This week, Hope Valentine, Principal, dives deep into the importance of self-care during a chaotic and unpredictable time in the hospitality industry. 

One day…one moment…one thing at a time.  This is the thought process I have had to embrace as we move through these difficult and changing times.  I have had to pause in those moments of feeling drained and ask myself the questions of, “What can I do right now to fill up my tank? Where can I get my energy?”  Can I find it today in the security and comfort of my husband and kids?  Do I need to exercise more today?  Do I need to reach out to a colleague and do a video call and just talk about business?  Do I need a creative outlet and get my creative juices flowing?  Yes, a pause is sometimes all we need.  A time to evaluate how we are feeling and what WE need to energize.  And, it changes.  Every. Single. Day.  Our self-care needs do not have to be one thing- but they do need to be something.

It’s easy to feel guilty when so many around us are in need.  It’s easy to have thoughts like, “how dare I take care of myself…I should be taking care of others, cleaning something, organizing something, making something shinier, cooking for the family, being the motivator.”  But if we do not take care of ourselves and our own mental health, then we cannot take care of others.  I refuse to feel guilty anymore.  I am a better person when I have those moments of pause and reflection.  Another thing I will not feel guilty about is having a bad day.  Guess what?  We are all having them.  There are days we sleep more and exercise less.  There are days the tears do not stop.  There are days that we visit the potato chip cabinet too often.  It is okay!  Move through it and know that tomorrow the sun will rise on a new day with a fresh perspective.

The discomfort we are feeling is actually grief. The clinical five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance as part of the framework.  My suggestion when you feel these emotions coming up is to get up, go to a quiet place, and breathe through them.  The simple act of deep breathing resets the brain and allows you to go back and focus on the task in front of you.  Intentionally give yourself a break and time with “nothing” in that space.  Your body and mind are craving it.  If there are negative thoughts, then stop and exam them.  If they are not serving you in a positive way, then it is time to let them go.

Hey, we got this!  Tomorrow is a new day.  New and deeper relationships are out there to be made.  Our industry may never look the same, but I do know that I and many others are craving the human connection.  And, think about this…In the rush to return to normal, let’s use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.