A GUIDE TO A HEALTHIER HOLIDAY SEASON WITH TIM ETHERINGTON-JUDGE
Christmas and other key calendar moments may be prime time for the bar industry, but there is also the risk of burn out 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!
It’s that time of year again when those that work in offices gather together, descend on our bars and restaurants and party like it’s
1999 Christmas. December is the hardest month for those that work in hospitality as it’s often the busiest time of the year, our guests let loose (for many – the one time a year) and everything is covered in decorations.
Work Hard, Recover Hard
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.
At Healthy Hospo, we have some tips for acing recovery and keeping you in fighting fit form come January.
Sleep. Full Stop.
If you’re going to do just one thing from this list, then focusing on better sleep should be it. As a society we’re sleeping less than ever, and our industry is arguably the worst sleepers of the lot. Don’t think of it as time wasted when you could be doing something more fun; instead 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 you a penny are:
Prioritise – set aside enough time to sleep properly. I would aim for at least eight hours a day (let the socialising wait until January!).
Ace your pre-game – Pre-game is the 90-minute window before going to bed. Create a regular ritual that could include reading a good fiction book, having a caffeine free tea, writing a journal, meditation or doing your chores just before bed. This will help calm the mind and reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep.
Kick your phone out of the bedroom – 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 – 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 non-alcoholic or low-alcohol 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.
There’s no denying that working in hospitality is one of the most stressful jobs you can do. 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.
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 a little bit of self-care for everyone (especially during busy times) really does make a huge difference.
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