There is no getting around it – the FIFO lifestyle is hard. While there are a multitude of benefits, many FIFO workers and families will experience health and relationship problems as a result of their unique routine.
The FIFO lifestyle can result in:
Family disruption – separated from your partner and children for a week and then home fulltime for a week. Those left at home need to manage alone and then readapt when mum or dad rejoins the family over their week off.
Relationship concerns – being apart can cause strain on relationships increasing the risk of breakdowns and infidelity.
Weight gain – long working hours and excessiveness of rich camp food. Studies have shown that on average FIFO workers experience significant weight gain when they commence this style of work, and with little diversion, snacking on fast foods also adds to this health condition.
Health – spending time in different locations can make visiting the one doctor impractical, which can impact on consistent medical history with your family doctor. Regular health checks are not always undertaken and follow up treatments for existing illnesses get missed, both of which can result in minor health issues becoming more serious if not detected and treated early.
How can you protect yourself? Commit to small, simple daily practices:
- 10-15 minutes of daily activity will make you feel better
- 30 minutes of specific daily exercise will assist with weight loss – squats while you clean your teeth; 20 sit ups for a better belly; park further away and walk more each day
- Choose high fibre, low fat foods and use a smaller plate
- Spend quality time with your partner doing things that make you both happy and keep you close.
The FIFO lifestyle requires a personal commitment in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but this is essential for both the FIFO worker and their family. So schedule those regular health checks, make positive practices part of your every day and be in control of your health and happiness.