Whether you are a lash artist, a server, a massage therapist, or have another service industry job, working in the service industry presents unique challenges. You’re on your feet all day, doing work that can be very hard on your body. You always need to be “on” and are paid to take care of others and keep them happy. But it’s so important to remember to take great care of yourself, too.
When you make self care a priority, you have more energy, get sick less frequently, and feel peaceful and content instead of stressed out. Taking care of yourself also makes you better at your job, since it’s hard to be truly caring toward others if you are drained and exhausted yourself.
Here are some of our favorite ways to take care of yourself, especially when you work in the service industry:
Work out often. The stronger you are physically, the easier a physically demanding service industry job will be. Strength training and workouts that strengthen your core (such as pilates, barre, and yoga) are especially helpful for building strength and stamina. You won’t get quite as physically tired and sore at the end of a shift if you prioritize working out, and you’ll have more energy overall.
Get massages! Deep tissue or Thai massage are especially effective at stretching out sore muscles and limbs, and melting away stiffness and tension. Massage also triggers the release of your body’s natural mood lifters and pain relievers, like endorphins and dopamine, so you will feel great physically and emotionally.
Make an effort not to take rude customers personally. When you internalize someone else’s negative attitude, it’s almost like drinking their poison. It makes you feel just as negative and stressed out as they do. Instead, practice setting emotional boundaries and being more detached. The ideal is to be empathetic toward them and practice great customer service without taking their attitude personally at all.
Don’t skimp on sleep. Lack of sleep is a surefire way to becoming irritable and stressed, and it even weakens your immune system. When you get a solid night’s sleep, you feel and look your best, and the little challenges that comes up during your work day feel much easier to manage.
Take a communication class. So many customer conflicts can be resolved diplomatically with better communication. A communication class will help you learn to set boundaries and speak up for yourself in a way that is clear and honest but still customer service-friendly.
Don’t rely on alcohol. It’s pretty common, especially in the restaurant and bar industry, to unwind after work with a few drinks. There’s nothing wrong with doing this once in awhile, but drinking after work all the time is a bad idea for a few reasons. Your body and brain chemistry will learn to associate drinking with relaxation, making it harder to unwind in more natural ways, like stretching, yoga, or curling up with a good book. Alcohol is a depressant, and drinking too often can leave you feeling sluggish, blah, and less motivated to exercise, eat well, and take care of yourself.
Eat a nutrient-rich diet. A diet packed with vitamins, nutrients, lean proteins, and healthy whole grains is basically key to feeling energetic, strong, and happy on a regular basis. Instead of doing anything drastic (which is unlikely to stick), just aim to add a couple of nutrient-rich foods to your meals each day. Gradually increase the amount, and soon you will crave healthy food. Start your day with a green smoothie, packed with kale, baby spinach, frozen organic fruit, a little Greek yogurt, carrots, almond milk, and cinnamon. Have that steak you were planning on for dinner, but eat it on top of a yummy salad. Have a baked sweet potato for a filling snack in the late afternoon. Focus on the foods that are good for you and that you also really enjoy eating.
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