Everyone needs to get away for relaxation, but for people in the restaurant industry, that can be more difficult than most due to long hours, endless days and constant customer needs. The stress and frustration can be ongoing and a long vacation can be just a good dream. In order to stay focused and somewhat calm, you need to be able to get away for awhile each day. A good way to do that is by doing something physical away from the business.

Allison Barber is a partner and manager of Zemi, one of the hottest new restaurants in Boca Raton, Florida. Just opened the first week in January, this reservation only restaurant, always has a wait to get in. ãWe can seat 175 people, and the tables are always filled. The phone is always ringing, and we have people walking in demanding to be seated and telling us they have reservations even when we have no record of it. Sometimes I feel like screaming!ä , Allison told me with a laugh. ã I am responsible for my staff, keeping customers happy, and maintaining a good attitude no matter what. Out business has grown faster than we expected and it can be overwhelming and frustrating.ä Despite all of this, Allison has learned to take care of herself by lifting weights and playing tennis. She has a weight set in her garage and works out three times a week. Her favorite time away from work is when she is playing tennis which she tries to do four times a week. ãI love getting outside. When Iâm not on the restaurant floor, I am in the office which is dark and small, and feel like a cave sometimes. I play in the mornings before I come to work, and Wednesday evening. I can let out my stress and aggravation. Its exhilarating, and I can feel the blood flowing in my veins. It clears my head, and I can handle more. Its easier for me to handle the pressure. Tennis also helps me keep in contact with friends. We catch up on our week, and get exercise at the same time. This also ensures that I donât cancelä.


Sharon Werner is the director of training and development for United Distiller and Vintners, whose wines and spirits are served in restaurants throughout the world In places like Outback Steakhouse and TGIF. In the last year and a half, she moved to Connecticut, got married, and changed jobs. She gets stressed out when she has to constantly respond to changing client and consumer demands. ãPart of my job is to help salespeople be better managers and be successful with our restaurant and bar clients. Our business is global and different parts of the world have different needs. The pressure gets so intense, it can suck me dryä, says Sharon. ãI get overwhelmed, anxious and end up drinking too much coffee, and chocolate. I have to run!ä She told me emphatically. Sharon said that if she doesnât run, she suffers professionally and personally. ãI get great inspiration, ideation, and can figure out problems. Its my form of meditation, where I tap into something greater than myself.ä Her best time to run is at 5 am. ãWhen I donât run, I am less resilient, and there is a breakdown in my coping mechanism. Running makes me a better partner, and I am calmer and happier with myself.

Ralph Russo, president, of Superior Coffee, has an employee base of 3500 people throughout the US and 16 manufacturing plants. He has to keep up with the daily changes in his market and respond strategically in order to serve his customers. ãI canât lose my energy or creativity, so I have to keep up my exercise program. I walk 5 miles a day during the week, and ten miles on Saturday and Sunday.ä In order to do that I wake up at 4:45 AM. I walk in rain, snow, and heat,. This is when I plan my day, and think things out. Iâm more focused when I get to work,. It always gives me an extra edge of confidence, knowing Iâm out doing something that most people arenât.ä Ralph likes powerwalking because he can do it anywhere, doesnât need to bring equipment like weights or a canoe with him.

Physical exercise helps clear the mind, keeps you calm and will help you be more productive. Here are some ideas to help you start:

  • Pick an exercise you enjoy, and that your body can withstand
  • Start out 20-30 minutes and work up to an hour
  • Plan on at least three times a week (anything you do is better than nothing)
  • Schedule it in your calendar or you wonât do it
  • Find a partner you can work out with
  • Donât compare yourself to other people
  • Concentrate on the benefits to you and your work
  • Pay attention to your increase in energy and productivity after the first week



Simma Lieberman

Author Simma Lieberman

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