Mental wellbeing


Life is uncertain even at the best of times. Whether it’s relationships, work, health or finances, change is always present. We all deal with change differently, but acknowledging change is key. Then you can start to think about how to deal with the unexpected and cope in the best way possible.

We can’t always choose what happens to us, but we do have a choice about how we handle challenges. Consider what has helped you in the past and how you can best help yourself. What supports you in life and what soothes you in times of stress?

How to make yourself more resilient


  • Practice healthy habits and take responsibility for looking after yourself.
  • Get enough rest, exercise and maintain a healthy diet.
  • Invest time in reflecting on your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. You may not be able to see your friends, relatives or professionals but you can still reach out to them on the phone or through digital platforms like Facebook, Zoom or Teams.

Ask for help in the face of adversity, drawing strength from others can prove particularly valuable. Reach out to others in a similar situation. Shouldering a crisis or challenge on our own can be isolating and worsen your situation. We all need others to a greater or lesser extent and you will be best placed to assess what support you might need.

Hospitality Action offers a range of onsite solutions to help at work and manage change, ensuring staff get the best support at the right time. Solutions include mediation, careers coaching and training.

Stress and anxiety

There’s no doubt about it – a career in hospitality can be stressful. Stress is a reaction to feeling under pressure. In the workplace, it often comes about when we feel overwhelmed by too many responsibilities or tasks.

A small amount of stress can be a helpful thing – it gives us motivation to finish tasks. But if you end up feeling too much stress for too long, it can affect both your physical and mental health.

When stress mounts, it can turn into anxiety, which can have a debilitating impact on both long-term physical and emotional wellbeing.

Signs of stress can include


  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Feeling irritated with family, friends or co-workers
  • Drinking more than usual
  • Struggling with work deadlines
  • Feeling isolated and lonely
  • Physical symptoms such as: panic attacks, headaches, chest pains, indigestion, dizziness, nausea, sweating, breathing problems

Ways to manage stress and anxiety

Identify your triggers

Try to prepare for stress by recognising what sets it off.

Organise your time

Make a list of your tasks and approach them in order of urgency.

Be clear about your limits

While it isn’t always possible to say no to things, let people know if you don’t have the capacity to fulfil their demands.

Try to take a short break

It may seem counter-intuitive to take a break when you are stressed but if you can allow yourself one, this can help how you feel.

Develop interests and hobbies

Outside of work, try to make time for what you enjoy to take you away from stress.

Get enough sleep

Stay physically active

Eat a balanced diet

Spend time in nature

Build a support network

Having friends and family or finding support at work to talk through why you feel stressed can make a big difference.

Starting a mental health conversation at work

We all have mental health. Sometimes we feel good and sometimes we don’t. The ability to talk about our own mental health and spot the signs that others may be struggling are vitally important.

When people have mental health challenges, they can often feel stigmatised by them. They can view their problem as a weakness, feel embarrassed by it and reluctant to talk about it with anyone. But by not sharing their feelings, they can potentially make a problem worse.

When someone seems out of sorts or low, it’s easy to tell yourself they probably want to be left alone with their thoughts. But asking how someone is and showing them you’re in their corner could be the first step to their recovery. It shows you care. When somebody’s confidence and self-esteem is low, it can be nourishing to know a friend or colleague cares about them. Your empathy and concern will show them that they count, and that it’s okay not to feel okay.

Signs that a friend or a colleague might be struggling


  • Changes in behaviour, mood or how they interact with colleagues – more tearful, angry, hopeless, overwhelmed, moody, withdrawn or manic
  • Changes in motivation, work performance and output
  • Struggles to concentrate or make decisions
  • Changes in appearance – weight gain or loss, appearing tired or unwell
  • Loss of interest in activities they previously enjoyed
  • Frequent lateness, complaints of disrupted sleep
  • Increase in drinking, smoking or changes in appetite
  • Increased absence or frequent illness.
  • Sleeping more than usual or inability to sleep.

Tips for starting a mental health conversation

Don’t wait for the perfect moment

Just build a conversation into the working day. The idea is to normalise conversations about mental health, not over-dramatize them. People are likelier to speak openly when they’re going about their day to day work and don’t feel under scrutiny.

Mind your language and be a good listener

There’s no one right way of expressing yourself; the important thing is to be empathetic and genuine. It’s important not to judge people, just let them speak – and listen. Don’t jump in too soon with advice, instead offer reassurance.

Don’t take “fine” for an answer

We often feel uncomfortable opening up when someone asks how we are. When you’re feeling down, feelings of low self-worth can leave you reluctant to burden others with your problems. The result is that we often say we’re okay when really we’re not. Asking twice is a good way of letting someone know you really are interested in their well-being. By persisting, you’re signalling to them that you care and want to listen to them.

Don’t worry that you’re not an expert

You’re not a therapist, and you’re not conducting a formal interview. You’re just a concerned friend or colleague, and that alone is a powerful thing. Simply by being open, intuitive, sensitive, kind and encouraging, you can help someone you’re concerned about.

Talk about yourself

If you want someone to speak openly about themselves, sharing your own feelings (without taking the attention completely off of them) can help encourage those struggling. Perhaps confide in them that you get a little low sometimes, worry about things, or perhaps struggle to sleep.

Be specific, where possible

If you think someone has been acting differently it’s OK to mention that too, if it is done in a kind way. “You’ve seemed a bit quiet recently, is everything alright?” or “I’m here if you want to talk.” This shows that you care and opens the door for them to chat about their issues when they’re ready.

Any conversation is good, whatever form it takes

Talking to someone face to face allows you to show you care through expressions and tone of voice. And it enables you to read the body language of the person you want to help. But it’s okay to use digital forms of communication, too.

Don’t give up

You may not kick-start a conversation at first attempt. But simply by trying to do so, you’ve sown a seed of trust in their mind. If the person you’re concerned about isn’t ready to discuss their feelings with you just yet, you need to respect that and not force the issue. But leave the door open for another conversation another time and be patient.

If you’re struggling and wish to seek help or advice please contact our dedicated helpline on

 0808 802 0282

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