Here’s my deal, I have a travel addiction and a low paid job which means I have to work 60 hour weeks. It’s not just me though, people work long hours for all sorts of reasons.
So if you’re part of the ’60 hour working week’ club like me I have 7 top tips for survival:
1. Get 8 hours sleep every night
This is number 1 for a reason, you’ve got to sleep! Sleeping is so essential for keeping up this considerably longer than average work week. I’ve been known to cancel plans with friends so I can get an early night and you know what?! I felt so better for it. Screw FMO, I’m 30 for goodness sake!
My mental health and physical health (in particular my IBS) really suffers when I don’t sleep well which results in anxiety attacks and tears as well as feeling physically unwell and no one wants that. So get your 8 hours a night and if you get the chance to have a lie in take it!
2. Don’t drink!
Not only does it save you money but it’s also really good for you. When you’re working 60 hour weeks you don’t have time to recover from a hangover. This means your hangover will last 4 days and it stops you from being the best version of you. I’ve been there and it’s not pretty!
I’m not saying don’t have fun but make your drinking nights when you have a day off the next day or if you do drink on a school night don’t mix your drinks and stay off the shots. Also, have your hangover cures prepared and in your work bag ready to go in the morning. Follow my advice on this and thank me later!
I know when you’re working 60 hour weeks food and meal planning quickly drops on the list of priorities. The best advice I can give is find quick and easy food to eat and prepare that you enjoy eating and stick to it. Mine are tinned soup, mini apples, blueberries, grapes, stir-fry, breakfast biscuits and beans on toast. Makes all 3 meals doable to eat in amongst a busy day. I also only take healthy food to work(most of the time) so if I want something naughty in the evening I can let myself have it ‘semi-guilt free’.
If you have time on your day off take 2 hours to prepare a nice meal with loads of vegetables and make mountains of it. Or at least enough for 4/5 meals worth. My favourites are chilli and spaghetti bolognaise.
Of course no one is perfect and we have our weeks when all we eat is crap but try not to be too hard on yourself when you do. Just eat, hide or give away all the bad food in your house then get back on the healthy horse.
4. Have at least 1 day off a week
You really need to have at least 1 day off a week! If you don’t you’ll burn out, have a breakdown and then you won’t be able to work at all. Your day off is a chance to lie in and catch up on any sleep you’ve missed, do life admin and most importantly have some down time. Here is a typical day off for me:
10am – get up. Have a lazy morning in-front of the TV whilst doing life admin on my phone and put a wash on
1pm – go for coffee or lunch with a friend and whilst I’m in town do any errands I need to do
3pm – come home to do meal prep and finish doing washing
6pm – watch TV and relax before settling down for an early night
I try and get out walking a couple of times a month on my days off just because nature is just so bloody good for me! My walks aren’t long or gruelling by any means. It’s my 1 day off and I’m not going to make myself suffer. I opt for short strolls and I take lots of photos to feed my photography passion.
However, sometimes life happens and I don’t get to enjoy my typical day off but that’s ok, because life is never straight forward which is the beauty of it.
Everyone is unique and your day off is going to look a lot different to mine. Just make sure your day off involves some down time and self-care and it’ll be great. Which brings me nicely on to top tip number 5…
5. Have down time
Let’s be honest after working a 10-12 hour shift you’re not going to be fit to do much so don’t beat yourself up when all you want to do is put something in the microwave and curl up on the sofa. It is so important to be able to switch off and relax after work in order to re-energise for the next day. This is very much a kettle, pot, black(classic expression from my mum) moment because the amount of times I’ve planned to get loads done after work and failed then beaten myself up for it is unreal.
So I still feel like I’m working on my goals I work on them on my commute to work or on my break at work. I learn French, listen to podcasts, edit photos, keep my Instagram updated and do life admin in this time.
By doing this or something similar that fits in with your life, you can go to work, work on your goals and still squeeze in that all important down time.
6. Have something to look forward to
This is another biggie! If you’re going to work crazy hours you need something to look forward to otherwise you’ll become weary and negative.
I work long hours to fund my travels and right now I’m looking forward to a city break in Italy for 5 days at the end of July for my birthday and a big backpacking trip to Colombia for 3 weeks in September. This is the carrot I dangle in front of myself every time I’m grumpy and don’t want to go to an overtime shift and it works!
7. Keep your life drama free
This is my last piece of advice but some would argue that it’s the most important…
As you will agree working 60 hour weeks take a lot of physical and mental energy. This means you don’t need unnecessary drama wearing you down because trust me it will!
So with that in mind surround yourself with family and friends who are good for your mental health, date people who only add value to your life and keep your zen. I know this is a huge statement to make and there’s a lot of ‘what if’s’ but it is possible if you stay focused.
I mean don’t get me wrong staying focussed is by no means easy and I’ve gotten myself distracted by unnecessary drama and lost my focus many times. But when I’ve re-realized my goals and what’s important I’ve gotten back on the horse and felt better for it.
So these are my 7 ‘not so simple’ steps to holding your shit together whilst working 60 hour weeks.
It’s not easy or straight forward in the slightest and there’s some weeks when none of this advice plays out in my own life and I feel horrendous for it. But on the weeks when I make some or all of these 7 pieces of advice happen in my life I feel confident, empowered, strong and bloody amazing!
Let me know in the comments what you think.