How to deal with your insane schedule as a hospitality employee
Your work schedule in a hospitality job is usually anything but predictable. You may be up all night at work, then grab three hours’ sleep and return for the next shift. And while your friends who work standard business hours get two days off every weekend, your day off could be a Monday one week and a Wednesday the next.
This kind of schedule can leave you seriously sleep-deprived, and it makes it tricky to have a life outside of work, too. But there are strategies that will help you cope. Here are some tips to make life on a crazy schedule a little easier and more fun.
Make the most of the sleep you get
When you don’t have enough time to sleep, the quality of your sleep is especially important. Don’t drink anything caffeinated for a few hours before you go to sleep, because it’ll keep you awake longer. Don’t drink alcohol before bed, either. You may be tempted to have a glass of wine to fall asleep faster, but drinking actually interferes with your sleep later in the night and makes it less restful.
Also, try to avoid stressful or distracting activities right before you sleep, like paying bills or checking email. Instead, do something relaxing like listening to quiet music.
Write down everything you need to get done
One disadvantage of an unpredictable schedule is that you can’t expect to do chores and errands at the same times each week. You have to do them when there’s an opening in your schedule, and that means you have to keep track of them all until you get that break. Add the fact that remembering tasks is harder when you’re low on sleep, and you have a recipe for forgotten chores and missed appointments.
To avoid the stress of struggling (and failing) to remember a to-do list, keep a written list and mark the most urgent items with a highlighter. Writing down information you would otherwise try to remember has the added benefit of freeing up brain space for creativity and problem-solving when you’re at work.
Spend time outdoors
After working several nights in a row, it’s hard to get up in the morning of a day off. Help your body adjust to the change in schedule by heading outside. Go jogging, bike on a trail, or spend half an hour in a park. The sunlight will begin to reset your internal clock so you’ll feel more awake, and you’ll be able to enjoy the day.
Find flexible activities for your days off
You can’t commit to activities that require regular attendance, but you can still have fun on your free days. For example, if you’d like to take up dancing or learn a new sport, go to a recreation center or gym that allows you to drop into classes and pay per class instead of a studio that charges tuition by the semester.
Search meetup.com and citysocializer.com for events you’d like to attend. Most groups that organize activities through these sites don’t require you to participate regularly or to RSVP very far in advance. You can just show up when you’re able to and have a good time.
Hospitality work schedules are challenging, but once you adapt to them, you can thrive despite the unconventional hours.