When I have a few minutes to chat with a patient, I am often asked, “What did you do before you started doing acupuncture?” And while there are many true answers, the most common one I give is that I used to be in food service.
I worked in either catering or a restaurant for a little less than ten years before I started to look for something else, and that kind of work has a lot to recommend it. You get to see and meet a lot of people, maybe you’re exposed to a kind of food or a culture that you weren’t previously familiar with, and ultimately, you’re doing something that helps make people feel happy. Or, depending on the restaurant, at least helps make them feel full.
It also takes a toll. Regardless of whether you’re working front or back of the house, restaurants, bars, or catering, it can mean long hours on your feet with very few actual breaks or opportunities to rest. Eating and sleep schedules can become disrupted. Social issues can lead to anxiety or depression. It’s a line of work that a lot of people try at least once in their lives, and it’s not as easy as it seems.
These all were contributing factors to my decision to do something else. Despite it all, I still miss showing up in the kitchen at 7 a.m. to start my day, the rhythm of prep work (I still love slicing mushrooms), and the controlled chaos of a busy lunch or dinner service. I still cook, for myself and loved ones, and the skills I’ve learned follow me wherever I go, including on a busy shift at OAP, where the chaos is a little different and a lot more controlled, but the rhythm is similar, and I still get to help make people feel happy.
Regular acupuncture was an important part of recovering from the stresses of the restaurant world. I used it to help control fatigue, deal with aches and pains, regulate my digestion and sleep, and improve my mood. I’m happy that, in March, OAP is offering $10 regular visits for anyone working in food service, so that others can benefit from acupuncture the way I did.