Shift Focus was borne out of a life of frustration, fatigue, and desperation so common in people who work shift work.
We are a couple who have been working as paramedics for the past 15 years. That has meant 15 years of day, afternoon and night shifts. Most of our shift work has been on a rotating pattern of what is known as four on, four off. In reality, working a night shift that finishes even hours into your first day off, means it's more like three and a half days off. The first day is usually a write off.
The pattern for us has generally been 38-40 hours over two days, two nights and 3 and a half days off, or two days, an afternoon and a night followed by days off. While those might seem dreamy (pun intended) shifts, the hours worked and the fact about 50 percent of our shifts run past our finish time, reality is far more exhausting.
Initially, shift work was no problem for either of us. In fact the lifestyle and the hours suited us perfectly. There were plenty of days off to recover from shifts, but we didn't always use those days to their full recovery potential. We would often find ourselves preparing to go back after days off and wondering how 'four' days went so fast! We would also burn the candle at times, often working overtime on those days off, or occasionally driving to the airport or the hiking trail on the morning after our night shift and heading off for four days of adventure under less than ideal recovery conditions.
As children entered the picture and age, both physical age and our age in terms of years working shifts, started to catch up with us, we noticed that we were struggling. Struggling to recover and enjoy our time off, and struggling to put together four days of high quality performance and thinking while we were at work. It all culminated in one of us going to a psychologist, being told that without at least six weeks off all work to rewire our bodies and our minds, and reset our rhythms, we were heading for potential life altering, or ending, consequences. Despite being fit and healthy, and even running marathons (well, one of us anyway), the shift hours were starting to destroy us. We were both miserable and it was affecting the most important thing in our lives: Our relationships with each other and our children.
With this wake up call, both of us entered into an extensive program of trial and error to retrain ourselves to cope with shift work that comes with the jobs we are so passionate about. It just happened to coincide with COVID, the busiest and most intense time either of us have been through in our careers. If ever there was a time to improve our lives, it had to be then.
We trialed sleeping patterns, we trialled curtains, masks, supplements and behaviours. We even enlisted the help of a Shift Work Coach. Eventually we came out the other side and we are thriving on shift work now. Our relationship has never been better, our work life balance is amazing and our lives are richer and more rewarding.
That leads us here. To Shift Focus. We want to help you to live your best life as a Shift Worker. It's such a curse that the jobs most aligned with shift work can often be the most rewarding, while they punish you beyond measure at the same time. You can only give so much, no matter how much you love a job.
Come on board as we try to help you and improve your lives as Shift Workers, we hope to help with products and advice that has helped us thrive in our work. We have never coped with shifts better than we have in the past 18 months and we are so excited to think we can help other people in our situation. Join us on the ride, it's time to Shift Focus back to where it belongs. On you.