With much of the country still closed and business slow, most of us are finding that there’s not too much work to balance right now (which is it’s own problem).

Eventually, the world will return to normal and customers will flock to bars and restaurants with more fervor than ever. When that eventually happens, it will be all too easy to take on those extra shifts and overdo it. While things are still slow, it’s the perfect time to take steps to ensure you’ll have a healthy balance later.

Over working can lead to a wide range of both short- and long-term problems. There are the immediate symptoms of fatigue and stress, but over time bartenders can damage muscles and suffer from a range of symptoms like irritability, headaches, and in serious short term memory loss.

Pre-covid bar scene

Pre-covid bar scene

“I think maintaining a healthy work/life balance is crucial to avoiding burnout, but what constitutes overwork/burnout can be different for every individual,” shared Chilled 100 Member, J.A. Harrison. “Some are happy to work 70 hours a week. Some are wiped out by 40. I think the most important tip is to just pay attention to your own body and not ignore its needs.”

“I think about times when my work/life balance has been most unhealthy, there are always signs of bodily distress—breakouts, irritability, sleeplessness, headaches,” Harrison continued.  “Work as much as you want as long as your body is in balance. Pay attention to your individual needs regarding diet, exercise, hours of sleep needed to wake up feeling refreshed. And if that means you can get up and work 80 hours every week then go for it. I think I put in a lot of hours at work, but our sous chef Morgan is there before I get there every day, and still there every night after I leave. But he’s also healthy and in a happy relationship and killing the game with his cooking.”

Understanding your body, it’s needs and limits, and how to replenish yourself is critical. For many, finding a hobby that brings joy and relaxation is something that there’s never been time to do. Now is the perfect time to explore new things – for Harrison the best escapes are hiking and gardening. Having time outside, even for those who aren’t outdoorsy can be a huge boost for both mental and physical health.

Learning how to say no is critical to developing a healthy balance. The prevalence of hustle-culture has made it difficult to say no to anything, as it might be an opportunity. But, putting your health and well-being on the line for “the grind” is something that should die with the pandemic. Making personal time for yourself and avoiding burnout are the best skills you can give yourself long term. Sure, there are some opportunities you shouldn’t miss, but if you’re wearing yourself thin and not preforming at your best, you likely aren’t making the best impression.

With that in mind, we wanted to conclude with Harrison’s last words of wisdom, “So my advice would be to also pay attention to your passions, and make sure you make time for them. If you make time to do what you love, and you make time to take care of your body, finding balance will inevitably follow!”