How can chefs learn to cope with the stress and pressure in the kitchen?

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 18th March 2019

We work in an industry with high stress levels, particularly in the kitchen. In many ways, it’s up to ‘those in charge’ to minimise the pressure but it’s also important to adapt yourself and develop a strategy for coping with the stress.

It’s a recognised fact that stress is a significant cause of mental and physical ill health and is a major problem in the workplace.

Stress in the industry results in:
•Errors and mistakes
•Low morale
•Sickness absence
•Burnout
•High staff turnover

Recognising the signs of stress which may include:
•Trouble concentrating
•Headaches
•Anxiety
•Muscle tension
•Anger
•Stomach problems
•Skin irritation
•Decreased sex drive
•Fatigue

Building your resilience will help:
•Enhanced job satisfaction
•Greater self-awareness and understanding others – leading to better relationships
•Ability to self-manage through setting limits and developing coping skills
•Develop optimism, hope, confidence, problem solving and overcoming setbacks
•Overcoming impaired decision making

In a survey last year, Hospitality Action, asked the question “Is your job a stressful one?” 80% described their job as stressful sometimes or most of the time.

Of course, stress can be related to your job and personal circumstances and it’s a case of learning to manage both situations.

barry blog

Resilience is a key to many circumstances if you are going to cope with the stress and pressure. It’s based on developing and adopting a positive outlook. It helps protect you from stress, and influences those around you in your working environment.

Accept the fact that it’s not possible to eliminate the pressure and so it’s essential that you help yourself cope with it – in other words – become more resilient.

I can identify from experience that many workers see only the negative and feel lonely. Often, they eat too much, use caffeine, tobacco and alcohol to help overcome issues. 

Ways to manage stress

It’s all a case of adapting what’s best for you. You should always be able to seek support from colleagues and managers.

Reflecting on these stress management factors can improve your resilience and ability to cope. Developing your own resilience also enables you to become a source of strength and support for others.

Remember there are support groups who can assist if you need urgent or critical support and take a look at these self help guides

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Barry Hancox

About Barry Hancox

Barry Hancox has spent over 40 years working in the hospitality industry. He was a House Manager at Duke’s Hotel in St James’s before relocating to the Cotswolds nearly 30 years ago to the Lygon Arms Hotel.

Since leaving The Lygon 15 years ago, Barry has owned and run two restaurants, and played a role in the launch of several delis and food retail outlets in the Cotswolds as a consultant.

Barry's interest in mental health issues has grown in recent years, particularly within the hospitality industry.

He is a qualified Mental Health First Aider and he volunteers regularly with Springfield Mind.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 18th March 2019

How can chefs learn to cope with the stress and pressure in the kitchen?