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Restaurant Workers Guide to Self-Care

restaurant workers
Restaurant Workers Guide to Self-Care

Restaurant workers get a few perks, one of them being that it’s a super active occupation. While having a job that allows you to move around all day can be beneficial to your health, it can also take a toll on your body and mind.

As restaurant workers, we are constantly in motion, sometimes for eight to twelve hours straight. Which is why it’s a good idea to start thinking about a self-care routine.

Here are a few suggestions that can make a big difference in your everyday restaurant-worker life.

Restaurant jobs are already active, but it’s good to do additional exercise outside of work, too. Weight lifting with cardio is a great exercise routine that compliments restaurant jobs. Learning to properly lift weights will help you build muscle and teach you proper form that you can use when moving kegs, big bags of flour or even holding a tray weighed down by a gazillion drinks. In addition to weight lifting, cardio is a great way to burn off work-related stress and over time may give you more energy.

A lot of restaurant jobs provide shift meals which can save you a lot of money on food costs, but sometimes the options may not be the healthiest. It’s good to be aware of what you are eating daily and try to balance out your diet as much as possible — whether that’s before your shift, on your days off or choosing a healthier option on the menu (if you’re lucky enough to get a choice). Noticing food groups missing from your diet can be a good start — ask yourself how often do you incorporate veggies, fruit or protein into your diet? Realizing what you might be missing and trying to incorporate it can help balance out your eating habits.

Having an active career can cause us restaurant workers to ignore important messages our bodies are trying to communicate. Taking the time to be mindful of what you need can help you feel better and work better. This can be anything from taking naps, investing in proper shoes or even taking a day off. Maybe you notice that you depend on one arm to do a repetitive task — try switching it up to create balance. Paying attention to your mental and physical state can stop a minor issue from turning into a bigger one down the road.

It can be tempting to replace time with friends and family for Netflix on your days off. Because restaurant jobs are so social, sometimes you need time for yourself which can be important — but not all the time. It’s equally as important to socialize with significant people in your life. Saying yes to meeting up for a drink or even just visiting your mom can make you and the others around you feel good. Also, it can help to hang out with people outside your co-worker circle. Talking about non-work related things can provide a much needed mental break.

Having a pastime or hobby builds character and it can be a great way to balance out the stresses of working in a restaurant. When we are doing something that brings us joy, we can take a moment to relax and have something of our own apart from work. It helps build our sense of identity while also allowing us to relate with others. If you have a hobby that you love, make time for it! Your brain will thank you.

Working in a restaurant is no joke — it’s hard work and without acknowledging that, it can become hard on our bodies and minds. If you’re lucky you can start taking action early and create a self-care routine that fits your needs/schedule. But no matter how long you’ve been a restaurant worker, it’s important to take care of yourself once in a while, especially when you make taking care of others your career.

Ashley McNally

Ashley McNally likes to cook, loves to bake, and is always dreaming of her next meal. With over 13 years of experience working in various roles within a restaurant — McNally has made a home in hospitality.

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