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6 Ways to Get Through a Long Shift in Retail

About the Author

Haik Zadoyan

Running his own restaurant, his lifelong passion for food and beverages led him to co-found Snibbs in 2015, where he acts as Chief Operating Officer and Designer. Snibbs are completely fluid and slip resistant, durable, stylish and perfect for hard workers who are on their feet all day. We're on a mission to enrich worker’s lives, one shoe at a time by creating a work shoe that's inspired by everything that's wrong with the one you're probably still wearing.
6 Ways to Get Through a Long Shift in Retail


Do you dread the thought of long shifts in retail? You’re not alone.

Working long shifts in retail can be draining, but with the right strategies and mindset, you can learn how to survive long retail shifts and even enjoy them. With the combination of self-care habits and finding ways to stay energized, you’ll be able to tackle any of your long shifts head on.

How To Get Through a Long Retail Shift

As a retail worker, sometimes your shifts can be unpredictable, requiring you to work longer hours than anticipated. Whether you’re working extra time over the holidays, covering someone elses shifts, or voluntarily working long hours, it can take a toll on you, both physically and mentally.

However, you don’t need to let your long shifts at your retail job dictate your life. By finding ways to unwind and take care of yourself, you’ll begin feeling more motivated to tackle upcoming shifts.

1. Wear Comfortable Attire

When it comes to how to get through a long shift in retail, comfort is key. As any retail employee knows, you may work anywhere from a four-hour to 12-hour shift. That’s why it’s important to wear comfortable attire that allows you to move freely while performing your job duties. Comfort is essential when working a long shift in retail. As most retail workers know, you may work anywhere from a four to twelve-hour shift, so wearing clothes that allow you to move comfortably is critical.

For example, if you’re a cashier, opt for a pair of shoes for retail workers that have arch support, as you’ll be standing for extended periods of time. If you work on the floor, try on different sizes and styles of shoes before settling on a pair that offers the most cushioning and support. It’s also important to dress in layers so you can adjust accordingly if the temperature fluctuates. Choosing the right outfit can help make your retail shift go by faster.

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2. Drinky Plenty of Water

Staying hydrated is key when it comes to how to get through a long shift in retail. The average retail shift lasts about eight hours, and it's recommended that adults drink 3-4 liters of water per day.1 This is a crucial aspect of retail safety and taking care of yourself. Since you’re on your feet all day, it can be easy to forget about drinking water throughout the day.

To help, consider keeping a reusable water bottle with you at all times to remind yourself to sip frequently throughout your shift. Make a point to take regular bathroom breaks so you can refill your water bottle and stay hydrated. Your energy levels will thank you!

3. Eat Healthy Snacks

If you have a long shift coming up, consider bringing healthy snacks to give you the boost you need to make it through the day. Eating healthy snacks will help you stay energized and alert while avoiding sugar crashes that can lead to fatigue and poor concentration.2

When choosing snacks, opt for those that contain healthy carbohydrates, such as whole grain crackers or oatmeal bars, and protein, like nuts and seeds. If your shift is going to be longer than 8 hours, make sure you have meal break included your work schedule. This can help break up the day and give you the opportunity to refuel and rest.

4. Take Breaks

One of the best things you can do to make long work hours go by faster is to take regular breaks. Retail working hours are long, which is why it’s important to take a break and give yourself a little rest throughout the day.

Take advantage of your lunch breaks. During this rest period, recharge by going for a walk, grabbing something to eat, or meditating. It’s important to keep in mind that taking a break from your work isn't a terrible thing––it can actually help you stay motivated and focused. You'll feel more awake and focused on your tasks when you get back.

5. Stay Positive

No matter how long your shift may feel, it's essential to stay upbeat. Dealing with customers in a customer service role can be draining, so it is critical for shift workers to maintain positivity. Maintaining an upbeat attitude while interacting with customers all day long can be challenging, so here are some tips to help you stay motivated:3

  • Stay focused on the task at hand – Instead of worrying about how long your shift is or how to make it go by faster, focus on the customer in front of you and what needs to be done.
  • Take advantage of downtime – Use slower times during the shift to catch up on paperwork or get organized. This can help you feel more productive and in control.
  • Connect with customers – try to focus on having conversations with customers that lift your spirits and make them smile. This will help make the day go by faster and create a positive atmosphere.
  • Find joy in small moments – Take a few seconds throughout your shift to appreciate the little things, like the smell of freshly-baked bread or the sound of children laughing. This will keep you grounded and remind you why you work in retail in the first place.

6. Enjoy Your Days Off

After a long retail shift, it's important to enjoy your days off. Finding ways to relax and unwind can help you feel refreshed for your next shift. Try different activities, such as taking a walk, going to the gym, or catching up on some sleep. Enjoying your days off will give you some much-needed energy to tackle the next shift.

Get Through a Long Retail Shift With Snibbs

If you find yourself taking on long retail shifts, Snibbs is here to help. Looking after yourself during a long shift is essential and it all begins with the foundation - your feet.

Snibbs understands this and produces slip-resistant shoes. Each pair features flexible adjustability, arch support, and padded insoles to ease foot and body aches, all while keeping in mind the environmental impact of shoes. No matter how long your retail shift is, our shoes got you covered.


  1. MayoClinic. Water: How Much Should You Drink Everyday?
  2. Phlebotomy Examiner. 20 Essential Tips for Making it Through Long Shifts at Work.
  3. Brilliantio. Why Positivity is Important in the Workplace.