Avoiding holiday burnout when you work in hospitality
How do you know if you’re truly “burned out,” or simply “stressed out?” They have similar characteristics, but there are some distinct differences. Stress is often a short-term feeling of being out of control, such as working extra shifts (possibly short-handed) during a particularly busy time of year, like the holidays. Eventually, stress is relieved when the high season ends. Burnout occurs over a prolonged period when you have the sense that you’re no longer engaged in your work and are simply “going through the motions.” It leads to exhaustion, disillusionment and poor performance.
Given the nature of hospitality work, it’s not hard to imagine getting burned out with long hours, working holidays, weekends and evenings and always trying to ensure the customer or guest has the best experience they can possibly have. It’s demanding work and can result in burnout if you’re not careful.
Mind Tools has recently posted an article that looks at what burnout is and how you can avoid it in your career. They also provide an informal, online survey to help you evaluate your risk of burnout.
You can overcome exhaustion, but what about the deep sense of disillusionment? Some specific symptoms of burnout include:
- A consistently negative attitude about work
- Having trouble sleeping
- Dreading going to work
- Having headaches, backaches or other physical complaints
- Feeling irritable and easily angered
- Constantly thinking of quitting
6 Tips to Avoid Holiday Burn Out
To avoid burnout, follow these tips, especially during the hectic, holiday season:
1. Remember the purpose of your work. It’s a festive time of year and people are coming together with family and friends to celebrate the holiday season. You can help make it truly special.
2. Take control and actively manage your time. Delegate unnecessary tasks and focus on what really matters to your guests.
3. Get more exercise. Whether it’s yoga, kickboxing, power-walking or Pilates, make sure you’re moving, stretching and giving yourself the workout you need to sleep well and release stress.
4. Manage your stress. UCLA Health provides free phone apps with guided meditations (in English and Spanish). Other apps such Soma (winner of EDF Pulse Innovation Award) and Simple Habit allow you to selectively block distractions, alerts and notifications to give you space to relax and connect with those around you.
5. Make time for a hobby. Pick something that has nothing to do with your regular work to get a break from the daily grind. Join with others who have a similar passion.
6. Give to others. Even though you may not have much free time during the holiday season, you can find a way to give to others by sharing a skill you have, helping a neighbor, volunteering or simply giving someone a ride.
Being helpful to others really does bring you pleasure and help significantly reduce stress… and it can broaden your social circle. Develop and deepen your friendships at work instead of spending your break time focused on your phone. Get together occasionally after work, but avoid the negative folks who do nothing but complain. A kind word or friendly smile goes a long way to lowering stress – for you and the other person.
Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor of the Huffington Post, is now launching a new global health and wellness website, Thrive Global, dedicated to offering strategies and suggestions to take control of our lives. She has recorded a short video ‘You Don’t Have to Burn out to Succeed’, in which she shares her thoughts on how important it is to rest and restore yourself in order to perform at a high level. She believes that well-being and productivity work best together to create a win-win for work and life. “The science is clear and conclusive: when we prioritize our well-being, our decision-making, creativity, productivity and performance dramatically improve across the board,” according to Huffington.