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5 tips to handle long hours as a chef

Posted by Carla Jenkins on May 7, 2018 8:07:00 AM

Working long, grueling hours is often considered a necessary part of any chef’s life. However, in the pursuit of excellence in the kitchen, chefs may find that 12-hour workdays can take a toll not only on their physical health but their personal relationships as well.

Many chefs are usually sleep-deprived and tend to have no social life outside of their work environment. Whether you’re just starting out on your hospitality training or have been working as a chef for many years, you must be able to manage your time wisely in order to handle long hours at work. 

Here are some tips to keep yourself in good shape physically, mentally and emotionally.



How to handle long hours as a chef


1. Get quality sleep

Pamper yourself at bedtime and find a good mattress that will let you sleep soundly. You need to soothe your tired muscles and recharge for the next day, so it’s important that you get good quality sleep without any unnecessary interruptions. Get blackout curtains or wear an eye mask to keep the sun out if you don’t have to get up until mid-morning.


 2. Eat healthy, energy boosting food

Exercise tips_buttonYou may not be able to sit down for a full meal when you’re working (as ironic as your job is), so go for the next best thing: eat healthy snacks that boost energy. These include fresh fruit (go for blueberries, strawberries, bananas, apples, and pineapples), nuts that help convert sugar into energy (almonds, hazelnuts, and cashews are best) and whole-grain cereal or toast.



3. Drink water

Water transports the nutrients in the blood that are used for energy and gets rid of the buildup of waste that leads to fatigue. If you don’t get enough water, your body won’t be able to metabolize what you eat into fuel. This is why you get tired easily when you’re dehydrated, so drink up! Better yet, add a few slices of lemon to your water pitcher or tumbler. This would turn it into an electrolyte-packed natural energy drink.



4. Take breaks

A short, 15-minute walk around the block or to a nearby park when there’s a lull in kitchen activity can make a big difference to your overall mood for the rest of the day. The fresh air will do you good by making you feel more alert. Take long strides, shake your arms and stretch your spine. Breathe deeply to bring on a sense of calm and refresh your mind.



5. Be organized


New call-to-actionThis is easier said than done, but it helps to stay on top of your tasks as much as possible. With enough organization, you can spend your downtime better, and get your work done more efficiently. Plan your week where you can, keep your kitchen organized and prepare your menu well in advance. It also helps to delegate tasks where necessary and to manage your time. 

 



Sharpening your hospitality skills or perfecting your menu requires a lot of hard work and long hours in the kitchen. However, you should also remember that if you are constantly tired or out of sorts because of stress, you may not be able to work to the best of your ability. So always take time for yourself – eat and drink healthy, take a break and get yourself a good night’s sleep.

Start your Typsy online hospitality training now with our lesson on Pre-shift stretching exercises


Carla Jenkins Carla Jenkins is a regular writer about sleep-related and wellbeing topics at sleepmogul.com. Carla has been studying this field for a number of years and also has a background in yoga, which has further developed her understanding of these issues. 

 

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Categories: Tips for back of house, Wellbeing for hospitality

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