From prioritizing self care to learning to set boundaries, strategies for keeping work from creeping into your home life.
ith late nights, long shifts, business travel, and opposite hours as most of the working world, finding downtime as a bartender can seem impossible.
“I think that shutting off and walking away from the job is one of the hardest things for people who work in this industry, especially when you work 55 to 70 hours a week,” says Jonathan Manteer, a bartender at Denver’s Adrift and Death & Co.
Here, Mateer and other beverage professionals share their tips for prioritizing self care, switching off work mode, and setting boundaries in their personal and professional lives.
“Treat yourself to one meal a week to sneak in some solo quiet time”
Sneak in self care
Even if it’s indulging in a sheet mask, grabbing coffee from your local cafe, or taking time out for a hike or workout, regional Grey Goose ambassador Selena Grace Donavan recommends establishing an at-home self-care routine when between work events or travel. Mateer agrees, saying that enjoying a cup of coffee while reading a newspaper before heading into work or listening to a podcast or new book on tape on his commute helps him carve out a bit of time for himself during busy work weeks.
Alexa Delgado, lead bartender at Lightkeepers at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, treats herself to one meal a week to sneak in some solo quiet time, while Brandon O’Daniel, head distiller at Copper & Kings in Louisville likes to find a good local breakfast spot or take in a concert while on jam-packed business trips.
“Once the timer goes off, we stop talking about work. No exceptions.”
Nix bar hopping and bar talk
“Even when you go out to eat and drink with friends to unwind, your brain is still working, whether that’s looking at another bar’s cocktail list, their service well set up, or their back bar,” explains Mateer. He also works with his fianceé, which means “it’s easy for our work life to bleed into our person lives and vice-versa.”
His advice? He suggests setting a timer to limit post-work shop talk.
“Once the timer goes off, we stop talking about work. No exceptions,” he says.
Atlanta-based Diageo account consultant Kaleb Cribb also maximizes down time by opting for non-bar related hobbies and activities.
“From hiking and bike rides to just walking through a museum, anything that allows you to detach from work—without drinks—is key for decompressing and finding balance,” he suggests.
“I’m learning to tell other leaders that my time off is my time, and they should be just as respectful of it as they are their own free time.”
Lastly, learning to set boundaries is critical to long term success in the industry.
Cribb says that as a new bar professional, it may be tempting to “take on every new project or say yes to every request,” but it can be detrimental to your long-term mental and professional health.
Delgado agrees. “I’m learning to tell other leaders that my time off is my time, and they should be just as respectful of it as they are their own free time.”
As Donovand puts it, “‘no’ isn’t a dirty word. If you aren’t comfortable enough to say no to certain asks, you are going to overextend yourself and, ultimately, you’ll never be able to show your best work operating that way.”