Bartender Balance: Journey to a Healthier, Happier You
Staying active and positive has never been more important for this industry. Experienced bar professionals Camille Vidal, Jamie Jones and Alex Kratena share their tools for achieving balance in everyday life.
This article is brought to you by Johnnie Walker. Johnnie Walker is passionate about energizing bar managers and bartenders to pursue their richest life, whether behind the bar or in front of it.
CAMILLE VIDAL, FOUNDER OF LA MAISON WELLNESS
ARE EPIC NIGHTS AND LACK OF SLEEP THE NORM?
When I started working in this industry one of my mentors said to me, “working in hospitality will be the closest you’ll get to being a Rockstar!… Late nights, a chance to see the world and party with the best of them!”. This kind of living is obviously glamorous but not sustainable if lived without moderation. We need to be mindful of our needs and incorporate healthy habits into our routine.
BEING YOUR BEST SELF
The key to a healthy, balanced career is simply: balance and paying attention to your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
For instance, drinking in moderation with colleagues or having a camomile tea along an early night are both great examples. Your future self will be thanking you!
SWITCH UP THE DAILY GRIND
Make simple changes to your day to day routine, ensure you move every day. Whether it is taking a walk or going for a run, stop and take a breather to de-stress and have a moment to yourself, be present, be aware, be kind, eat well, drink in moderation and celebrate life in healthy ways.
I’m a big advocate for scheduling in time for rest and rejuvenation. I purposely block out time in my diary for doing just that.
JAMIE JONES, WORLD CLASS GB WINNER
JUST KEEP RUNNING
I have been in the drinks industry for almost 15 years now. I started as a barback in my hometown of Chester then I progressed through the management structure until I became a consultant, training bartenders, opening bars and designing brand strategies all around the world.
In those 15 years, I can honestly say that it has only been the last two years that I have felt healthy of mind and body.
The key driving force behind my transformation was exercise. Building running into my weekly schedule gave me focus and drive, seeing dramatic personal gains kept me coming back for more. I dropped three stone in weight in eight months and saw my resting heart rate come down from the high 70 bpm’s, to low 50 bpms from running 5-10 km at a time, 3-5 days a week.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Often, it’s not the case of finding the time to exercise, it’s the effort that comes with getting out the door. That’s when you need to dig deep. That’s the hardest part. But once you’re out there, the reward is incredible.
Don’t worry about hitting a certain distance, focus on being outside and on your feet for a set amount of time instead. Half an hour of jogging, or even walking will not only improve your cardio strength, but will build your running stamina, burn calories and probably most importantly, it will clear your mind. Becoming more active was and still is the greatest therapy I have ever experienced.
Finding time to exercise when working in bars may seem an impossible task as we start work late in the day, work until the early hours, then are too tired at weekends. All are valid excuses but try making small changes to your everyday and you will see positive results.
ALEX KRATENA, MULTI-AWARD-WINNING BARTENDER
I’ve been in the bar business my entire life. I wouldn’t say I live a perfectly balanced lifestyle, but I do take some steps to help me live a healthy and happy life and perhaps you might find one of them useful for your personal needs.
LET’S GET PHYSICAL
I’ve found that putting off physical exercise will catch up on you, either in the short or long term. I can’t imagine living in London now without a bike. It’s a small change but it has made a huge and positive difference to my physical health and energy levels.
REST, REFLECT AND RECONNECT
I don’t go out after work if I’m working the next day, maximizing the little sleep I get is always a priority and I would recommend to anyone working in the hospitality industry.
The next thing I highly recommend is any form of outside stimulation. Whether it is reading a book, visiting a gallery, or spending time outdoors, I often find more inspiration for my job outside of the bar than at an industry conference.
Socrates said, ‘The unexamined life is not worth living’. I like to take at least 10 minutes every day to myself, be it sitting on the sofa in the morning or in a coffee shop. It’s important to evaluate, to be self-aware and take time to process everything.
During my career, I’ve came to understand how important it is to create meaningful and genuine relationships. I learn so much from the people around me and what helped me the most during my career is my extensive social network. I like to surround myself with people from different walks of life. I am very interested in design, music, fashion and art and my friends truly reflect that.
- Recognise small changes that you need to make to your day today.
- Don’t be your own worst enemy, take up exercises to relieve stress get fitter and clear your mind.
- Enjoy alcohol in moderation as part of a balanced lifestyle.
- Sleep! It’s important to get enough sleep and rest after hours.
- Reading and having interests outside of work will help stimulate your mind.
Bar Chat Podcast: How to Look After Yourself
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CLOSING TIME: HOW BARTENDERS RELAX AFTER WORK
‘Winding down’ after work, whether it’s 10pm or 3am, is an age-old dilemma for anyone working shifts in the service industry. We pulled up a stool to hear from a few friends on how they switch off after ‘performing’ for a few hours or more.