Hospitality is one of the most stressful industries in the world. That’s not an exaggeration; it’s just a fact. You’re on the front lines, dealing with some pretty demanding customers day in and day out, and of course that’s going to impact your state of mind.
But if hospitality is your passion and you see yourself in it for the long haul, then it’s important to tackle your stress triggers now, before they turn into bigger problems.
That's why we trawled the web looking for the best (and occasionally weirdest) habits that will help you de-stress your life. Take a look at the list, try a few out and see how you go!
1. Take a 10-Minute Walk
Use your break time to get out of your venue. Walking helps clear your head and releases endorphins, which reduces anxiety. Apparently walking in a natural environment has been linked with reducing depression, so if you can, avoid the busy streets and turn into a nearby park for a few minutes.
2. Go for the Carbs
Eating carbohydrates stimulates serotonin, which is linked to feeling good and living longer. That’s why we call burgers and pizza “comfort foods.” But you don't have to screw up your diet to get your dose of serotonin. Instead, opt for healthy carbs full of fibre, like quinoa, oatmeal or whole-grain bread, and see how that affects your mood.
3. Listen to Music
Listening to music has a calming effect on your mind. Studies have proven that it relieves depression and physical maladies. It actually has the ability to change your brain functioning to the same extent as medication, alongside so many other benefits.
While researchers think music with a slower tempo like jazz and classical reduces stress the best, it also ultimately comes down to what you like and what makes you happy.
If you find music too distracting, listening to soothing background sounds from nature (like rain, thunder and birds) can be very effective. Try artists like Dan Gibson and Ken Kern if you’re looking for something along those lines. This one is my personal favorite: 10 straight hours of rain sounds.
4. Call a Friend
It’s a bit of an ‘oh duh’ suggestion, but I think it’s important to emphasize this one anyway: having a strong support network alleviates your stress. Venting to someone who listens to you and sympathizes with you will always make you feel better. It’s even proven by science: having a best friend decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol. So don’t be afraid to pick up the phone when you’re having a bad day.
5. Read a Book
You only need to read for six minutes to reduce your stress by two-thirds. Losing yourself in the world of a book distracts you from the pressures of your everyday life. It’s actually better and faster than other methods, like listening to music or drinking a cup of tea!
So put down your phone during your next break and pull out a book instead. While it can be very inspiring to read something related to the hospitality industry, reading fiction provides a nice mental break too. If you’re looking for book recommendations, check out Goodreads, the Facebook of books – but fair warning, once you start using it, you won't be able to stop.
6. Listen to a Stand-Up Podcast
The way you start the day can have a huge impact on how you handle stressful situations. Comedy can definitely fix that. Download a stand-up podcast and listen to it on your way into work. Laughter boosts your immune system, releases endorphins, and improves blood flow, so it’s actually pretty essential to your mental and physical health.
Here’s a list of the best comedy podcasts from 2015 to get you started!
7. Cuddle a Dog
Look, it’s not like anyone needs an excuse to do this, but there’s a reason they use dogs in therapy: they ease anxiety. A study on pets and blood pressure with a group of New York stockbrokers found that those who went out and got a cat or a dog had lower blood pressure than those who didn't. It makes sense: they encourage you to be more active, and they provide unconditional love.
But if you don’t have the time or the space to care for an animal, there are other options. There are actually dog-sharing services out there for people who don't have pets. You sign up to 'borrow' a dog for free, and then take them for a walk or mind them for an hour while their owner runs an errand. Websites like Dogshare or BorrowMyDoggy run this service if you want to check them out.
8. Smash Stuff
Sometimes you just need to let out your inner frustration. In Melbourne, The Break Room was established for this very purpose. Basically, you put on some protective gear, step into an enclosed room, grab a baseball bat and go to town on a tub of dinner plates. The idea behind it, according to founder Ed Hunter, is to give people a therapeutic outlet.
There are “rage rooms” and “anger rooms” everywhere from Toronto to Moscow, so who knows. There could be one in your area. There's only one way to find out.
How do you de-stress after a long day at work?