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Stress in the kitchen - Tips & Tricks

Updated: Nov 16, 2021

Every day, in the kitchen environment, chefs find themselves feeling overawed, anxious, frantic, and generally burnt out.

Feelings like this can come likes waves all at the same time, it’s the general pressure of the job, the work, the industry. You put yourself under pressure as well because you strive for perfection, you want to showcase all your talent and your team’s talent as well. It can be the hardest job in the world and whilst your customers might love your food, the stress doesn’t stop because you get lots of compliments or brilliant reviews!

So here are our top tips for managing stress. Remember if it’s difficult putting them all into practise straight away, start with a few of the easy ones and keep reading our hints and tips, try them out and see how they can change the way stress is affecting you and the teams around you.

1. This is essential, rest, eat well, stay fit and healthy

Regardless of what industry you work in, these are the essentials of life, scientists, and doctors all over the world agree, if you have a good sleep routine, rest up when you aren’t working to re-energise, eat a healthy diet, and try to keep fit, all these factors are effective in not only relieving stress but also stopping stress.

Of course, rest, sleep, exercise and eating the right food, are major factors that support a healthy head as well. Just think how much happier you’ve felt when you’ve focussed on these life balance activities before – so much happier, it’s a great feeling.

For some rest will be sitting in a quiet space, watching the world go by out of a window or the clouds move slowly across the sky to regain energy, for other it will be watching a great box set, or a favourite movie that you’ve mastered all the lines to. Find your zen and use it regularly.

2. Does it always have to be ‘yes’?

Work can be relentless; shifts can feel like they will never end. Learn how to say ‘no’ and create some boundaries that are easy to manage and help you focus.

3. Lists, lists, lists!

When your head if full, it’s a good idea to empty all those thoughts, and paper and a pen is a great tool to use. Keep some paper handy, or a pad that you can pick up when it starts getting too much. If you prefer to use technology, keep notes and your lists on your phone, write it down, then follow the list!

When you have a list to follow, it eases stress, keeps you focused and someone else can remind you if you just ask them to have a quick look at what you’ve written down. Think of it as following a recipe to get things done.

4. Learn how to prioritise

When you make your lists, learn how to prioritise your tasks, use models like the Eisenhower matrix below to help you decide how to arrange your tasks.

This doesn’t mean that what you’d like to get done isn’t important, it’s just a matter of prioritising!

5. A clean workplace and a clean head!

Working in a clutter free space has been proven to reduce stress, let’s face it, it is one of the first things we are taught when we become chefs. The point we want to make, is what works at work, works at home. Just think about all your personal spaces and make the tidy, keep them clean and I can guarantee you will feel better by doing so.

6. Give yourself plenty of time

Running late is a twenty first century problem. We work and live a million miles an hour, pacey environments are the normal today, whether we like it or not! So set your alarm a little earlier, get into work with time to spare, just think how much calmer your life would be, if you could have a tea, coffee, or glass of water, make your list for the day, prepare your workspace. When it’s time to start, you will be all ready, energised, and relaxed.

7. Listen to music

Download your favourite music, get the team involved as well, then during prep time, and quieter times play some tunes that make you feel happy. Asking your team to get involved, means that you all get a chance to listen to tunes you love, we guarantee it will bring a few more smiles and may even expand your music tastes. From opera, classic to rap or thrash metal, what a brilliant way to share as a team. The beauty of sharing your music is that you can all sing along, moan a little at the record of choice or throw some shapes and have a laugh, brilliant!

8. Don’t forget your breaks

Don’t think you have to keep on going, that’s the most stressful way to work. Did you know that it is also a counterproductive way of working as well! Take a break, re-energise, and you will achieve so much more in the day.

9. Reap the reward

When we talk about being kind, it doesn’t just mean be kind to others, be nice to yourself as well. When you work hard and you feel like you’ve achieved, you can still feel the pressure, so reward yourself for being great at what you do.

10. Always be thankful

When we feel thankful, and grateful for everything we’ve got going on in our lives, it’s an attitude that relieves stress and makes you happier. Your attitude and behaviours also wash over the people, family, friends, and those working around you,

Now it’s up to you, all our tips will help relieve the pressure and the stress of your hectic life, and whatever you choose, it will be great move to reducing your stress levels in the kitchen. Remember to stick to them, and you will soon notice how much better you feel.

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