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Tim Etherington-Judge

The festive season may be prime time for the bar industry, but there is also the risk of burnout for those working within it. Health-conscious Tim Etherington-Judge (Healthy Hospo founder) gives hints and tips for a healthier and happier season.

You’re Now Entering… Crazy Season!

December is the hardest month for those that work in hospitality as it’s often the busiest time of the year, our guests have their main social event (for many – just this time of year).

Let’s not beat around the bush, December is hard. Crazy long hours, crazy shifts, difficult customers and huge amounts of stress. There’s nothing wrong with hard work, however, if you’re going to get through busier times, then you need to also focus on recovering hard so you can turn up to every shift at 100% and give yourself the right work/life balance.

Here are some tips for acing recovery and keeping you in fighting fit form come January.

Watch these tips on how to achieve a more sustainable lifestyle

Healthy Holiday

Sleep. Full Stop.

Firstly, if you’re going to do just one thing from this list, then sleep should be it. As a society, we’re sleeping less than ever, and our industry arguably has the worst sleepers compared to others. Don’t think of it as time wasted when you could be doing something more fun; think of it as exactly what it is: essential recovery.

There are so many ways to improve your sleep - from investing in a new mattress to employing a sleep coach, but some things you can do that won’t cost anything are:

Prioritize – set aside enough time to sleep properly. I would aim for at least eight hours a day.

Keep it regular pre-bedtime

“Pre-game” is the 90-minute window before going to bed. Create a regular ritual that could include reading a book, having a caffeine-free drink, writing a journal, meditation or doing your chores. This will help calm the mind and reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep.

Keep your phone separate

Phones can be distracting and often keep people awake. Buy an alarm clock if you’re worried about not waking up in time. You’ll instantly get better sleep for no cost at all.

Cool, dark and quiet space

Make your bedroom like a cave: cool (ideally between 16.5 and 19.4C) and dark, with either black-out blinds or an eye mask, especially if you’re trying to sleep when it’s light outside. Turn down the volume as much as you can with ear plugs, or sleep in a quieter room if need be.

The power of naps

The Spanish have mastered the power of daytime sleeping with the siesta. Taking a short 20-30-minute nap (or a ‘controlled recovery period’ if you want it to sound more science-like) during the day. Finding time to fit in a little shut eye can give you a massive boost of energy and get you through the day, but no more than 30 minutes, or you’ll fall into a deep sleep and wake up more tired than before!

Food, Glorious Food

‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’, said Hippocrates, and he was right... It’s tough to find good (let alone healthy food!) when you work in hospitality.

Load your fridge at home with healthy soups and easy reheat meals that you can chuck in the microwave when you get home. Smoothies can also be a great way to get plenty of good nutrients into your body quickly and easily.

No Post Shift Blues Here

You’ve made it to the end of a crazy night, so post-shift should be an opportune moment to unwind – usually with your colleagues over how bad the shift was.

Switch out to a no or low option for that post-shift drink, so you can have all the benefits of unwinding and unloading after a hard shift, without the negative impact on your sleep.

Meaningful Meditation

There’s no denying that working in this industry can be one of the most stressful jobs you can do so it’s important to create a relaxing environment for yourself. Find somewhere quiet away from the crowds, it could be the storeroom or cold room and just hit pause.

Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out. Focus on your breathing for just one single, solitary minute. That’s all it’ll take to put you back in the game and I cannot tell you how powerful this technique can be on a busy night. Don’t believe me? Give it a go for yourself and find out. Alternatively, try an app like Mindspace for help with tuning out when you’re on the move.

Check out these stretches from Camille Vidal to help you unwind and destress.

Look Out for the Team

There’s no ‘I’ in team and hospitality is a team job. It’s you and your team against the hordes of customers who never seem to stop coming!

Look out for each other, supporting one another when needed, and you’ll make it through. Watch out for co-workers and make sure no one is taking on more than they can handle.

Remember that you’re stronger together than as individuals and that by everyone managing their self care (especially during busy times) it will really make a huge difference.


- You need to carve out time for recovery from busy shifts

- Sleep is so important; ensure you are setting yourself up for quality sleep without any distractions

- Make sure you are eating healthy, nutritional food which will fuel you during this busy time

- Consider switching to no and low alcohol serves post-shift to help yourself unwind

- Take time to focus on your breathing and relax away from the crows