Introducing the #BetterCheflife coaching sessions: You are beyond passionate about your work as a chef or FOH professional, but you feel torn that it conflicts with your personal life so much:
You struggle to draw the line with taking responsibility, so work seeps into your personal time
You fully well know what you have to do to set boundaries, but find it challenging to put it into practice
You resent always having to choose between your career and your loved ones
Without a healthy relationship between the two, both your career and your relationships suffer. Furthermore, not having a clear separation between the two also takes a toll on your physical and mental health.
It all depends on how skilled you are at setting boundariesand more importantly, honouring them. Because from Day 1 in this industry, the line between work and your personal life gets blurred. There is a lot of general advice out there, but this is where having a coach on your side can help.
This month, Love Letters to Chefs is offering coaching to Hospitality professionals who want to set healthy boundaries and successfully separate their work from their personal lives. So that you can look forward to:
A long, fulfilling and sustainable career in Hospitality
You prepare to head home, but there you are, 45 minutes later, still giving instructions about the next day’s shift. You promise your son an afternoon at the park, but your day off gets interrupted with question after question.
You love being all things to all people. But that leaves you spinning plates and priorities, because no one else volunteers to take responsibility. You recognise that this has got to stop, if only for your own wellbeing. But you are not sure whether things will ever change.
What you need is to have someone in your corner – reminding you of what you value and gently holding you accountable to that. That is what coaching with Love Letters to Chefs offers.
Let me know in the comments if you resonate with this! And DM or get in touch via email if you want to know more about how 1-1 coaching can help you set better boundaries.
You know that this goes with the territory when you are so passionate about your work. But you now recognise that this comes with a cost. You worry about what this is doing for your physical health in the long term and your day-to-day mental wellbeing. And you now want a more healthy relationship with your work.
I am here to tell you that this is totally achievable. Love Letters to Chefs is here to support you in setting those boundaries and navigating the challenges that come with that. Want to know more? Get in touch.
I am very proud to share my latest article, this time for Best Served Podcast and their 86 86 86 Challenge. So often we think that we are limited by our work schedules, and while this is in a way true, we forget what we actually have going for us. And what really matters in the end.
“Access to a good quality of life is never just about time, is it? There are people in regular 9-5 jobs who struggle to find fulfillment, living in messy homes and leading chaotic lives. Then there are people who grew up emotionally disconnected from their parents, even though as children, they spent a lot of time together. The bottom line is that a perfect schedule cannot guarantee a balanced life.”
For anyone in Hospitality making a change in their lives for work life balance: the transition is going to be uncomfortable. You might have had to make a hard choice. Or take a big decisions. Maybe even initiate a difficult conversation, so that you can enjoy better wellbeing than you currently enjoy.
Very often the change requires delicate negotiation with someone else: a customer, your employer or your spouse. They might not want to make adjustments or want things to be different. You might face your own doubts about whether it will all be worth it, in the end.
I do not have words of consolation for you, but I invite you to remind yourself of why you want this change in the first place. More time with your family? Peace of mind? Less stress? A little rest, so you are ready for the next shift?
Later this month, I am opening up coaching sessions to support Hospitality professionals navigate these big changes. Watch this space!
For my third interview, I spoke to Tobie-Anna Durk, the founder of Kelly’s Cause Foundation who shared her thoughts on work life balance and how it impacts mental health:
“..so I think just having that awareness of how much work life balance and mental health tie-in with each other is going to hopefully bring about that change even more. But it kind of needs to come from the employee saying “No, I’m actually not going to do that” and the employers changing the way they work rotas.”
Tobie-Anna set up Kelly’s Cause Foundation to support Hospitality workers with training in Mental Health First Aid. You can watch the whole interviewhere.
The pandemic opened our eyes to a lot of truths about Hospitality. Many of us in this industry – whether restaurant owners or employees – began to ask: “What was it all for?”. The endless sacrifice, putting others first, saying no to what we needed.
Unfortunately, this is the journey that faces every martyr. They give, give, give, and at some point, begin to resent the people they served. The only difference is that in this industry, we collectively bought into the myth that to be a chef is to sacrifice self.
But as individuals, we can question whether you should take that idea at face value, or put your own spin on it. You might discover that you need ____ to function at your best as a chef. The blank might be an hour for yourself on your day off to read a book. Or an hour in your office where you are not disturbed, so you can catch up with the paperwork for running your kitchen.
It will not be easy to step into this new way of being. But I invite you to sit with that question: at first, on your day off. Then keep returning to it as and when you can. And of course, it goes without saying, do the things that you are guided to, chef!
I am excited to share this interview with Maria Campbell of Cooks Who Care, who shares her journey in co-founding the organisation and her thoughts on how we can make work life balance accessible. In our conversation she also highlights many norms that we take for granted in our industry, but need to question.
“..whatever fills your bucket of happiness..we have to think about dropping a coin in that one. And then also know and tell yourself, “You know what, I do everything I can to be my best”..”and that’s enough. And I need to do this too.”
Cooks Who Care was founded in Philadelphia by Maria and her husband Scott Campbell. They have built a community to support Hospitality workers and employers in choosing wellbeing. You can watch the full video here.
What will change when you question the ‘musts’ and ‘shoulds’ and all the other rules you framed to get by in life? Giving yourself permission sounds like taking the easy way out. But it is, in fact, making a hard choice: choosing what you are called to do versus what you think you should.
It might not be easy to change your ways of being, but I encourage you to keep this question in mind. Return to it in your free time or on your day off. What do you need to give yourself permission to do, chef? And tune in for an answer.
Launching today is a new series of conversations on work life balance with industry professionals and change makers.
While all of us agree that it is a challenge, we rarely acknowledge just how much our work life balance impacts us. And yet, the solutions can be found in small actions and decision.
I am excited to share this interview with Chef Taffy Elrod, who shares how she gave herself permission for self care. Forced to adapt to life at a slower pace after closing her restaurant during the pandemic, she describes her process of unlearning the old ways of being that she adopted as a chef.
“..as someone who has just been indoctrinated in that understanding and that way of living, everyday it’s still a decision for me. I’m going to decide that I’m worth this time. And of course, that as I get older, I need to do this to take care of myself.”
Taffy is a seasoned chef, former restaurant owner, culinary instructor and recipe developer based in Hudson Valley in New York State.