Anybody who has worked in hospitality industry knows that it can get stressful. Rude customers, too many tasks to do at one time and long shifts that may wreck your social life. Only 7% of employees feel they can open up to their employer about their mental health. Ten percent of workers said they had a 'depressive episode' in the last year. In comparison 15% of women working in hospitality had one. This shows a huge increase of staff feeling bad in hospitality compared to other jobs.
A recent study has shown that over half of all workers in the food and drink industry have had treatment for their mental health. This is worrying given that one out of the two people who serve you has a mental health issue. Even more worrying is the fact that less than half of those affected would tell anybody about their mental health. This includes family and friends.
Most employers are now realising the importance if supporting staff and prioritising their health. This should result in better working conditions. While your employer makes the necessary changes these are a few things you can do to remain calm:
Make the most of your days off. See your friends and family, relax and use the day as a wellbeing day to do the things you enjoy! Book a trip to the spa, read a book, catch up on the latest TV shows you’ve missed or go for a walk! Although it may be tempting, sleeping away the entire day is not going to be helpful to you in the long run. It will ruin your sleep cycle, making you feel groggy the rest of the day!
- Make some lifestyle changes. Eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, sleeping 7-8 hours per night and exercising will all help and make you better at coping with work stress. Remember that physical health is closely linked with mental health The happier your body, the happier your mind! Caffeine, tobacco and alcohol can make you feel tired and irritable after a period of time.
- Take a breather. If you feel as if things are getting to be too much or you are feeling overwhelmed, step outside for a moment and take a breath. Your mental health is more important than the dishes in the sink. If it is busy, ask a colleague to cover you for just a few moments. Practise deep breathing exercises, they are an easy and quick way of reducing stress. Take long, deep breaths using your belly, not your chest. If you are raising your shoulders you are doing it wrong.
- Know your limits. Everybody has different limits, know yours and do not take on more work than you can cope with. It does not matter if you can’t keep up with everybody else on your team. If you are struggling with a certain task, ask a colleague to take over and do something you feel better doing. Not everybody can be perfect at everything! If you are finding it hard to keep up in general, speak to a trusted colleague or your manager about how you are feeling, they can support you or offer you further training.
- Practise relaxation. There are different ways you can practise relaxation to help prevent the work stress in the first place. This can range from mindfulness to muscle relaxation. One guided relaxation app, ‘Feel Stress Free’, takes you through different activities to help manage and prevent symptoms linked with stress, anxiety and mild depression. The app is developed by leading UK psychologists and uses clinically proven techniques. To download Feel Stress Free, visit: www.feelstressfree.com