November 7

Brace Yourself, The Holidays are Coming


A Guide to Practicing Self-Care During the Hectic Holiday Season for Restaurant Workers

When you work in the restaurant industry, the holiday season is always a mixed bag. 

On the one hand, there’s some good money to be made between extra hours and tips from increased traffic and holiday party reservations. 

On the other hand, it is mentally, physically, and socially exhausting—which can take a serious toll on just about anyone. 

When navigating the holiday season as a restaurant worker, you must have the tools to cope with the stress so you’re not overextending yourself and burning out. 

We put together a list of some vital self-care techniques to remind you to make time for yourself. 

Mind Your Water, Sleep, and Exercise

While I’m sure you guessed these three would make the list (they get mentioned all the time when talking about wellness)—it’s still a good reminder to be mindful of drinking plenty of water, getting some good sleep, and exercising. 

These are tried and true methods to help prepare your mind and body to manage a chaotic time better, and science backs it up. 

First of all, water and sleep are essential for your brain to function at total capacity. These are key ingredients to improved mental health as they support your brain with problem-solving, improve memory, and boost serotonin production

Exercise, of course, is a great way to blow off steam when you’re stressed, but it also can help you sleep more deeply, improve your mood, and help you think through irritations or tensions.

Listen to Your Mind and Body  

Sure, drinking water, eating healthy, getting a good night’s sleep, and exercising are all great for your mental and physical health, but so is taking a break from all that and doing what makes you feel good in the moment. Part of self-care is listening to how you feel and what you need.

So yes, binge-watch your favorite show on Netflix in your off time or fit in that extra nap between a double shift when you’re feeling exhausted. 

Being in such an active and social career—it’s essential to have some quiet time for yourself so your brain and body can recover and reset. 

FOMO is a real thing. If you’re feeling stressed, but all your co-workers are going bar hopping after work, sometimes it’s best just to sit one out. Trust me, you’re not missing out on anything you can’t participate in next time. 

Call On Your Support Group

Sometimes, when you set goals to help your mental and physical health, it’s easier to fall back into old habits. 

Whether you want to stay hydrated, sleep better, avoid frequent hangovers, or incorporate a new exercise routine to help you decompress—it can help to have a support group that will encourage you and is there to listen when things get complicated. 

Last year, we spoke with Chef Gabriel Rucker of LePigeon and Canard in Portland, Oregon, about navigating the holidays while sober. He said, “Whatever you do in life, not being alone is always a healthier option. We’re all gonna fall down, and having a community that’s there to help pick you back up? That makes things better. That makes things easier. Go find that community.”

So, no matter what your goals are for self-care and supporting your mental and physical health, be sure to share them with your friends or family. 

A network of people who can support your ambitions and be there if you need help can be critical to reaching your goals throughout the holidays. 

Be Proactive

A great way to prevent getting over your head is to stay ahead of the holiday stress is possible. 

Once you identify certain tendencies or triggers that might not be the best for your wellness journey, you can implement tools to be more mindful and better manage situations as they arise. 

If you’re trying to drink less, you might be more prepared to avoid situations where you’d usually be tempted to partake. If you know you’ll be working a lot and need an extra day to yourself, plan ahead and ask for some time off just to relax. 

Recognize now what you might need later, and you’ll be doing yourself a favor in the long run. 

The holidays can get the best of all of us—but when you work in an industry that can be as chaotic as ours, self-care is essential. 

Whatever you do, be kind to yourself and your colleagues, but also have some fun and make that money this holiday season!

If you’re looking for a little extra support, be sure to check out Ben’s Friends or CHOW—both groups are here to help industry workers by offering free resources to learn new ways to manage industry stressors.


About the author

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.

About the author

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.