Hospitality workers are used to being busy and social, so a period of enforced isolation without work spells trouble. Here are some ways to bring structure and serenity to the next few weeks. Sarah Taylor reports
To work in hospitality is to work in an industry that has seen several huge challenges over the past few years: rising costs, difficulties attracting and retaining talent, Brexit – which everyone thought was going to be the nail in the coffin – and now coronavirus.
But hospitality is an industry that has always shown strength, resilience, adaptability and ingenuity. It is built on close ties and strong relationships. To be a hospitality worker takes incredible resolve. Not everyone can pull 60-hour weeks, week in, week out, constantly under intense pressure and with a smile on their face.
We appreciate that many of you are facing tough times, so here are some tips to help you stay mentally healthy and cope better with the current situation. Together, we will get through these challenges.
Restrict your news feed
Social media gets a bad rep when talked about alongside mental health, but if we use it well, it can have a positive impact. Instead of deleting all your apps, limit your news feed.
Tim, the founder of HealthyHospo, says: "News anxiety is a very real thing, particularly when the situation is so scary a lot of the time."
He advises avoiding the hyped-up headlines and focusing instead on trusted sources.
When self isolating, social media can be a lifeline and a key way to stay in touch with the outside world. Just remember to value the good it can bring you, but watch out for antagonistic posts and make sure you steer yourself and your news feed away from the negativity.
Connect with each other – virtually
It is really important that we maintain relationships with those we care about during these difficult times. Sharing your worries will not only lessen the weight on your shoulders, but offering a shoulder for someone else will make you feel less alone and lighten the load for a friend.
We now have free reign to use social media to our heart's content, so use it to connect to those we can no longer physically see. Friends having dinner together virtually, playing games remotely or joining local community groups to offer help and support to the vulnerable – however you choose to connect, use the online world to bring community and support into your home.
Sitting on the sofa endlessly scrolling through Instagram will not improve your mood. Get up and do something. You are hospitality workers and are used to being mentally stimulated. If you don't stimulate your brain, your mental wellbeing will struggle.
Sitting on the sofa endlessly scrolling through Instagram will not improve your mood. Get up and do something
The new phrase ‘future worried' is circulating, meaning that you feel OK in the present, but worried that in the future you will struggle, and so that makes you worry in the present. Yes, the situation is terrible and uncertain, but can you do anything about it? Actually, yes you can: you can stay safe and you can stay healthy.
Use your spare time to do the things you always complained you never had time for. Finish that woodwork project, learn to play an instrument, watch a virtual cocktail masterclass, read all those cookery books on your shelf, take up yoga or boxercise or, if you live with loved ones, simply enjoy spending time with them.
Sleep is essential
As a hospitality worker, you're probably used to working late, starting early and not getting much downtime, so here is a chance for you to get a proper sleep pattern in place. Getting a ‘good night's sleep' has been shown to drastically improve your physical health and it is essential in allowing your brain, body and immune system to repair themselves, which is something we all need as much as possible right now.
Change your routine up – but stick to it
When all normality goes out of the window and your days are empty of focus, it can be a real challenge adapting to a new routine. Take some time to think about what you want to do and schedule a daily or weekly plan.
You don't have to allocate every minute of the day, but small steps can give you structure and focus. Try eating your breakfast and lunch at the same time every day, or perhaps set yourself goals of 20 minutes of exercise at 10am and again at 5pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Thursdays you could practice a hobby or Facetime with a friend. Having the structure of a routine will also give you something to look forward to throughout the week.
You may also have the opportunity to volunteer within your community, if you are able to do so safely while following government guidance. Many people are reliant on others, and you can help by delivering food to vulnerable neighbours, or volunteering at homeless shelters, food banks and hospitals. If you are able to do this, it can be a rewarding way to implement a new routine, and will also help you connect with more people. Giving back will help you focus your efforts on other people and can be a welcome distraction if you are struggling with your own mental health.
There is no doubt that the past few weeks have been incredibly stressful, not only for hospitality workers, but for everyone around the world. Our lives now and the situations we find ourselves in give us immense challenges, and will continue to be challenging for the weeks to come. And while we are not suggesting that life will get back to normal if you get a good night's sleep and take up a new hobby, the tips we've suggested here will give you focus and strength to cope with the changes and challenges we face daily.
Remember, even if you feel generally well, it is still important to look after yourself so that you can better look after others. Keep a stern eye on your news feed, take advantage of the opportunity to sleep well, connect with others, keep busy and stick with your new routine. These will all help you look after your mental wellbeing.
If there is one message we have all learned over the past few weeks, it is that our actions have great impact, so let's try to make our impact be for the good of everyone. When there is so much emphasis on what you can't do, focus on what you can.
Sarah Taylor is content author at High Speed Training
Photo credit: Shutterstock
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