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How to come out of lockdown healthy, happy and ready for the fight

What can hospitality people do to ensure that they stay as healthy and happy as possible, and to prepare for a positive return when the time is right?

We spoke to Tim Hetherington Judge from Healthy Hospo and life coach Andrew Johnson to get their take on the best ways to lighten the mental load, get some head space and prepare for.

Make use of the ‘off season’

Tim from Hospitality Hospo, “Hospitality people are sociable people. Isolation and homeworking are a dramatic change for them, removing them from the most valued aspects of their role. This might make it harder to adapt and cope.”

Tim continued, “Hospitality has been given an off season and we can replicate what sports teams do in the off season so that when things start to reopen, we are in a really strong place to maximize opportunities.”

The foundations of good mental health and wellbeing

Tim breaks down  the key elements that contribute to good mental health into five sections:

  • Pause
  • Recovery
  • Sleep
  • Reflection
  • Connection

The importance of taking a ‘pause’

Working from home brings its own challenges and recognising the warning signs is important.  Stress (burnout) can lead to

  • physical and emotional exhaustion
  • cynicism and detachment
  • feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment

In the throes of full-fledged burnout, you are no longer able to function effectively on a personal or professional level.

Andrew Johnson’s expertise lies in the fields of stress management and resilience.  He’s a strong advocate for taking a ‘pause’.

Recognising the warning signs

Andrew commented, “For most people, recognising those warning signals that we’re overdoing things, whether it’s physical and emotional, is vital. Realising that you need to pause is really important.”

“Taking a pause might not necessarily involve positive activities.  For some reaching for a glass of wine, eating chocolate, or having a cigarette are short term fixes. Longer-term it’s about being mindful; about giving people simple techniques for relaxation, breathing and mindfulness that they can tap into when they need to pause.”

Using ‘pause’ in your organisation

“Pausing also works in a corporate setting. When teams learn a technique together and integrate it into their working day, it gives colleagues and workmates a form of language they can use to support each other.” Andrew continued “it becomes easier to help a colleague who may be struggling.

How to manage your own recovery

We asked Tim about recovery.   “Lockdown is an opportunity for you and your teams to recover, to take time to go, ‘right, I’m going to let my body rest, let my mind rest, I’m going to train and strengthen my body. I’m going to make sure that I’m going to come back, physically and mentally fit.”

“And recovery means eating well, focusing on good food because nutrition is so important to both your physical and your mental health. I think by focusing on recovery you and your teams will be physically strong, mentally fresh, raring and ready to go when things do reopen.”

The Importance of sleep

For Tim and the team at Healthy Hospo, sleep is the foundation on which good mental health and wellbeing is built. The walls are good health, nutrition, exercise, human connection, and mental health. But everything starts with sleep.

“We have an opportunity to really focus on our sleep, to create great sleep habits and to have the consistency and routine that good sleep needs.  A great night’s sleep helps both your body recover and maintain good mental health.   It just gives you so much, both in your short-term and longer-term health.  It helps stave off severe chronic illness later in life, so focusing on sleep is one of the best things that we can do right now.”

Time to reflect and consider new ways of working

As an industry, the focus is on operations and busy making sure our venues are open 5, 6, 7 days a week, sometimes 24 hours a day. Finding time to step back and reflect on your business is hard.

“I think there’s a great opportunity here to step back and take a look at the way we’ve been running businesses and our industry,  and look for places where we could improve. Ask yourself meaningful questions, ‘have we been operating in the right way?’  ‘Have we been maximizing the opportunities; can we do things differently?’”

Connecting mental health and wellness

Human connection is possibly the least spoken about when it comes to health and wellness. It’s a human need that we all have. During lockdown a lot of people are struggling with the lack of human connection.

Tim’s final comment, “This is an opportunity to reconnect, to reconnect with people outside hospitality, maybe connect with people that you haven’t spoken to for a long time.”

“From a business point of view, there’s an opportunity to reach out to others within the industry. We’re all in the same boat right now, we’re all struggling and if we can come together, and not see each other as competitors, but as one big industry, a big family that we like to talk about a lot, it would be very powerful.”

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