Stress on the job has been shown in study after study to be a major source of health problems. Salon professionals have always been fortunate that a major reason people report feeling stress on the job—a fear of being fired or laid off—is less of a problem in an industry that’s chronically short of workers. Dissatisfaction from the work itself, another complaint among employees in other industries, also tends to be a minor issue among hairdressers, who rise to the top on polls that measure career happiness.

"Worry restricts your ability to think and act effectively." —STEVE GILLILAND

Still, every job has some built-in stress. Like everyone else, hairdressers want to make as much money per hour as they can, which can lead to long hours, physical fatigue, time-management issues and other stress triggers.


Some of the steps you can take if you notice regular stress and anxiety occurring are obvious, such as cutting down on alcohol, getting more sleep, eating properly and exercising. Also, rely on your support system—family and friends—to help you through rough patches. And, if it’s possible, an annual vacation or simply time away from your daily routine, can do wonders.


Other Strategies Include:


  • GET ORGANIZED IN TIME AND SPACE. Keep your station easy to work in. Before you leave for the day, spend an extra five minutes untangling your fl atiron chords or going over tomorrow’s schedule. It will help you plan for the next day and know what to expect in the morning.
  • MANAGE YOUR EMOTIONS. If you find yourself angry at fellow students or team members, or so close to clients that their sadness becomes your sadness, try to do a better job of staying collected. Approach situations with humor and keep the big picture in front of you.
  • ESTABLISH GOOD HABITS. Negativity, carelessness and their opposites—perfectionism or trying to control things beyond your control—are habits you can break if you try hard enough. Arrive at the salon with a positive attitude and determination to do the best job you can, and don’t let it rattle you if something goes wrong—because something always will! Try not to absorb that stress.

Slow Down

As you’re blow-drying a client’s hair, what’s going through your mind? Good for you if the answer is you’re thinking about how to keep hair smooth and the client comfortable. But it’s easy to let our minds go into worry mode. Maybe you’re preparing yourself for the next client, who’s a chronic complainer, or you’re daydreaming about what to make for dinner that night.


“I think we’ve all had this experience, which often has us psychically living 30 minutes into the future—no matter how great the present circumstances might be,” says author and speaker Steve Gilliland. “Are we doomed to this torrent of noise that distracts us from enjoying our life? We don’t have to be.”


Many times, we worry for no reason. “Don’t put up your umbrella until it rains,” Gilliland says. “Worry restricts your ability to think and act effectively, and it forces you to mortgage fear and anxiety about something that may never occur.”


Gilliland, author of Enjoy The Ride and Detour, Developing the Mindset to Navigate Life’s Turns, offers tips for staying in the moment rather than putting your head into the next task of the day.


  • LAUGH MORE! “When you laugh, you’re living almost completely in the moment, and it’s one of the best feelings you can have,” Gilliland says.
  • TAKE ACCOUNTABILITY FOR YOUR OUTLOOK. “No one can ruin your day without your permission,” Gilliland says. “Understand that life picks on everyone. When we take misfortune personally, we tend to obsess, giving a legacy to something that may make you a day ‘poorer’ in life.”
  • LIVE FOR TODAYLESS FOR TOMORROW, AND NEVER ABOUT YESTERDAY. “Remind yourself yesterday is gone forever, so why not live in the now?” Gilliland says. “And what if tomorrow never occurs? There is a difference between working toward the future, which is inherently enjoyable in light of hope, and living in an unrealistic future that remains perpetually elusive. If tomorrow never comes, would you be satisfied with the way today ended?”

It’s great to have goals, but you have to enjoy the process of pursuing them.


“It is not how you start in life, and it is not how you finish,” Gilliland says. “The true joy of life is in the trip, so enjoy the ride!”


MODERN SALON’s Healthy Hairdresser is all about you taking care of you. From the monthly column and health-related challenges in the magazine to the Healthy Hairdresser editions of MODERN SALON’s e-letters (sign up at, this is your community connection to tips, inspiration and tools to help you stay strong in body, spirit and business.


For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.