Incorporating Wellness


As busy hospitality owners, passion and the love for food and the perfect guest experience are often prioritised above all else. But it is critical that as food and hospitality professionals, you begin to focus more attention on the wellbeing of yourself and your employees.

Not only are happier employees and staff more productive and efficient, but they also contribute to the bottom line – workplace wellbeing programmes save money ($4.20 for every $1 spent)1.

The Five Ways to Wellbeing / Ētahi ara e rima ki te ngākau ora help people stay mentally well. Created as a result of the New Economics Foundation’s (NEF) Foresight Project on Mental Capital and Wellbeing research report and developed by the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand, building these five actions into day to day lives is important for the wellbeing of individuals, families, communities and organisations. The five actions are:

Connect: Me Whakawhanaunga
Talk & listen, be there, feel connected.

Strong relationships with others are an essential part of building resilience and boosting wellbeing. Evidence shows that connecting with others including colleagues, friends, whānau and the wider community promotes wellbeing, and helps create a support network for when times get tough.

Ways to connect:

  • Talk to someone – and really listen. Have an open-door policy and let your team know you are available if anyone needs to talk.
  • Plan a social event for workmates. Invite family members and partners to encourage participation and involvement.
  • Play with your kids. Laugh and be silly. Laughing improves your sleep, boosts your immunity and enhances creativity and memory.
  • Talk or have a telephone call instead of emailing. Or better yet, make time to connect in person.

Keep learning: Me Ako Tonu
Embrace new experiences, see opportunities, surprise yourself.

Being curious and seeking out new experiences positively stimulates the brain. Learning improves our self-esteem, keeps us connected and involved and helps us adapt to change and find meaning in our lives. It has also been shown to help prevent depression in later years.

Ways to keep learning:

  • Focus on training your senior staff and giving them responsibility and ownership in their roles. This will also allow you, as the business owner, to feel like you can take time away from the business.
  • Get to know your staff and find out what makes them tick. Set goals for yourself and your team and come up with a plan to work towards achieving them.
  • Take a professional development course and upskill yourself and your team. Learn new tricks of the trade and stay on top of the latest developments in the food and hospitality industry.
  • Learn a new language. A simple way to start could be to begin incorporating some Te Reo into your daily routine when communicating with staff and customers to encourage diversity and learning of the Māori language.

Be active: Me Kori Tonu
Do what you can, enjoy what you do, move your mood.

Being physically active every day is great for our bodies and minds. As well as improving physical health and fitness, being active can also improve our mood and overall mental wellbeing, and decrease stress, depression and anxiety.

Ways to be active:

  • Go for a walk on your lunch.
  • Take a yoga, Pilates, or tai chi.
  • Start your summer garden project and grow your own veggies.
  • Grab some workmates or whānau members and organise a day outside to try out activities like cycling, stand-up paddleboarding, rock climbing or hiking

Take Notice: Me Aro Tonu
Remember the simple things that give you joy.

Paying more attention to the present moment, to thoughts and feelings and to the world around us can boost our wellbeing. Using attention to increase awareness, concentration, and focus on the current moment and the task at hand has been shown to improve wellbeing and mood.

Ways to take notice:

  • Keep a beautiful object on the check-out counter or by your desk.
  • Step outside after a night shift and look up at the sky.
  • Practise gratitude: start by choosing one thing a day that you are thankful.
  • Try mindfulness meditation.
  • Listen to your favourite music.
  • Take a break from your digital devices.
  • Do one thing at a time. You will be more attentive and focussed for the task at hand, and it will likely be done at a higher quality.

The Restaurant Association has a series of health & wellbeing resources available to read and download from our website or call the Association for more information on 0800 737 827.

1 Mental Health Foundation (n.d.). Working Well: Creating positive environments for mental wellbeing – the what, why and how. Retrieved 8 October, 2018, from


By Marisa Bidois, CEO, Restaurant Association of New Zealand