Breaking news can and does happen around the clock. Natural disasters do not simply affect lives from 9 to 5, scandals do not wait until Monday morning to be exposed, and major world events continue to unfold whether or not the timing is convenient for you. For a journalist, this often means working long hours and skipping much needed beauty rest, even if you’re in front of a camera.
So, how do journalists not only stay awake, but also remain alert, fresh, and able to do their jobs effectively when events keep them up for hours upon hours? This is no simple task and, depending upon the nature of the events being covered, success and/or safety may rely on readiness. Below are some of the tips and tricks used by the professionals.
Hitting the Coffee Stand
There are many instances in the field when journalists may need a pick-me-up, and fast. Perhaps it is time to conduct an interview or enter an area where alertness is key. A cup of coffee can have your adrenaline levels increased and your mind and body energised in minutes. All coffee is not made equal though, and it's a good idea to invest in a great coffee maker.
Getting Oxygen To the Brain and Muscles
While coffee can provide immediate bursts of energy, caffeine is not great at providing long, sustainable vitality. A simple and easy way reporters in the field can wake themselves up is by getting plenty of oxygen to their brains and muscles.
Increasing oxygen levels in the body can lower blood pressure, slow the heart rate, and improve circulation. While this can reduce stress and tension in the body – definitely a plus for journalists – it can also improve mental alertness and energy levels.
Feeling more awake can be achieved by taking a few moments to breathe deeply. It can be helpful to take slow, even breaths, in through the mouth and out through the nose.
Light stretching and exercise can help to get this oxygen to the muscles throughout the body. This can mean stretching your arms above and/or behind your back or going for a brisk 10-minute walk. Even when covering a round-the-clock story, it is likely that there will be time to stretch your legs.
Drink More Water and Drink It Continuously
Many people do not realize that thirst is one of the later symptoms caused by dehydration. Among the first are hunger, headaches, and fatigue. Especially if you are out in the field having coffee – which is a diuretic – every chance you get, there is a good chance that dehydration could slow you down. Having water on hand and drinking it regularly can play a large part in preventing dehydration and preventing tiredness.
Give Your Body the Right Fuel
In addition to plenty of water, your body needs food and calories to burn for energy. Instead of candy bars that provide sugar rushes and crashes, journalists should have snacks that provide more sustainable energy. This includes nuts, fruits, vegetables, and granola bars, which can all be conveniently carried and eaten, even when covering a fast-paced story on the go.