The coronavirus pandemic has put an emotional, psychological, social, and financial strain on people across the world of all ages, backgrounds, and lines of work. Those in the bar and restaurant industry have faced and continue to face some unique challenges during COVID-19. So, what can you do to take care of your mental health?
The Bar Industry And COVID-19 In 2021
With the delta variant, continuous changes to health and safety rules and regulations, and hospitals that are filling up again, it can feel like you’re out of control. On top of the ongoing fear of exposure or re-exposure to the virus, here are some concerns you may be dealing with:
- Closing temporarily due to the pandemic. Many bars and restaurants have opened and closed or shifted back and forth between takeout only and opening multiple times throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Customers or patrons are unwilling to follow the rules of your bar. Not only is it dangerous in terms of exposure to the virus, but it is emotionally taxing when this happens.
- Job loss and permanent closure. If you worked for a restaurant or bar that has closed since March 2020, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, over 110,000 have closed.
This is a time of uncertainty. If you own a bar, you might be faced with tough decisions like determining whether to stay open or go back to takeout only, and if you’re a worker, you might wonder if you should risk your health or stay home – or, you might have no choice. These ups and downs can lead to financial instability, stress, worry, feelings of depression, trouble sleeping, and physical and emotional exhaustion. So, what can you do?
Continue to refer to the CDC website for information related to rules, regulations, and guidelines pertaining to the pandemic.
Caring For Your Mental Health
Here are some ways to care for your mental health while working in the bar industry during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic:
- Talk to your boss. If there’s a specific situation you’re facing at work regularly, or if there’s one you’re preparing for, such as customers who won’t wear a mask or stick to other rules, ask your boss what to do and say. If you are a bar owner or manager, work to keep your employees safe. Give them protocol for these situations and extend compassion and support.
- Go back to the basics. It can be easy to let self-care practices go when you are under stress. Focus on getting enough sleep, eating consistently, and taking time out of your day to de-stress. Remind yourself to slow down when you need to, and when times are tough, take it one day at a time.
- Emphasize stress-relief methods. Ongoing stress impacts the body and mind negatively. Stress relief practices such as breathing exercises, self-talk, meditation, physical activity, socializing, and spending time in nature are all incredibly important, both on a regular basis for maintenance and on days when stress is particularly high.
- Seek financial resources. It can be hard to ask for help financially, but if there are resources available to you and you’re in need, do not be afraid to apply for them or ask someone to help you apply for them. This could be a grant for your business if you own a bar or a restaurant, financial help for yourself or your family, or something else.
- Spend time with your support system. Social support is imperative to emotional and physical well-being. Those with strong social support show lower levels of depression, anxiety, and both physical and mental signs of stress. A support system can include friends, a romantic partner, coworkers, a support group, family members, a therapist, or anyone else in your life. Whether you meet face-to-face or online, connection matters.
- See a professional. Anyone can benefit from seeing a therapist, and therapy is proven to help people with stress. Therapy is a confidential place to talk about anything that’s on your mind, find coping skills, and more. For many, especially those who work for and take care of others, it is an incredible relief to have therapy as a space to focus on yourself.
Parenting During COVID-19
2020 statistics indicate that 78.2 percent of families include a working family member.
The emotional strain of balancing family life with providing for your family during this
time is a real challenge for many parents and families across the board, and it might be
extra stressful if you’re in the bar or restaurant industry. Online therapy options may be
advantageous for busy parents and individuals with full work schedules, alongside
Is anyone else hoping to connect with a therapist during the coronavirus pandemic?
Regardless of how you find support, make sure that you reach out for help when you
need it, and remember that you don’t have to navigate this time alone.
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