Hospitality stress and why it's a problem.
Operating a hospitality business is a stressful venture and I'm sure it has affected you in some form. It’s a problem because a lot of operators absorb the business pain. We normally take it upon ourselves to ensure everything is right and to our specifications, but when things go wrong and customers aren’t happy, our stress goes up another level and affects our mental health.
I feel as a society we are expected to take the hits in business. We're told 'it's normal, suck it up, everyone goes through it.' That’s the problem - it's the expectation of tough times in this industry and that it's normal to be in pain.
We can't hide behind a desk and we can't defer the problem to HR or management - it's all on us. For most, the business is your whole life. It represents your savings, your home, your family's wellbeing. It's all or nothing and when it goes south it devastates lives. It can be an incredibly lonely industry but it doesn’t have to be. Here are my tips to help you cope with stress:
1) Talk. Talk with your friends, your family and your team. This is a family industry and what affects you, affects everyone directly or indirectly. Search social media groups like the Australian Cafe Owners Network and find like minded hospitality professionals. One of the biggest stress relief methods is talking with people that are in the same boat. You are not alone and I guarantee there are others going through this as well.
2) Step back. Take some time out. If possible, get off social media and turn off. For at least two days, put someone else in charge - there will be problems but delegate someone to handle them. We aren’t batteries, we are human beings. We replenish our energy, we don’t recharge.
3) Put together a plan. If you don’t already have a future strategy or short and long term goals, you need to create them. Plans and goals create structure and structure creates certainty. Stress and mental health stem from uncertainty of the now and the future. Talk with those around you, step back and reassess your goals and business direction.
Problems will come and go, but how you manage your emotional response is completely in your control.