Ten Ways to Reduce Chef Stress

Reduce chef stress

Editor’s note: Ten Ways to Reduce Chef Stress was originally published in September 2021 and updated in May 2022.

Working as a chef means successfully managing a busy, mentally and physically demanding job. As a culinary artist your work draws on a broad skill set making it both exciting and – at times, let’s be honest – tiring and stressful.

While stress at work is common, we know from experience that being a chef can ask a lot of you to get those great plates on the pass. So here’s our round up of top tips to feel less stressed, Chef.

Ten ways to reduce chef stress

Show up early and start with a plan for the day

Stressful mornings can shape stressful days. If you’re always running slightly behind schedule, try getting into the kitchen a little earlier, grab a coffee and sketch out a rough plan for the day. That way you’ll start your shift feeling in control and ahead of schedule.

Get clear on what you’re delivering for the day

If you’re not a manager in your kitchen, get clear on what your boss expects you to deliver during the work day. This is a common source of stress in kitchen teams, which can be easily solved. Make a plan for the workday with the boss, and ask questions around anything that’s not clear.

Write things down chef and prioritise

The To Do list doing the rounds in your head? Get it down on paper and take the stress out of having to remember it while you’re busy in the kitchen. You’re free then to concentrate on what you’re delivering. Check your completed tasks off the list as you go along. So there’s no more keeping a tally throughout the workday.

Ten ways to reduce chef stress – schedule in breaks

It’s tempting to feel like the only way to manage a stressful workload is to power through it, non-stop. As a chef you’re busy virtually all of the time, but if you can find five minute windows to draw a breath and refocus, you’ll get more done by the end of the shift.

Take a quick trip round the block

Beat the stress of a split shift by going for a walk at lunchtime and getting some fresh air. Well fresh-ish, anyway. 

Stay away from kitchen conflict chef

Conflict among co-workers takes a toll on everyone’s mental health in the kitchen, so avoid it at work as much as you can. Think resolution not revolution.

Keep perfectionism in check

It’s a fact that in a busy, fast paced kitchen there will be times when you need to improvise and deliver your best, but not perfection. Commit to yourself that you’ll always do your very best in the circumstances, and you’ll avoid the stress of the perfectionism trap.

Ten ways to reduce chef stress – listen to music

Powering up your favourite playlist or streaming your favourite radio show en route to work can be a really great way to blow off steam building before or after a shift.

Minimising your stress outside of the job

Avoid unhealthy habits

Don’t rely on alcohol, smoking and caffeine as ways of dealing with stress. In the long term, these crutches won’t solve your problems. They’ll just create new ones.

Ten ways to reduce chef stress – keep active, eat and sleep well

Exercise, eating and sleeping well won’t make your stress disappear, but it will reduce its emotional intensity, clear your thoughts and let you deal with problems more calmly. Scientific study after scientific study has validated that these big 3 help boost endorphins, regulate dopamine and keep you happier.

Read: Chef Exercises You Can do at Work

Bonus tip 1. Connect with people

Reach out to trusted colleagues, friends and family and ask for their input on how they’d deal with your workplace stress. They’re likely to offer fresh perspectives and suggest ways of dealing with it based on their own, different experiences.

Bonus tip 2. Help other people

People who help others become more resilient. They grow confidence in being able to take care of themselves and others – a useful life skill in stressful circumstances. Try doing someone a favour every day. Something as small as helping someone cross the road or going on a coffee run for colleagues.

Ten ways to reduce chef stress – conclusion

Look for the positives in life chef and celebrate the things for which you’re grateful. We all have things to be thankful for no matter what type of challenging day we’ve had.

Read: Managing Chef Work Stress

Managing stress is important to maintaining good health and living a long life. It’s important to have coping mechanisms to hand and to use them. You’ll notice how much better you feel with these tips and tricks to lighten the load! 

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