You seriously need to take a break – that much you know for sure!! What you don’t know is how to fit it in. As a business owner in the height of the season, you are working day and night to make the most of the opportunity that’s there right now.
I know you can’t go off on holiday at the moment. Fair enough, now is not the time you want to walk away for a week or two. I hope you have something planned for the Autumn though!
Overworking is a real problem in the tourism and hospitality industry. Taking care of yourself is taking care of your business. If you keep going without a break, eventually it is you that will break. Chronic overworking whereby you work long hours over a sustained period has negative impacts both for your health and your business. From a health perspective, overworking leading to stress and inability to unwind, negatively affects sleep. Loss of sleep is directly connected to conditions such as obesity and heart disease and also affects memory function.
There are two ways in which overwork really impedes positive health. Firstly, it raises stress. Secondly, it gets in the way of exercise, healthy eating, and other good habits. Research has established links between overworking and overdrinking and between overworking and Type 2 Diabetes.
Most research would also point to overworking being bad for business. A HBR study argues that overworking has a bad effect on your bottom line because it leads to lack of focus, bad judgment calls, and reduced interpersonal skills. We’re just not as nice when we’re overworked. More input doesn’t necessarily mean more output, at least in terms of quality. Burnout in the workplace negatively affects morale and company culture.
While many blame employers and company culture for overworking trends, we are each ultimately responsible for managing our own working patterns. Here are 5 mini-breaks or quick fixes that you may be able to fit into your schedule over the season:
1. Meet a friend for lunch or coffee once a week. Good friends make us feel happy. If they don’t work with you, you’ll enjoy new conversation and perspectives. It heals and replenishes.
2. Switch off your phone for an hour when you get home. Leave it in the car and don’t let it distract you from sitting down by yourself and/or talking to other people. Even if it’s just for one hour while you catch up with family and have something to eat, the advice is to leave it off.
3. Meditate. Try to still your mind. There is a technique to doing this and some great apps out there that help you meditate.
4. If meditating isn’t your thing, try exercise instead – swimming, walking, yoga, running – all of these things allow your mind to rest.
5. Try journaling. Take time once a day or once a week to just write down your thoughts. It doesn’t have to be great literature or even very organized. It’s just a mechanism to get your thoughts out of your head and to open up a space for you to divert your mind towards something other than just being busy.
Switching off – even for a short while - creates perspective and problems can seem easier to deal with once you get back. Remember, we are just not as nice when we are over-worked – take a break! It makes us nicer people and allows us to see just how lovely all those visitors really are.