Hospo Voice

How to deal with stress at work – the tips your boss won’t tell you

March 15, 2021

“Is it working yet?!”

Our tips for dealing with stress in the hospo workplace

If you think working in hospitality can be super stressful, you’re not alone. Everything is so fast-paced, customers want their meals in what seems like seconds and there are high expectations for perfection.

Not only that, but if you’re in a toxic work culture, you’re dealing with a next level of stress. Wage theft, poor working conditions and bullying bosses are common reasons that hospo workers like you are feeling workplace anxiety.

So how can you deal with stress in the hospitality industry? Here are our practical tips your boss won’t tell you for how to deal with stress at work (and we’re going to suggest more than just meditation, although that might help 😊)

Get some exercise

Is your regular exercise regime a continuous 8-hour shift running tables then collapsing on the floor? Yep, sounds familiar. 

While being on your feet all day at work might increase your step count, it’s probably not going to improve your stress levels. After all, being short staffed and not getting a decent break could be a reason you’re stressed in the first place!

Make sure you’re doing some sort of exercise each week. Better yet, do something that uses completely different areas of your body.

Perhaps take up swimming to improve your cardio or stretch out those sore back muscles with a bit of yoga. Exercise releases those feel-good endorphins which can reduce stress in all areas of life.

Get organised

Sometimes we get stressed when there seems like there’s too much to do and not enough time to do it in. So, sit down and write a list of what you need to do and when you can do it. When it’s all in black and white, sometimes it doesn’t seem so overwhelming. 

If you’re trying to deal with stress at work, it can also help to organise your workmates to fix the issues. When you talk to other colleagues and realise that you’re all having the same problems, working together is the best way to fix them.

Just breathe

Imagine this: you’re at work and your boss yells at you about something. Instantly, your heart rate rises and you breathe quicker. Your hands get sweaty and shaky and you find it harder to concentrate on what you’re doing, causing you to make more mistakes. Your boss notices your mistake, yells at you again, and you feel like absolute crap. 

Sound familiar? Bullying and harassing managers are a common stress in hospitality. What should you do if this happens to you?

First, when you’re going through an anxious situation like this, it’s really important that you focus on your breath and take longer, deeper breaths. The physical feelings you had like shaking hands and difficulty concentrating were from reduced airflow. Take some time to breathe slowly, in and out. 

Once you’ve caught your breath, it’s important to record what just happened. Use the diary in Mobilise to take some notes. You could also ask one of our experts for advice on your next steps.

Take some time for yourself

When you’re working in a service industry, it can sometimes feel like you’re doing everything for other people and nothing for yourself. When you don’t have time for yourself, you get irritable and agitated. Everyone needs me-time, and it’s important to schedule it into your week. 

Do something you enjoy whether it’s reading a book, hanging with friends, or even reviewing former employers on Fair Plate?! 😜

If you think you need more than just an hour on your own and want to take a holiday, book in some annual leave. If your boss is giving you a hard time about using annual leave or taking time off, find out more about your rights on Mobilise.

Do mindful meditation

The premise of mindful meditation is being more aware of the present moment without judging ourselves or others. In a stressful workplace like hospitality, it can be a valuable tool. 

In fact, even famous chef Eric Ripert credits mindfulness for changing him from a plate-throwing, angry chef to a happy and creative professional. 

So how can you practice mindfulness in your day-to-day life? Here are a few ideas:

Consider meditating when you can. If you need help, there are great resources like This Way Up and Smiling Mind

Talk to someone

Don’t feel stressed alone. Let your friends or colleagues know how anxious you are. If it’s work-related and you have a good boss, tell them how you’re feeling. You never know, they might be able to help. 

If you don’t have such a great boss, join the Hospo Voice FB group to talk to like-minded workers. Yes, working in hospo can be stressful, but you’re never on your own.

Looking for more info about working in hospo?

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