Camille Vidal, bartender and founder of La Maison Wellness, is looking at the positives of time away from the bar. It could be the downtime you need, she says
As the industry is forced into hibernation, we are faced with spending a lot of time at home – the opposite of what us hospo people usually do. Even though times are very stressful with so much fear and uncertainty, it’s also the perfect opportunity to get to know “you” and learn how to refill your own cup, so when life goes back to normal you can pour again. Spent wisely, this time might even make you better at your job and will definitely make you better at living well – and before you know it you will be back behind the bar slinging drinks and sharing your passion.
Your work is active: often you go eight to 10 hours on your feet without pause. It’s therefore so important to keep moving, even when you are self-isolating by staying at home. Get out of bed or off the couch and get moving to start releasing those precious endorphins: 10 minutes of stretching when you wake, an online yoga or fitness class, blasting your favourite song and dancing around the kitchen... do what feels good.
Sit with yourself
I’ll say it again... SIT WITH YOURSELF! When was the last time you allowed yourself to sit down by yourself without a distraction like your phone, or a drink, to really check in with yourself and process your feelings and emotions?
In the hospitality industry we are used to the rush, the busyness of the shift, the constant interactions with colleagues and guests. To sit down in silence at first may be uncomfortable, but trust me, giving yourself the space to process will make you feel better and such skills will serve you in the long term.
Eat cleanly, drink mindfully
Choosing escapism through comfort food and alcohol might seem like a good short-term solution but it is a coping mechanism that will ultimately have a negative impact on your body and your mind. It will, for a moment, stimulate your pleasure centres but done to excess will raise higher levels of anxiety, dim motivation, and give you bad habits on how to cope with stressful situations.
We don’t want your body to exhaust energy clearing toxins from too much alcohol or junk food, so eat clean, fresh food; up your spices such as chilli, turmeric (combined with black pepper), ginger and garlic; introduce more probiotic food into your diet (yoghurt, kombucha, kimchi); eat protein; supplement vitamins C and D; and drink loads of water to help your body flush through. All this will boost your immunity. Eat and drink like healthy hedonists.
Implementing structure is a great comfort and discipline and a way to avoid the temptations of a life of bed-to-couch-to- fridge. Yes, it’s hard when isolating at home with nowhere to go and nothing to do to build a routine, but this will make the biggest difference to your mental state. Set your alarm in the morning, jump in the shower, get dressed – and go to sit somewhere other than in bed.
Manage news intake
While it’s never been more important to consume news, too much will impact on our mental and emotional wellbeing, so be mindful of what you read and from what sources. Try not to overdose on news about the pandemic – set aside a time each day to catch up on news and remember to give yourself the space needed to process any emotions the news might trigger.
Modern technology is our most valuable tool in these times of isolation, but it’s a good idea to schedule some tech-free time too. By reducing physical contact we have increased virtual correspondence and as much as that can do a lot of good, it can also be a distraction. Appreciate your time spent using technology by giving yourself a break.If not now, when? Remember that side hustle? That project you always wanted to do but never had the time? That book you’ve been dreaming of writing? The time for yourself you wish you had? Whether it’s downtime, quality time, time to hustle, or a mixture of the three – bring your dreams to life. You have the time, so if not now... when?!
Far away but together
No surprise, isolation can feel isolating... And it’s most likely we all feel the same, so this is the moment to reach out and call a colleague, friend or family member. We are all in this together so don’t lose hope. Keep reaching out and connecting and when all this is over, we will hug and high five each other over and over again. Stay strong and stay well.