It may sound counterintuitive, but there are scientific studies that suggest serving is more stressful than being a neurosurgeon. That’s right. Serving tables can be more stressful than operating on someone’s brain. Under one study, serving was considered a “High Stress” job.
Some stressors of serving include the unsociable working hours, the negligible pay, the bus rides home spent massaging exhausted feet, and in serious cases, the unwanted advances of drunk patrons.
Stress causes a lot of health problems like asthma, obesity, amnesia, depression and a host of other ailments. So, to help you avoid feeling the totality of the stress involved with serving, here are a few tricks to stay calm while on the clock.
- Don’t be a sponge for your customers’ frustration
Just because a customer is upset does not mean their frustration has anything to do with you. Most of the time, people can only think of how upset they are when they are upset. Ignore any personal attacks and exaggerations. At this point in time, they might not be rational. And remember: never take any attacks personally.
- Keep a healthy work/life balance
This tactic reduces stress no matter what industry you work in. Keep a picture of your family or significant other near you to remind yourself of why you are working. Make plans to be with them on your off days. If you have a particularly draining week, consider trading away a shift to have extra time to get back in a good mental state. This will help reduce stress and improve your customer service.
- Keep a laugh diary
I use the term ‘laugh’ lightly here. This journal can also be filled with rants about customers that make you upset during your shift. When you are feeling down at work, go back and read some of the entries you made. This can help you neutralize any negative emotions you feel. When you’re not at work, stay alert for funny incidents from movies or reality and add to your laugh diary. While it can be helpful to decompress by laughing about difficult calls with colleagues, it’s healthier not to spend lots of time reliving distress.
- Remember stress has a physical component
A healthy diet can play a large part in reducing stress. Try declaring your shift a ‘sugar free zone’ until you clock out. Oftentimes, stress can send you rushing for sugar, but the ‘high’ will only last about 30 minutes. Once it wears off, the sugar blues can leave you feeling emotionally drained and vulnerable. Incorporating more protein in your diet can help alleviate the need for sugar because your body converts it into energy in the same way it would for sugar. Try high-protein snacks like sunflower seeds, nuts, and the like. Remember to drink plenty of water as well. Feeling foggy and frustrated can indicate dehydration or insufficient protein. Eat for success, and you’ll feel calmer and in control throughout the day.