The Hospitality Industry can be a tough gig and my advice to peers and colleagues is to learn how to keep your cool.
The work is dynamic and exciting, and there is never a dull moment. However, it can also be extremely demanding and stressful. It is no place for hotheadedness.
We have been trained to manage our emotions and while it has become second nature for us to be forgiving and understanding, there are certainly times when it’s harder than usual to control our temper.
We need to be especially aware of this now Summer is here! The sweltering heat can make things doubly exhausting, and with hotter weather often comes hotter heads!
So, what do you do when a guest or colleague tests your patience?
How do you deal with people who seem intent on ruining your day?
Here are some tips to consider for how to keep your cool and avoid losing your temper at work. These tips will hopefully stop you from doing or saying things that you know you will regret later on!
How to Keep Your Cool in Hospitality: Breathe!
Deep breathing can do wonders in calming your body.
When you find yourself in a situation where you are tempted to do or say something that you know is driven by high emotions, take a moment to pause and take a few deep breaths.
Breathe in slowly through your nose, allowing your chest and belly to expand, then slowly breathe out through your mouth.
By breathing slower and more deeply from your stomach, you signal your body to calm down.
Very often, we don’t even notice we’re holding our breath especially during highly stressful situations. It definitely takes practice, but you’ll feel the calming effect right away.
How to Keep Your Cool in Hospitality: Stretch
Hospitality work is not just mentally and emotionally stressful. It can also cause stress to build up in your body.
Whether you work in operations where you are constantly on your feet and moving, or in the heart of the house where you are hunched over your computer the whole day, a nice stretch can be beneficial for you.
Quite often, we hardly even notice that our bodies have become tightened up due to stress. Take a moment to think about how often you find your jaw clenched or your shoulder muscles tensed up throughout the day.
Take a few moments to walk around and stretch your body.
Move your shoulders around, stretch your neck and twist your body slightly at the waist. Bonus relaxation points if your joints release that precious “pop”.
You will feel so much more relaxed and awake, and less prone to stress-related outbursts!
How to Keep Your Cool in Hospitality: Be mindful
A dynamic and fast-paced work environment means that work is constantly coming in and piling up. Whether you like it or not!
It seems like there is always someone asking you to do something. Demands are coming from left and right. Either from guests, management or colleagues. You’re not even done with one task yet, and already here comes another one!
It’s enough to drive someone to lose their cool!
At times like this, it is important to remain mindful and focus on the current task at hand. Be present in the moment and work steadily.
It helps to write down pending tasks so you can free up space in your head. Instead of worrying about what you might forget to do. Make it a habit to list down things you need to do based on highest priority and urgency. Then tick them off one by one.
Relax, you’ll get it all done!
How to Keep Your Cool in Hospitality: Use empowering self-talk
Just as you would comfort a child experiencing big emotions, talking yourself through stressful situations can be helpful.
By using empowering statements such as “I can handle this” or “I’m calm and in control of the situation,” you can combat the knee-jerk responses of your body and allow yourself to process your thoughts and calm your nerves before reacting to a situation.
The language you use inside your head and the thoughts you allow yourself to think can deeply affect how you respond to negative situations.
So make sure you only nurture positive self-talk and affirmations.
How to Keep Your Cool in Hospitality: Consider the consequences
In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to dismiss consequences in favor of letting our emotions run the show.
When a guest or a colleague tests our patience and triggers our emotions to run amok, we just feel like nothing matters except getting back at that person or venting out our anger.
When your emotions are running high, it helps to stop and think about what comes after.
Yes, you may momentarily feel a sense of pleasure or satisfaction at being able to express your anger and saying all the things you’ve been keeping in your head. But is it worth getting suspended, or worse, dismissed from work?
Consider “the cost of doing vs. the cost of not doing.” Which has more weight?
Will you end up regretting it in the long run?
How to Keep Your Cool in Hospitality: Talk with a friend
Sometimes, we just need to see a face we like or talk to someone we get along with in order to turn our mood around.
To get out of that negative headspace, find a colleague you like and chat for a bit. Find something to laugh or talk about that could help distract you from the buildup of negative thoughts inside your head.
Don’t have anyone around that you like?
Excuse yourself for a few minutes to make a quick phone call to your partner or family. Sometimes, hearing the voice of a loved one is all the therapy we need to snap ourselves out of a funk.
How to Keep Your Cool in Hospitality: Take good care of yourself
It’s not always a situation that triggers a negative response. Sometimes, when we stretch our bodies to the limit, we risk having our emotional stability affected too.
When you are tired or sleep-deprived, your patience wears thin and you lose your temper easily.
Always make sure to get enough sleep, stay hydrated by drinking the recommended 8 glasses of water a day. And keep your body fit through regular exercise and by eating a well-balanced diet.
Problems at home, worries about finances and other personal issues may also be triggering your temper.
Try to troubleshoot where your anger is stemming from and work on these problems so they don’t carry over to the workplace.
When you take the time to prioritize your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, you will find yourself in a more peaceful and relaxed state. You will be less prone to irritation and anger, and you will be able to handle stressful situations better.
Working in such a high-stress environment can definitely test the limits of our patience. But we are the ones who are best equipped to deal with these kinds of situations because of our years of experience dealing with difficult guests and colleagues.
The next time you find yourself in a heated situation, try not to react based on your current emotional state. Instead, apply these How to Keep Your Cool tips to calm yourself and take control of the situation.
Before the situation takes control of you!