment :) xx