Our Top 5 Tips for Returning to Work

15th April, 2021 in Industry

Top 5 Tips for Returning to Work

We’ve begun the long journey back to some sort of functioning society; a return to our much-loved (and much-missed) bars, pubs and restaurants.

Hospitality spaces are important cornerstones of our community, they’re where we come to meet loved ones, celebrate with friends and engage in one of the most important, yet undiscussed, aspects of our health: connection.

Despite ongoing negativity from the media, we’re feeling positive that this is the beginning of the end of the pandemic. With vaccinations being rolled out around the world at a rapid pace and sunnier days here in the Northern Hemisphere, we can look forward to emerging from our enforced hibernations.

So, in a post that Buzzfeed would be proud of, we’ve put together a list of our top 5 tips to help us return to work as smoothly as possible.

1 - Make sleep a priority

One of the upsides of the various lockdowns we’ve endured is that most of us have been able to embrace a sleep routine that is more in line with our natural body clock.

The shift from our natural sleep patterns to those that Hospitality dictates is going to be tough. Nick Littlehales, a sports sleep coach, refers to this shift as ‘social jet-lag’ because the experience is somewhat similar to when travelling rapidly across times zones!

Making sleep a priority is one of the most beneficial things we can do, ever! Sleep is our natural recovery process and without enough of it, both our minds and our bodies cannot heal themselves sufficiently from the stresses and strains endured throughout our waking hours. A good place to start with improving sleep is having a good ‘wake-up’ and ‘wind-down’ routine.

Allowing some time to wake-up properly after sleep, instead of rushing off with coffee in hand, can really help. Nick Littlehales recommends 90 minutes, in the mornings and the evenings, to get the most out of this process.

Many ‘night-owls’ find that opening a window, flicking through a book, and avoiding screen time can make the mornings feel more attractive, manageable and meaningful.

Allowing a decent chunk of time to wind-down before bed is equally as important. Mimicking the outdoors by reducing artificial light and lighting candles are things that can help us to switch off before sleep.

Learning about circadian rhythms and sleep cycles is a great way to re-frame how we see sleep.

Check out more information on this here: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/circadian-rhythm or have a read of Nick Littlehales’ book, ‘Sleep’: https://www.waterstones.com/book/sleep/nick-littlehales/9780241975978.

2 - Walking & taking the greener route to work

We’re pretty sure that you don’t need us to tell you that nature is a happiness drug. It is a fact that is somehow knowingly engrained in all of us.

Nature is a fantastic healer. It reduces anxiety, aids mental health and can even gift us a deep sense of meaning to life - and it works without us having to make any effort.

It can be difficult for us hospitality folk to have time to enjoy the outdoors when we’re working, but by walking to work, getting off a stop early and by taking the greener route, we can still reap the benefits.

Getting off transport early and walking may seem like an unrealistic prospect when trying to get to work on time, but if we plan ahead it can really nourish our days.

The act of walking can help us mentally prepare for our shift, and by this we don’t mean over-thinking, quite the opposite: gifting ourselves time to re-centre, to be present and to feel grounded. Additionally, hospitality work is without a doubt a physically demanding trade. For example, going from waking up, to sitting on a bus, to being behind a bar all day, isn’t going to do us much good. Walking can help gently wake-up our body and minimise aches and pains after our shift.

Let’s drive through the leafy lanes instead of the busy road, and let’s walk under the trees and brushing the leaves as we go!

3 - Hug those that you can

Over the past 12 months, human touch has been ripped away from us like someone pulling off a blanket while we’re still dozing. Neuro-biologists have recently discovered sensory nerves in areas of the body, such as the back, that send signals to the brain to aid emotional processing.

Touch calms and soothes us. It reduces our heart rate and moderates stress. It also aids social bonding and can even reduce physical pain.

Due to a ‘new-normal’ which dissociates us from our natural instincts, we are faced with a community suffering with loneliness, distress and mental health struggles. Let’s embrace consented touch wherever possible. Squeeeeeeeze those within our bubble, stop and pet the cat on your journey to work and release some well-deserved Oxytocin!

Text informed & cited by following article, more information on the science of hugging here:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/apr/14/science-hugging-missing-pandemic-human-touch-skin

4 - Compassion and understanding

We’ve all been locked indoors, aching to finally feel a cold pint against our lips and to hear the hubbub of chatter and laughter around us. It’s been a long old haul, and a tough one at that!

Just like us, our guests are likely to be experiencing a cocktail of emotions: anticipation, anxiety, excitement, relief – just to name a few.

The best thing we can do is remain compassionate and understanding to our guests. Remember what it’s like to be out in public again, enjoying delicious food and drink and finally catching up with friends. That being said, it is important that we remember our worth. We are not disposable, and behind the mask and politeness we are human beings with lives external to our professions. By radiating this compassion out, it will most likely return to us.

It is completely natural to be feeling overwhelmed in these times and if it all gets a bit much there’s no shame in taking a moment for ourselves.

Find a quiet space, focus on your breath, in through the nose, hold, slowly out through the mouth, repeat. Finish with a smile and banish that cortisol from your mind!

Let’s be kind to ourselves and listen to our body.

5 - Remember that you’re important, and enjoy being back at work

The last 12 months have shown us all how important hospitality professional are to a functioning society. More than anything that’s been taken away, returning to bars and restaurants has been at the top of everyone’s list.

We are important.

We must look out for ourselves and our fellow colleagues, now more than ever.

At Healthy Hospo we are so grateful and overwhelmed by the strength, determination and perseverance among the our community and for that, we salute you all!

Let’s have fun and enjoy ourselves!