Summer is well underway and America finds itself yet again undergoing another round of restaurant shutdowns as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. While June rang in the second consecutive month that the unemployment rate dropped in the food and drink industry, over three million workers in the sector are still jobless. What’s worse, industry experts warn that many restaurant and bar owners will not be able to recover from mandated closures without further Federal assistance, which may or may not be sufficient even if it does manifest.
With this, stress and worry have been on the rise for business owners since the start of the pandemic, according to Gallup Polls. Financial uncertainty, health concerns, political strife and bearing oversight for fearful employees and customers are exacerbating anxiety among restaurant and bar owners across the U.S.
Amid all of the angst, the practice of mindfulness may provide some relief for F&B industry practitioners—or at least the mental clarity needed to be more productive and focused as they weather the adversity.
“In times of uncertainty and great change, mindfulness practice can help us navigate our way forward,” explains Bianca, The Spiritual Owl—an internationally-recognized Mindfulness Expert who has worked with well-known organizations like Amazon and Fortune 500 company executives. “Communicating mindfully both individually and collectively with your team from a place of clarity, honesty, compassion and kindness is one of the most positive ways you can continue to grow and move forward together with trust and re-energized aspirations.”
There is science behind Bianca’s advice. According to a Mindful.org story, mindfulness may improve immune response and reduce psychological pain. APA.org also mentions that this practice can lead to improved immune function.
Other reports tout mindfulness as a productivity tool, citing how it can improve critical thinking skills, emotional regulation, stress management and the ability to brainstorm ideas.
One quick Google search and it’s evident that there are a multitude of ways restauranteurs can practice mindfulness. While meditation and yoga are often touted as two great tactical ways, many experts assert that mindfulness is really about creating intentional awareness and being present in the moment. This can even be achieved in just a few minutes. Some expert-driven techniques include sitting still, slowing down your breathing, actually noticing your breath and other sensations throughout your body like feelings of warmth or cold and intentionally directing focus toward a specific thought.
Taking the time for mindfulness exercises like these, both at home and at work, can bear much fruit on the mental health front. According to the Centre for Mindfulness Studies and other experts I’ve interfaced with on the topic, this includes things like increased mental clarity; reduced stress, rumination, anxiety and depression; increased focus and productivity; more cognitive flexibility, improved working memory; and an improved ability to handle uncertainty.
Indeed, practicing mindfulness might help F&B professionals cultivate more empathy for employees, and the general public, who are all experiencing massive amounts of fear right now. In this post-pandemic era when fear, doubt and discord seem to be the order of the day, practicing mindfulness seems to be one great—and decidedly easy—way to feed the soul.
Forbes Business Council Member Merilee Kern, MBA is an internationally-regarded brand analyst, strategist and futurist who reports on noteworthy industry change makers, movers, shakers and innovators across all categories, both B2C and B2B. This includes field experts and thought leaders, brands, products, services, destinations and events. Merilee is Founder, Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List” as well as Host of the nationally-syndicated “Savvy Living” TV show. As a prolific consumer and business trends, lifestyle and leisure industry voice of authority and tastemaker, she keeps her finger on the pulse of the marketplace in search of new and innovative must-haves and exemplary experiences at all price points, from the affordable to the extreme. Her work reaches multi-millions worldwide via broadcast TV (her own shows and copious others on which she appears) as well as a myriad of print and online publications. Connect with her at www.TheLuxeList.com and www.SavvyLiving.tv / Instagram www.Instagram.com/LuxeListReports / Twitter www.Twitter.com/LuxeListReports / Facebook www.Facebook.com/LuxeListReports / LinkedIN www.LinkedIn.com/in/MerileeKern.