By Gemma Raw
Do you struggle with the midweek slump? There are some simple ways you can avoid a dip in performance halfway through your working week.
Most of us feel tired and demotivated at work from time to time. But if you're a busy nurse, doctor or allied health professional, experiencing what's become known as the 'midweek slump' could seriously impact on the quality of care you can provide. When you're working in a frontline healthcare job, you owe it to your patients to look after yourself and guard against the risks associated with physical or emotional fatigue.
It's easier said than done, particularly if you work shift patterns, but getting a good night's sleep is still the best way to stay alert and productive at work. Lack of sleep can affect your cognitive ability, making it harder to concentrate, take decisions and react quickly. According to the USA's Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the absolute minimum anyone should sleep in any 24-hour period is five hours and most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night.
As the working week moves on and there are more demands on your time, it's tempting to skip meals or rely on convenience foods. Sticking to a balanced, healthy diet will help you feel better and maintain your energy levels.
Revisit your 'to do' list
Midway through the working week is a good time to review what you've achieved and set your goals for the next few days. Tick off all the completed tasks and prioritise the remainder in order of importance.
Whether you're a nurse, doctor or allied health professional, there will no doubt be some routine tasks that you enjoy doing more than others. If possible, why not them save those tasks for midway through your working week? That way you'll find it easier to stay motivated when the going gets tough. It also makes sense to do the more difficult or complex tasks during the morning when your energy and concentration levels are at their highest.
Take time out
In a challenging healthcare job, it's important to have some short rest breaks, particularly when you're at risk of feeling the effects of the midweek slump. Make sure you take time to briefly destress and refocus so that you can be at your most productive for the rest of your shift.
Do some exercise
It's natural to plan your weekly workout for the weekend or your day off when you have more time. However, it might be more beneficial to get at least some exercise midway through your working week. It will help you feel more healthy and energised.
The Royal College of Nursing's Healthy You campaign is aimed at helping nurses lead healthy lifestyles so they can maintain both physical and mental wellbeing. Find out more here.
The British Medical Association's wellbeing support services are available to all doctors and medical students. Find out more here.