Raise your hand if you’ve ever worked in a Customer Service position. Raise your other hand if you are currently working in the Service Industry. I see you, girl. And I’ve got some special TLC help just for you.
Whether you’re a barista (thank YOU!), work in sales or retail, a server, receptionist, customer service rep, or are rocking the local call center (you deserve a raise) – you work in one of the most challenging positions on the planet. And most likely, one of the thankless.
No doubt, you have to deal with rude customers, short breaks (if you get any at all), minimal lunch times, inconsistent hours, multi-tasking all shift, and the general feeling of having to be “on” at all times. Let’s not forget the physical toll that being on your feet all day can take on your body. You office peeps don’t get out of it either; sitting all day can be even worse.
I probably don’t need to tell you how important it is to take care of yourself, especially when your job requires you to spend all your time taking care of everyone else. The question, though, is how to take care of yourself, particularly in the fast paced environment of customer service.
Here are a few ideas to help you tend to it – before, during, and after work.
Don’t Rush Into Work
I know this might seem tough and will take a bit more intention on your part. But rushing into work will only start your shift on the wrong foot and you’ll spend the rest of your time trying to catch up.
Try to carve out half an hour, if you can. But even 5 to 10 minutes is beneficial. Use this time to be still, calm the mind, and prepare yourself for what’s ahead. You know the challenges. Decide, in this moment, to move through them with ease. Sometimes finding a word, phrase, or mantra can be helpful in keeping you grounded and focused when the day gets chaotic.
Make the Most of Your Breaks
If you get a 15 minute break, do your best to get outside or remove yourself from the work space. Remember the phrase or mantra you set before you came to work and take a few deep breaths. If you have some privacy and a quiet place, plug your headphones into your phone and try this 8 minute Meditation for Stress Relief.
Take Advantage of Your Lunch Time
If you work in an office, it can be so tempting to eat at your desk. But getting up and away from your work space can break up the monotony of the day, as well as help relieve stress and tension in the mind and body. If time allows, go for a quick walk. Fresh air will help clear your mind and rejuvenate your body, giving you the extra kick of energy you need to finish the day.
Take Care of Your Physical Needs
We put our bodies through so much stress and tend to neglect ourselves at work. But simple things, like drinking enough water and eating healthy meals, can make a huge difference in our day. Do the best you can to plan and prepare your food ahead of time or at least identify a healthy place to eat on your break. That way you won’t be rushed into a last minute decision of Chinese take out or the break room donuts.
If you’re on your feet all day… remember to stretch throughout the day, sit down during your breaks, and try to relax when you can.
If you’re at a desk all day… remember to stand up, pay attention to your posture, and sneak in a walk when you can to get that heart rate up.
Allow Time After Work to Decompress
Just as you took some time before work, it’s also important to take time after work. How many times have you taken all the stress from work and just let it flow over into the rest of your life? Everyone does, it’s hard not to. That’s why being intentional about it is key.
Try going to the gym right after work to let off some steam. Or if you have a long commute, listen to something funny to help you let go and relax. One of my favorite home yoga practices to do after work is Yoga for the Service Industry. There is also Yoga for Manual Labor and Yoga for Neck and Shoulder Relief (great for people who work at a computer all day). And if you’ve had a particularly stressful day, this Let it Go Yoga Flow is for you!
Whether you spent all day dealing with grumpy shoppers, rude customers, or difficult co-workers, you deserve this time for YOU. Take the time and make the effort to fill your own cup, so that you are better able to serve those around you. The consequence for not doing it, is burnout and being unhappy with your job (been there, done that, it’s not pretty).
What can you do today as a form of Self-Care? Do you have any other Self-Care tips for the Service Industry? Share them in the comments below and let’s help each other out!
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