The Top Chef alum, who recently opened Arlo Grey, has stumbled upon a brilliant self-care ritual that everyone can do at home. 

Kristen Kish
Credit: Timothy Patrick Clancy

Kristen Kish is very busy, but she's never too busy to play Connect Four before bed.

The Top Chef alum, who just opened Arlo Grey in Austin, has been working predictably insane hours while preparing to launch her long-anticipated solo project. But no matter how long her days have been—and they have been really, really long—she makes time to do one thing after work and before crashing: play a game. Recently, the game has been Connect Four, and she is bad at it.

"I'm terrible," she says. "My record is definitely a deficit. But it encourages this playfulness and curiosity; it’s a childhood game. It’s a moment in which there’s laughter and lightness. When everyone goes home and there's only a handful of people left in the restaurant, and we sit in this empty dining room at the end of the night ... it's really special."

Kish tells Food & Wine she's always struggled with navigating the work-life balance thing. So instead of balance, she's opted for harmony.

"'Balance' is one of those words I kind of let go of a long time ago, and I rewrote the story in my head," she says. "My life is my work, and my work is my life. I need the personal setting and professional setting to be running in very high gears. For me, it's finding the harmony in how they work together."

So, here's one way she finds the harmony: "Regardless how long my day is, at the end of the night, I always try to play a game," she says, and we think that's a smart strategy that everyone could use, even those of us who aren't working 18 hour days to open a restaurant.

"It doesn’t matter if I could use an extra hour of sleep," Kish says. That hour of play is just as imporant.