In her own words, The Dandy Partnership’s group beverage manager Symphony Loo, talks about how her new discipline in life. 

“I used to be engaged but we broke up, just when I joined Neon Pigeon back in 2015. I was depressed. I started drinking. I just couldn’t get it right. I gained 10kg. I was not happy, so I needed to get drunk to feel like I could talk to people. It was a vicious circle. My boss put me onto yoga, ‘I think you should go to relax.’ And it did, it made me calm; it started me thinking about a more positive side.

For me, to catch my focus during work I need to focus on something different before work. So everyday I wake up at 8.30am, go for exercise and zone out. For three days I do pure cardio: 45 minutes running out on the street – in a bar all you see is the dark, but running outside you see green – and then a small section of yoga for 15 minutes. For the other days I do crossfit because I want to tone up my muscles. For that I have this app that’s like a personal trainer, pushing me when I need to do more push-ups. I don’t have a rest day, but on Sunday morning it’s always yoga. No matter how hungover I am or tired, I always push myself to go. It relaxes my muscles, relaxes my mind and gets rid of the stress from the week.

As bartenders, we mix drinks and speak to customers; most don’t really take care of their bodies. But if you’re working for more than ten hours, and shaking cocktails for five of them, you need to be strong. I remember one of our bartenders found it hard to bend down and get up. It hurt his back. He got breathless. So work was just adding another stress. Now when I interview people for a job, one of my questions is always, ‘Do you do any sport?’ I want to know how they deal with stress. In hospitality you can have SOPs for service, but even if you give the best service, you get complaints. Being a bartender, you are performing; you have to talk to customers. No matter how stressed you are, how unhappy, once the service starts you have to be positive, because you create the atmosphere for the customers. So if bartenders seem tired, I say, ‘Go take a walk around and think why you’re not feeling well, and if you cannot feel better, just go home.’ If you can’t put up a smile, there’s no point being in service.”

This story is part of our series on Bartenders’ Wellness, first published in Issue 06 of DRiNK Magazine. To read more on the topic, click here.