July 10

How To Manage The Feeling of Burnout

Burnout Is Common in the Fast-Paced Restaurant World—Here Are a Few Tips to Better Manage the Feeling of Burnout So You Can Keep Going.

Summer is typically the busiest time of the year for restaurant folk—so taking care of yourself is vital. Burnout can happen to anyone without proper precautions in the customer-facing, fast-paced, high-stress restaurant world. 

While management should play a healthy role in helping employees manage burnout, it’s also essential to take matters into your own hands. Every day, you give so much, mentally and physically. You must check in with yourself and recognize how to recover so you’re not hitting the bottom of the barrel. 

To help you remember that your best self is a rested self, we’re here to break down the signs of burnout and provide some tips on managing your stress during this busy season.

Understanding Burnout and Recognizing The Signs

Burnout describes a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. It often peaks when you’re overworked and overwhelmed professionally or personally. 

Additionally, burnout doesn’t just happen when you’re dissatisfied with your job. You can be perfectly content, but when things at work pick up and you’re not taking the time to recover—burnout comes on quickly. 

To ensure the stressors of restaurant work don’t overwhelm you, it’s vital to recognize the signs of burnout in yourself and take them seriously.

Common Signs Your Burning Out

  • Irritability
  • Lack of motivation
  • Persistent lethargy
  • A feeling of dissociation
  • Headaches or muscle soreness
  • Reduced sense of accomplishment
  • Compromised judgment

While many signs can indicate burnout, you know yourself best and how you react when under stress. Be mindful of those signs and do what you can to remedy them. We have some essential tips if you’re unsure what works to decompress! 

How to Manage Stress To Avoid Burnout

Once you know how stress manifests in your daily life, you can take action to decrease its effects. People decompress in various ways, so you must be mindful when trying new techniques to determine what will work best for your habits and lifestyle. 

Five Tips To Help Manage Stress:

  1. Incorporate Exercise and a Balanced Diet

When you’re overwhelmed, giving your brain what it needs to process and recover is essential. This is why diet and exercise are discussed so much when handling stress. You want to ensure your brain has the nutrients and relief it craves to handle those overwhelming stressors efficiently and effectively. 

A good diet and a new exercise routine don’t need to stress you out even further—it’s all about finding a balance and doing what’s suitable for you. 

If you don’t already incorporate exercise (other than work), add a 30-minute walk to your day. As for diet, just be mindful of what you’re eating and maybe reach for healthier options like a glass of water rather than another alcoholic drink or swapping fries for a side salad with a meal. 

When you know you’re overwhelmed, doing good for your brain and body can make all the difference. 

  1. Take a Break

Breaks in the restaurant industry are typically non-existent. Not only do we usually not get one while on the clock, but taking time off can seem impossible, too. Of course, this is taught behavior—restaurant culture likes to push push push, and the need for rest has been seen as a sign of weakness. 

Luckily, the tide is changing in the world of restaurants. More and more managers understand that rest and work-life balance are essential for a team to function 100% and encourage staff to take breaks, whether a 15-minute shift break or a few days off. 

You deserve time off, and it will only make you a better employee if you do yourself a favor and take it when you need it! Be sure to focus on rest and recovery when dealing with stress. As mentioned, make mindful decisions about diet and exercise to mitigate your burnout and make the most of your break.    

  1. Seek Support

Seeking support when feeling burnt out is invaluable to managing stress effectively. Discussing problems with someone you trust is essential to getting advice, validating your feelings through shared experiences, and identifying your triggers and reactions to stress, providing deeper self-awareness about what you need. 

They say folks with a solid social network are more resilient to stress, but your support group doesn’t need to be huge. A couple of friends, family members, coworkers, or members of a professional support group you click with are enough to get the stress-beating benefits. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. In addition to venting to your support group, they can also be the best people to lean on when you need assistance with some everyday chores or tasks to make time for yourself. 

  1. Find a Hobby 

Hobbies are a great way to relax while giving your brain some healthy stimulation that can relieve stress. When performing a hobby, you’re dedicating a specific amount of time to something you enjoy—and, in a way, taking a break from the hectic responsibilities or feelings that can be overwhelming. 

Hobbies can also cause good stress, known as eustress. Eustress is a type of stress that causes excitement, challenge, and motivation, whereas distress causes anxiety and fear. 

For example, perhaps you’re trying a new skateboarding trick. You may feel challenged and frustrated. Still, as you continue to conquer your goal, you feel accomplished, satisfied, and excited by the results. 

Seeking hobbies that offer a healthy challenge or help you relax, like reading or meditating, is essential to overcoming burnout. 

  1. Communicate Your Needs

Sometimes, when we’re overwhelmed, we keep too much to ourselves, feeling like a burden to others when asking for the things we need to feel better. So, we carry on and avoid discussing our needs, hoping things will just pass naturally. 

We can’t expect people to read our minds, so addressing your needs as soon as you recognize a potential problem—whatever it is—is essential. Trust me. It’s better to talk to a manager or co-worker about what you need (time off, a process to change, etc.) before they recognize your distress and make decisions for you instead. 

Additionally, boundaries are healthy in any relationship—even working relationships. So, if your boss schedules you more than usual or a co-worker keeps asking you to pick up shifts and you feel overwhelmed and overworked, set your boundaries and declare your scheduling needs. And remember, it’s always okay to say no. 

If your place of work offers benefits like paid time off, leave, or an employee assistance program (EAP), be sure to ask for details on how to utilize the benefit and communicate with your manager when necessary. 

Summer is a great time of year in the restaurant industry—people are happy to be out in the sun, events are popping off, and the money is usually rolling in. Managing the stress of the increased chaos is essential to enjoying a long and successful career in the hospitality industry and staying with an employer for a longer period of time.

Drink water, perform self-care, and remember that what you do is essential and challenging work—you deserve to take time to be your best self!


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.