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  • Writer's picturesarahhabsburg

Say Goodbye To 2020 Stress: Insights For The Hospitality Industry

“There is no such thing as a stressful situation, only stressful responses to a given situation.”

In other words, stress is not what happens to you; stress is your reaction to what happens to you.

Does this mean you should feel bad about how you reacted to the situations you have faced this year?

No, not at all. The number of problems you have faced is what is to blame.

2020 has been one of those years we can’t wait to put behind us.

For anyone managing a small hotel, lodge, b&b, hostel or restaurant, the year has been disastrous.

Lurching from the novelty of lockdown number one, to some encouraging “Yes, we can open!” moments, only to be forced to close in second and third lockdowns along with facing even more restricted travel when “the variants” took over the headlines.

No one could have escaped such uncertainty unscathed. Even those with a whole bucket full of resilience and grit. That resilience can keep our minds positive and focused on bouncing back from all these difficulties, but our bodies still struggle to keep up.

The pressures of keeping your business above water, concerned about staff, their salaries, their kids and their futures; plus taking care of your own family while worrying about the multiplying zeros in the income column, are all demands on our time and our minds.

Keeping on top of these worries requires a major amount of adaptation energy - the body’s own ability to handle these demands. This is different from resilience. As the concerns pile up and we deal with one after another, our adaptation energy becomes depleted.

Cue in a new demand and our body will involuntarily, and immediately, respond with a fight-or-flight stress reaction.

That is what stress is: your reaction to the stuff, not the stuff itself.

So, how can you more gracefully move into 2021 despite the major pressures you still face?




Acknowledge where you are right now. Do you lose your patience more easily than before? Do you feel helpless and out of control?

Understand that we don’t take action on the basis of what we know; we take action in accordance with the baseline levels of stress in our nervous systems.

Pause the world by taking a moment to breathe in through your nose for two and out of your mouth for four. Astonishing simple but astoundingly effective, this is one of the fastest ways to keep your adaptation energy from dipping below zero. It is the perfect reset when everything feels too much.

Consider meditation, walks in nature, laughing with a child, reading a nourishing novel, taking a long bath. Anything that grants you the permission to pause, to allow time to nourish your soul and refill your bucket of adaptation energy.

No one can change the situation we are currently in, but we can, from now on, understand that we are not to blame for the stress we feel.

By gifting ourselves moments of calm, we can move into 2021 choosing how to respond to life’s demands.

Your reservation calendar will not instantly fill up, but by choosing to respond elegantly you will feel subtle shifts in your ability to cope with whatever the new year throws at you.

As ever, my thoughts and energy are with you, Sarah

I'd love to hear your thoughts. Scroll right down to the bottom and leave a comment.

Still have questions?

Send me a mail here at and I will get back to you. Meanwhile, please do come join the Building Tourism Resilience community over on Facebook here. See you over there!

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