how to deal with anxiety?

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by celbrise, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. celbrise

    celbrise

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    i started a new job last week i enjoy it the people are nice and extremely helpful i got a general idea of my station even on a busy day but im at that point where like i just have anxiety thinking about going into work.

    some days it isn't so bad as im just exhausted to care so it doesn't phase me. other days it is really bad to the point i want to just call in sick. over time i sure when i get better and used to the pace/flow and find my own ways to alternate it to suit me best it will be okay but for now idk.

    i also have a sketchy partner as well he likes to drink after work heavily knowing he works the next day and my sous chef told me he often calls in sick because of that thus why the guy before me quit.

    How do you deal with anxiety? i want to get to the point i can actually consider myself a chef not always being afraid of the simple stuff.
     
  2. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    You should and will always have anxiety. What it's about may change. For what it's worth, I'd rather hire someone who has anxiety about doing a good job than someone who is over confident about their abilities. The more you learn, the more you learn there is to learn.
    As for your current situation, count on and plan to run the station by yourself. If the other guy shows up, great. If not, you are ready for that. You get better by planning and practice. "Proper planning prevents poor performance."
    Eventually you move to a different station and it starts all over again. Eventually you become a chef and will have anxiety about scheduling, food costs and a lot more. The hustle never ends.
     
  3. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    If you are in this business and you don't have anxiety, you are either a liar or you're flat out crazy.

    You're normal. Just don't make the mistake of self medicating with booze and/or drugs, unless the drug rhymes with hot. :)
     
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  4. celbrise

    celbrise

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    i have anxiety because of 3 things basically

    1. the layout; our fridge on my station is super tiny although we try to pack everything before the rush once we get in and refill during down time their is still only so much we can bring out. just this past weekend we got slammed and we ran out of pepperoni then hummus. it sucks too because my station is the furthest from the fridge and we have to walk through at least 8 other people who are busy making orders. im sure it pisses them off when i walk back and forth but nothing i can do to help it.

    if we have 2 people one of us will go and restock when possible while the other stays to make orders but if i was alone im screwed basically.

    2. my partner calling in sick; he already did so on saturday luckily i had someone to help me i was very appreciative of my helper and tried to do everything myself because he did have to work a double that day but we did get slammed hard so only so much i could of done. im kind of expecting to work it on my own i know that won't be the case majority of the time but eventually one day.

    3. just during the rush; im getting better daily but like during the rush people are helping me and although i appreciate it i feel like i won't ever learn from the pace and just one day get slammed which is nothing to these guys but for me im struggling.

    i ask because at my other job after maybe like a year the anxiety went away. i was confident to do my job and it was only during the breakfast hours that i stressed out a lot because im cooking breakfast by myself with limited space. other here it's like we have more people but the pace is a lot faster.
     
  5. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    No offense, but, have you considered the very real possibility this life may not be for you? :)
     
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  6. celbrise

    celbrise

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    haha yes twice. i've always had anxiety though sometimes over the dumbest imaginable things. my friends always asking me why im spazzing out over extremely basic things in life.

    it's also strange because it's only before the rush or before work. once im work it practically goes away. when im work it's like fk me up! or give me something to do prep wise or cleaning i'll do it. just to keep myself busy.
     
  7. frankie007

    frankie007

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    You have to keep this in check, it seems you are anxious a lot. Basically you will have more anxiety with more responsibility as you go up the ranks, it will get worse. i am with sgvirgil on this are you sure this life is for you?
     
  8. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    What sort of life do you have outside of work?

    I realize this may sound trite but I have an anxiety disorder with the occ panic attack (first one was at puberty) and the best medicine for me is to take care of myself.
    Rise early (yeah easy for me to say as I am retired) and splash some water on my face.
    Only 2 cuppa joes in the AM with a piece of fruit and an egg (usually) or a good "breakfast" cookie (make them yourself...the ones on the store shelves are full of crap fillers and other poisons).
    After that I pretty much graze for the rest of the day (mindful grazing...raw veg or a small smoothie... maybe a small portion of lean protein) and drink tons of water.

    Back in the day I did the usual after hours partying until dawn (whiskey and other substances) then flopped into bed (no sleep...just passing out) only to arise sometime after noon to rinse and repeat.

    I am convinced, tho, that some sort of daily exercise is the key to mental health.
    Finding time to do it can be difficult (a BS excuse IMO) but the main idea is to turn off the game console and move around a bit.
    I am in Texas so when it is too hot to take a leisurely stroll of the neighborhood I sometimes just hit the mall or vacuum the floors or fold laundry....mindless activity works for me.

    Why is jefe keeping mr no-show around?
    Family ties?

    mimi
     
  9. celbrise

    celbrise

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    pretty much i just sleep, eat, play video games. the only issue is with sleeping as no matter what time i sleep i always get up extremely early and always tossing and turning at night or i wake up multiple times during the night and am extremely tired regardless how much hours of sleep i get. been like that for years.. when i was in middle school i would knock out at 4 wake up at 12am then stay up doing homework.

    i mean it seems to be getting better over the days that pass by yesterday we got slammed due to a party but my pace has gotten extremely better. i think im just over reacting i mean it is a new job need time to adjust instead of comparing myself from my previous job which i worked at for 3 years to this one where i only worked for a few days. everyone says im doing a good job but to me it's not enough or good enough so i eventually try to work on it.

    this is probably like the only job i've had so far where im actually excited to go into work.
     
    phaedrus likes this.
  10. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    Celbrise, you have said a few things that send up a few red flags for me and I really think you should probably see a doctor. #1. You say that you also have anxiety outside of work. This could be a symptom of other, bigger problems such as depression or other mental disorders. These are nothing to be ashamed of and talking to your doctor might get you on some much needed medication to help you overcome some of these issues. #2. You sleep issues. These could be a symptom of said disorders or it could be due to sleep apnea. These poor sleep habits could be a major factor in your anxiety. People like to believe that sleep apnea is an issue for old or fat people, but plenty of otherwise healthy people also suffer from sleep apnea. I would really consider seeing a doctor about this. Maybe they can help. Finally, I do agree with sgsvirgil, this business may not be for you. It is a very high stress job and lots of people can't handle the stress of this business. I've seen many a strong person crumble under the pressure of this job.
     
  11. celbrise

    celbrise

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    could be depression dont have any mental disorders that i know of.

    as for the field part yea could not be the field for me as i mean i don't see myself as a head chef. sous chef possibly but not a head chef. i'll give it a few more months see where im at if i feel that way again then probably time to hang it up go into my hobby i mean the pay is a lot better but idk about the stress. still need to save up money anyways and already too late to sign up for college by the time i can get said money.
     
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  12. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    Here's a little mental health advice from one human to another. Give up the video games for awhile. You state that you eat, sleep and play video games. Perhaps a different pastime would be healthier. Practice a musical instrument, take up woodworking or painting. Read a book or three. Take a walk around town or any nearby woods.
    There's nothing wrong with video games generally. I've played many. But if that's your only non work activity, a change might do you good.
     
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  13. ChefMacleod.

    ChefMacleod.

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    Senior Sous Chef of 7 years. Gastro food too fine dining ALA Carte
    If you just have anxiety going too work, it's completely natural in our line of work.

    Being anxious and nervous gojng into work shows you care and have passion for the job. Your frightend incase you mess up dishes. Just means you want to make everything perfect.
     
  14. BigCzech

    BigCzech

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    Get some exercise and learn how to alpha up. If you want to succeed in the kitchen you must be physically on point otherwise you get sluggish and your brain becomes cloudy. You're a master of that station, it's yours, you own it, and it's your sole responsibility. I've worked jobs where the only thing the other line cooks were interested in was getting stoned. If it means being the only one in the kitchen at 2am because your partners aren't responsible so be it but if you're the type that depends on a decent team I suggest finding a new restaurant to work with. Remember, this is a job and cooking is your passion. If you're not meshing well with the team you have to move on and find a group you can work with. Don't stay in any position where you are unchallenged.
     
  15. macstrat

    macstrat

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    Little background info:
    I'm autistic, I run a private chef service. I deal with anxiety and all kinds of shit on a daily basis. It got so bad that i had to leave traditional kitchens. My doctor brought in 3 other doctors after a panic attack all 3 concurring that the job was literally killing me. My body and my mind were wrecked. I was 25.
    I've always had the bug and cant imagine myself doing anything other than cooking. But for my own health, I had to take a different avenue to scratch that itch.

    Anxiety in a kitchen is a necessary trait. Keeps you on your toes, keep a you thinking, but also keeps the kitchen a high strung place. If your having anxiety outside of work, because of work, that's a problem.

    As for the Chef title: that's a title you earn. Outside of publicity work, I never call myself a chef, I let other people do that based on if my skill merits that title in their eyes. When people seek out my advice for food, ideas, techniques, That makes me a professional.
    When people are all silent at the table because they are smiling, enjoying the food and the company, that transcends any title I could give myself.

    If you dont take care of yourself, that reflects in your prep, plating, technique, and people notice it. I agree with pete, go see a doctor. You dont prep without sharp knives, and you cant succeed without a sharp mind.

    Keep your knives sharp, brother. You aren't in this alone.
     
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  16. the apostate

    the apostate

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    Full disclosure: my adult daughter is bipolar and deals with overwhelming anxiety on a daily basis even with her meds, so you have my support on much of your post.

    However, as regards the part I bolded above, I would disagree. I can honestly say that over my 40+ year career I have never felt anxiety about my work.

    Anger, disappointment, anger, bafflement, anger, remorse, anger, joy, all of those, yes regularly...and did I mention anger? But in my experience (excluding legitimate medical or psychological issues) anxiety is generally a problem manifested exclusively in the unprepared or the unconfident, it's absolutely not necessary in a kitchen and is often a huge problem unless it can be overcome or directed productively.

    Point being, we're all built differently and there are no emotional or psychological requirements for this thing we do, whatever you can make work for you is good, you know?
     
  17. macstrat

    macstrat

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    I generally agree. I've learned to use my anxiety as a tool. I know it's there so i do things to distract myself. When I keep myself busy, I'm not focusing on it and being sucked into the spiral. I also tell myself "a million people have done this before me, and they survived, I can do this too" I agree it shouldn't be there, but it is, and if it's something i can do something about, then I try to do that.

    It's not so much about confidence, as it is worry about things that haven't happened yet or might not happen at all. I've made bechamel thousands of times, I know I can do it and have the skill set to back it up, it's just the voice that's yelling in theback of my mind "what if" has the vocal cords of a swedish metal band. As for being unprepared, you can only do prepare so much. If your walking into a situation where you dont know if your partner is gonna show up or not, you can have the skills and prep to run the station, but if that's not addressed, it just builds up, and needs to be addressed by the upper echelons.

    Your right everyone is different. Some people handle things better than others, but sometimes you need that outside navigator to help pull you out of the weeds.
     
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  18. Recetasdecocina

    Recetasdecocina

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    no
    There is no way!;)
     
  19. Cdp

    Cdp

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    had some serious issues with this myself ,
    ihad a chef pull me a side he was from an agency and he said break section to 3 parts and write it out strip it reset it
    and funny enough give it a name,
    this gives the same prinicpal of a starter dough a name that you will form an emotiona bond with it and take care of it

    funny it worked
    get uncomfortable or heading down that black dog road.

    give it a name.


    takecare CDP