As we start to get back to our salons after the shut down, we will be entering an unfamiliar and stressful work environment. The changed working conditions, like requiring face-masks and social distancing measures, coupled with concerns about our own health and financial situation can put unexpected pressure on our mental health.
Being a busy stylist can be a demanding, stressful and emotionally draining occupation even at the best of times. With the changes in front of us, those pressures will only increase. So, what do you need to do to protect, nurture and support yourself and your team? Here are my tips to make sure that, regardless of what’s going on around you, you are not only ‘takin care of business’ but taking care of the mental health of yourself and your team too!
Look after your body, it’s the only one you have.
You can’t look after anyone else if you aren’t looking after yourself first. I know that you already know this, but there’s a difference between ‘knowing what to do’ and ‘doing what you know.' Good mental health starts with the simplest discipline: get 8 hours sleep every night, have regular exercise, keep hydrated and eat a healthy balanced diet.
Remember, at times like this having a strong healthy immune system is more important than ever.
Don’t bottle it up
Being vulnerable isn’t a weakness, it’s a strength. Having people in your life that are there for you unconditionally is important. We all need to talk and be heard, and we all need to listen.
Be extra vigilant and keep an eye out for those on your team that might be having a hard time dealing with the stress of it all.
Work hard and play hard
It’s all about finding a balance, and part of that balance is knowing when and how to let off steam. For one person it might be a pilates class; for another it might be boxing or running or swimming or football or yoga. But remember, you don’t need to be at the gym or in a crowded place for exercise. If the last few weeks have shown us anything, it’s that we can exercise in your living room just as well!
Be open about it and don’t be afraid to ask for help
Mental health is referred to as the silent killer because we can’t always see it. We often trivialize it by telling ourselves or our colleagues to ‘get it together’ or 'toughen up.' But, sometimes that pep talk isn’t enough. If it gets to be too much, it's more than okay to seek professional help.
Dealing with stress
Stress is all around us, and it’s not always a bad thing. The right amount of stress can help us stretch a little bit further than we thought possible. That said, everyone has a breaking point where the stress becomes overwhelming and we cease to function at our best. Learn to recognize what your breaking points are and build in mechanisms to help you cope—whether it’s a walk in the park, a massage, mediation, prayer or singing. Find your ‘thing’ and learn to manage stress instead of it letting it manage you.
Replenish the soul
Don't forget to carve time out to nurture and replenish the soul. Take holidays when you can, and spend time at the ocean, in the wilderness, the countryside or the mountains, and let your inner self find peace and stillness in nature and the presence of a higher power.
We're all in this together. Be kind to yourself and be kind to each other.