Balanced Bartender | Amie Ward

Balanced Bartender

Stay healthy, Bar Meisters

Living a balanced life is very important for us as bartenders. In order to have a long, successful and healthy career behind the stick you need to take care of yourself mentally as well as physically. We are dedicated to you the bartender and want you to be your best!

Amie Ward

Amie Ward

Website:
thehealthtender.com

As we continue to navigate unprecedented times, it is natural to be experiencing higher than normal levels of stress. The body’s reaction to stressful stimuli is called the “fight-or-flight” response, and manifests itself through quick and shallow breathing, increased heart rate and blood pressure, tensing of muscles, and an overall sense of frenzy. One of the easiest tools to reduce anxiety and stress is practicing conscious or mindful breathing. It can be combined with movement practices like yoga and stretching or completed by itself. Breathing is a reflex, and something we do not have to think about. Mindful breathing is a great practice to activate the relaxation response, improve performance, and get in touch with your body.

Relaxation is the opposite of “fight-or-flight”, and results in physiological changes like decreased heart rate, more controlled breaths, loosened muscles, lowered blood pressure, and feelings of calm. When we focus on our breathing, we are executing strength training for our diaphragm—the primary muscle of respiration. Strengthening our diaphragms results in better control of our breathing and more efficient delivery of oxygen to our muscles. This efficiency is bolstered by enhanced focus as we become one with our mind, body, and emotions.


Here are two simple mindful breathing exercises that can be accomplished anywhere and anytime.
Get yourself in a comfortable position for each, either laying down or sitting with a neutral spine. If these routines feel like they might be intimidating, try them when laying down for bed. Even if you do not like the practice, you will have a super easy time falling asleep!

Box Breathing: Box Breathing (also known as tactical breathing) focuses on equal breathing counts at all four points of respiration—the inhale, exhale, and holds at the top and bottom of the breath. Start your count at 3 seconds across the exercise, gradually increasing your time with more practice. This technique quickly executes the relaxation response, and helps the body make full use of each breath. Breathe in through your nose for 3 seconds, hold that breath for 3 seconds, slowly exhale through the mouth for 3 seconds, and hold for 3 seconds before beginning the next cycle of breathing. Repeat this exercise for 2-3 minutes.

Here are two simple mindful breathing exercises that can be accomplished anywhere and anytime.
Get yourself in a comfortable position for each, either laying down or sitting with a neutral spine. If these routines feel like they might be intimidating, try them when laying down for bed. Even if you do not like the practice, you will have a super easy time falling asleep!

Box Breathing: Box Breathing (also known as tactical breathing) focuses on equal breathing counts at all four points of respiration—the inhale, exhale, and holds at the top and bottom of the breath. Start your count at 3 seconds across the exercise, gradually increasing your time with more practice. This technique quickly executes the relaxation response, and helps the body make full use of each breath. Breathe in through your nose for 3 seconds, hold that breath for 3 seconds, slowly exhale through the mouth for 3 seconds, and hold for 3 seconds before beginning the next cycle of breathing. Repeat this exercise for 2-3 minutes.

Alternate Nostril Breathing: Alternate Nostril Breathing is simple yet powerful. It is known to restore balance to the left and right hemispheres of the body and boost the nervous system. Sit in an upright position with a neutral spine, on the floor or in a chair. With your right hand, lightly block the right nostril with your thumb and inhale through the left nostril. Block the left nostril with the ring finger or middle finger, and then exhale through the right nostril. Inhale through the right nostril. Block the right nostril and then exhale through the left nostril. Inhale through the left nostril. Complete this cycle 3-5 times, ensuring to end with exhaling through the right nostril.


GET TO KNOW YOUR BARTENDER
Amie Ward
 Amie Ward

Please meet Amie Ward, a decorated bartender, industry veteran, and known as The Healthtender—an ACE Certified Health Coach with a B.S. and M.A. in Kinesiology from the University of Maryland College Park. She has been outspoken on health and wellness in the service industry, traveling across the United States to educate bartenders on how to care for themselves physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. Amie recently moved to Chicago and loves to connect with the hospitality community in healthy ways to promote longevity in the industry. In her spare time, you can find Amie bartending at Neon Wilderness, pulling trucks and competing in Strongwoman competitions, and climbing obstacles at Spartan Races.