Practicing mindfulness can help salon professionals cope with the emotional and physical costs of working in a stressful environment.
Working in a salon comes with stress, even in the best, most supportive environments. Feeling stressed is a natural response to what’s going on in the salon culture: scheduling problems, personality conflicts, relating to your client, being your client’s “therapist,” the technical job you’re doing, the expectations of management that you make retail and pre-booking a priority, time considerations, noise, odors, the distraction of physical pain/exhaustion, not to mention whatever is going on in your personal life.
Stress is not necessarily a bad thing. Feeling stressed often motivates us to work harder. Time flies as you are engaged in the work you love. You are both physically and mentally present. These are the days when you are “in the zone,” flowing through your day.
Early Warning Signs of Unhealthy Levels of Job Stress: • Headaches •Upset stomach •Sleep disturbances •Difficulty concentrating •Short temper •Job dissatisfaction •Low morale Note: If you are experiencing these symptoms, contact your primary care physician to discuss your concerns and explore options, including a referral to a counseling professional.
Being on autopilot like that can feel very gratifying—it’s a sign that you’ve mastered your craft enough to not have to think about how to accomplish every little thing. However, that same tendency can give our minds time to roam—to ruminate about the past or worry about the future.
Past-oriented thoughts like “could’ve, should’ve, would’ve” thoughts or “why me,” as well as “if only” regrets, are associated with depression. Future-oriented thoughts—the “what ifs”—are associated with anxiety. It’s perfectly normal to have these thoughts or to feel wor- ried or sad in moments throughout your day. But, when we are working in a stressful environment, we can find ourselves fully immersed in these thoughts without even realizing it. We can go from experiencing moments of worry or sadness, to an increased risk of developing not just depression or anxiety, but also physi- cal injuries. Thoughts are proven to affect everything from moods to motivation to bodily sensations and overall physical condition.
The Best Defense
Given that the salon environment will always be at least somewhat stressful, and minds tend to wander into less-than-helpful territory, what can you do to protect yourself from some of these negative long- term consequences?
Thoughts are powerful and can affect everything from mood to motivation to overall physical condition.
Joe Santy, owner of Attitudes Hair Studio in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, and sales and technical director for Obliphica Professional, is co-author with Dr. Lew Losoncy of Passionate Salon Professionals. Santy offers two tips for keeping a healthy mindset:
1. Think: What is, is! Santy explains, “Reality is not what we think it should be; reality is what it is! The next time you are confronted with a situation that you know can’t be changed, take a deep breath, exhale with a ‘What is, is!’ and keep your growth moving toward a solution!”
2. Break down the components of every negative salon situation into the aspects you have control over, those you have partial control over and those you have no control over. Put your energy toward finding a solution regarding only the aspects you have at least some control over.
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