Stress Awareness Month: Stretched, Pressed and Stressed!

Here in the UK, it is Stress Awareness Month – this campaign has been held every April, since 1992, to increase awareness about both the causes and cures.

There’s no doubt about it, a career in hospitality can be stressful at times, but prolonged periods of stress is not good for our; body, mind or spirit.

Hospitality Action states that; “A small amount of stress can be a helpful thing it gives us motivation to finish tasks. But if you end up feeling too much stress for too long, it can affect both your physical and mental health.”

I’ve been there; stretched, pressed and stressed! And, I knew that I couldn’t operate in that state for long – I knew I needed to take action and address my stress.

The theme for this year’s Stress Awareness Month is #LittleByLittle and it highlights the transformative impact of consistent, small positive actions on over-all wellbeing. Personally, I started to focus on making manageable adjustments to my daily routine and whilst the impact of small actions on their own may seem little, the Stress Management Society say that; “the cumulative effects of these habits can end up being profound!”

As someone who is often going a million miles per hour. I want to say that, it’s important you set aside time for yourself. We all need some headspace and some real reflection time. I tend to do this on a Sunday, by walking the dogs or just pondering for an hour or two.

I also ensure I get outside every day for at least 20 minutes, even if that means a brisk walk, instead of jumping in the car, to go to my next meeting – I see that as a benefit to my mindset and health.

At times of stress, it’s also important to know who our tribe is and who our cheerleaders are. Know who you can go to for; advice, help, a shoulder to cry on, a coffee…

Hospitality Action continues to say that; “We live in difficult times and for some organisations this means ever increasing levels of stress leading to gradually lower productivity and engagement. The capacity to turn adversity into possibility is known as resilience and this can be learned and developed.”

Throughout my 30 years in the profession, I’ve faced many up and downs – including huge struggles when first setting out as an entrepreneur, but I have continued to evolve, learn, grow, embrace change, and have come back stronger from every struggle — an approach I feels is necessary for leaders and the profession as a whole, in order for us and it to thrive.

Failures, stresses and setbacks can teach us resilience, adaptability and the ability to learn…or, they can floor us, steal our joy, take away our confidence and limit us, boxing us in, making us play small and not dare putting our head above the parapet.

For me, after having some time to wallow and reflect and initially think ‘WHAT THE HECK AM I GOING TO DO?’…I dug deep and saw my own huge setback as an opportunity to reassess, adjust strategies and come back stronger, and that’s exactly what I did.

On hindsight, I know that my failures and stresses provided me valuable insights and lessons that success wouldn’t have done. It forced me to analyse what went wrong, identify areas for improvement and learn from the experience – I now have a mindset of continuous improvement and this has made me a better leader.

I am dedicated to my role as a champion for the profession, and therefore I am keen to share the good, the bad and the ugly of the hospitality world…I believe this is necessary in order to facilitate progress.

As I say, I’ve been there; stretched, pressed and stressed…and this feeling and experience became one of my drivers for setting up The Hospitality Hero.

I am urging operators and hospitality leaders to take responsibility for their own destiny; it’s time to get creative, to get savvy, to invest in training and focus on excellence and to collaborate and work together to support each other through our challenges. Waiting for others or the Government to bail us out is not the answer, we have to work this out for ourselves.

I am looking to create a community of Hospitality Heroes — professionals who are ready and eager to fight for the industry to be its very best, and I have global initiatives lined up to help train, develop and celebrate these industry champions.

So, if you’d like to take action and become savvy 21st Century Hospitality Hero, please join our free online community – – I have also created an online training programme, which also runs as a fully interactive 8-week course, where I encourage hospitality leaders to face challenges head on, and find fresh ways to work through them. Please find out more here:


For free resources on Stress please visit:

For more information and support around stress and anxiety, please visit: or call the Hospitality Action Helpline on 0808 802 0282 (24/7)