The days blend, the nights feel like the days. Weekends are spent catching up on sleep. If you work a late shift or the overnight shift, you can relate. One of the biggest challenges is staying awake while driving home from work alone. Sleep is a valuable luxury that "normal" people get to enjoy. And what about your personal safety? When the clock says 3:30am, it is usually not a safe time to be out and about or getting off of work. So what steps can you take to help ensure your personal safety? What are the best ways to empower yourself? Let us guide you through some of the best choices. Regardless of the hour, it's best to keep safety in focus.
Sometimes it doesn't matter if you work in a safe neighborhood or not, most of us rightfully get concerned about getting home alone in the dark. If you have to do it, here are some personal safety tips.
- Check in with family and/or friends. Make sure someone knows your schedule and when you anticipate leaving. Staying in constant communication will serve as an alert if something is out of the ordinary.
- If your work provides on-site security guards, use them. An escort to your car or the public transportation pick-up spot is a good idea.
- Keep your phone and keys handy, along with a personal safety device. A personal alarm can clip right to your keys, along with a pocket pepper spray from Mace® Brand.
- Stay alert - skip the AirPods and keep your head up. Staring at your phone while walking or riding on a train or bus may be entertaining to you, but it makes you less able to respond quickly if needed.
For your personal safety, keep a cell phone charger, a change of clothes, and an extra pair of shoes in your car. Depending on the season and where you live, your Dad's advice of packing boots, a coat with gloves, and a snow shovel makes sense. You just never know. There is safety in being prepared.
REMEMBER YOUR HEALTH
Whether you work in a factory, a bar, or a hospital, it's important to prioritize sleep. You're more likely to make mistakes if you're tired and worn out. Try to stick to a routine and create a schedule for other aspects of your daily life. Plan out the best times for cooking, cleaning, exercising, and sleeping.
To improve your sleep, you should avoid as much light as possible when sleeping during the day. Use thick curtains, or perhaps an eye mask. If you wake up when it's dark, consider a wake-up light, a device that gradually increases the light around you before the alarm goes off.
CAFFEINE AND WATER
Staying hydrated will help your energy levels. Drinking enough water helps regulate body temperature, helps deliver nutrients, and keeps your organs functioning properly. For an average women, doctors recommend 88 ounces of water each day, and 128 ounces of water for the average man. (Source: Harvard School of Public Health, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/the-importance-of-hydration )
Be sure to use caffeine wisely. Caffeine can improve mood, memory, and even physical performance. It's is generally fine to consume it, as long as you are able to stop before becoming jittery or too wired.
STAY IN THE RIGHT MINDSET
At MACE®, we believe there is power and safety in proper preparation. When you work strange hours, it's important to find a routine that gets you into a positive frame of mind. Some people use meditation, exercise, or even journal writing to help keep them focused and ready to take on their shift.
Always keep your personal safety in mind, and keep in touch with as many people as you can, including your doctors and co-workers.
Another story you would find useful: Maintaining Situational Awareness and Safety in Public (mace.com)