It’s easy to be consumed by the hospitality industry when your entire life is work. The industry often leaves us without balance or a focus on overall wellness and mental well being. Our generation is in crisis and there is a silent epidemic of mental malnutrition in the workplace. Based on our 2019 survey of 400 respondents in Ontario, 87% of hospitality workers said yes to living with mental health and addiction challenges.
If you suffer from a heart attack or break a bone the obvious course of action is to go to the doctor but people seem to neglect healing and recovery when it comes to their mental health. Although most don’t live with a mental illness, all of us are affected by our mental wellness. We all have to care for our own mental health in the same way as our physical health. This becomes difficult for most people in the hospitality industry who work outside of the 9-5 hours. Many often have high-pressure jobs in small to medium-sized businesses where the fundamentals needed for a supportive work environment are neglected or unavailable.
The good news is that there are steps we can all take for creating positive mental health habits in and outside of work. Here are 5 tips that can help you and your staff and the best part is that they’re free!
Exercise. We all need it and running up and down stairs isn’t enough. Sometimes it’s as simple as taking a walk or riding your bike to work. To help encourage your team, reach out to a local gym and request a corporate discount for your staff.
Take a Break! You don’t have to smoke to go outside for fresh air. Sometimes, getting outside for 10-15 minutes is enough to hit the reset button and get out of the constant push of service. As a manager, hold yourself accountable to the Ministry of Labor laws and ensure that your staff are taking their breaks regularly.
Nourish your Body. We’ve all been there: an entire day goes by and you haven’t eaten or consumed enough water at all. We need to place value in making sure that we eat, and the people around us eat as well. We spend our days taking care of guests and need to take care of our work family first.
Avoid Drugs & Alcohol at Work. It’s not a secret that substance abuse is prevalent in our industry. Management has an influence to lead by example and the opportunity to offer staff alternative rewards besides a post-work drink.
Resources. Posting mental health and addiction resources publicly for staff and encouraging a dialogue sets a tone for a positive work culture.
Sometimes the most powerful habits aren’t ones that cost a lot of money. The goal is about shifting the focus and effort to taking care of yourself and the people around you. These habits can help create not only higher retention in staff but also a more productive, efficient and (most importantly), a happier and healthier team.
Not 9 to 5 is a Canadian organization focused on mental health and addiction in the hospitality, food and beverage industry. We encourage change for a healthier mental wellbeing for both employers and employees by normalizing the struggle, decreasing stigma & connecting to resources. Stay tuned for our Better Practice Guide being launched as a free downloadable PDF at Terroir 2019.