After the nights

Leaving the hospital - 7:50am

The morning you finish a run of nightshifts is a strange one. You're tired, but there's also a surge of energy that comes with finishing a block of work and anticipating a few days off. I never want to come home and sleep all day – it seems like such a waste after spending the previous three days in bed. You also want to adjust your body clock back to normal, and above all make the most of your time off. The aim, then, is to have just a few hours' sleep and force yourself back into a daytime routine.


I used to come home, try and get some sleep right away, and set my alarm clock for lunchtime. But I found that once I was up I felt groggy and listless all afternoon, and didn't really have the energy for anything. A few months ago I tried a different approach which works much better: I go out in the morning, straight from work, do something interesting, and then crawl into bed after lunch and sleep for three hours or so. This way I feel as though I've done something with my day, and I'm still awake enough to enjoy the evening with the family.


On Wednesday I went straight to the supermarket and did a big bi-monthly shop. At 8:20 in the morning I pretty much had the place to myself, and I could potter round quite happily at my own pace. It's the most stress-free way to do a big shop. Then I bought a coffee, drove out to Epping, had a big brunch sitting outside in the sunshine, and went for a good long stomp through the forest. It was blissful – and strangely woke me up more than it wore me out.

These last two days I've stayed local, and enjoyed the glorious weather – cooler Autumn temperatures with dazzling bright sunshine. This is the most perfect weather as far as I'm concerned. Yesterday I went to the Olympic Park with a friend and her baby – we lay on the grass for hours chatting, while the baby crawled around us, occasionally squealing with delight at the sheer joy of being alive and rolling around on clean, soft grass. I could have squealed with delight too.

Today I'm getting ready to go back to work tomorrow: making sure there's enough yogurt and bread in the fridge to feed the permanently hungry teenagers, washing my scrubs, cleaning out the chickens and paying the milk bill. I have a couple of day shifts this weekend, another few days off and then I'm back on nights by the middle of next week. I've made time to come out for lunch though. This is the end of my mid-week weekend, after all.


5 thoughts on “After the nights

  1. Lovely to find your new blog and learn that all is going well for you. I admire you for the work you do and also for your ability to find a healthy balance between work and the rest of life.
    This is my favourite time of year and these last few days have been glorious.


  2. Yes – definitely agree, staying up when nights finish is definitely the best way. An almost surreal experience at times, but it has a loveliness about it. I found shopping when I finished nights could lead to some very odd purchases. Sometimes I’d clean the house – not the most fun, but so lovely waking up fresh the next morning to a nice clean house.
    Glad you’ve not stopped blogging. I happened on your last blog by chance (interests include sewing and London) but as a critical care nurse I’ve enjoyed seeing how you were getting on with your training and new career.


  3. Just found your blog and love this post! I’m a nurse too and it is nice to see another blogger out there that feels the same about the days after night shifts. I usually go and do my shopping at that time too and it really is a novelty to have the shop to yourself right?!

    Loving this post and really nice to see what All You Read is Love is like inside – I went past it today and it is nothing like your pic on the outside!!! I look forward to reading more posts soon. Hope your new job goes well šŸ™‚ x


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