During the holidays, you take care not only of clients' hair, but of their mood, too. At this time of the year, You're just as vulnerable to seasonal mood swings as everyone else. But who's taking care of you?

At Clementine’s in Denver, owner Dani Everson says she nurtures herself by making sure she doesn’t overload her schedule. “I could book clients every single day in November and December,” Everson says. “I used to work on my birthday, which is December 20. But now I take my birthday off, and I shut off my phone on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It’s nice to be disconnected once a year.”

Everson’s intuitive approach is supported by research. Overscheduling and losing “me time” are two causes of holiday anxiety and depres-sion according to Robert Hales, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of California/Davis. Hales lists other common causes as well:

  •  Shorter days. Up to a third of people who have experienced a major depressive disorder will find that their symptoms worsen during winter when there’s less daylight. People without depres-sive disorders also may feel sad and have less energy.
  •  Alcohol. With increased drinking at holiday time comes increased drinking problems.
  •  Overeating. We eat so much during the holidays that it can lead to feeling guilty or a heightened concern about body image.
  •  Decreased sleep. Partying and extra work time can cost us valuable sleeping hours.
  •  Unrealistic expectations. When we look to the holidays to be magical and perfect, we set our-selves up for disappointment.
  •  Lack of exercise. It’s harder than ever to fit in your workout when you’re working longer hours and have to shop for gifts. But exer-cise is a great stress release, so the holidays are when you should be exercising more, not less!
  • Clients already seek out the salon as a haven from holiday stress. The salon is your workplace, which makes it even more important for the team to brainstorm ways to minimize stress at the salon. Everson suggests a combination of strategies to keep the business running smoothly:
  1.  Check equipment and cleanliness. Well before the holiday rush, Everson gets the vents cleaned, has the shears sharpened and checks the working order of the equipment. Then the team pitches in to do a “big clean” together.
  2.  Individualize the schedule. Although Clementine’s officially closes on Christmas Eve, Christ-mas Day and New Year’s Day, stylists can come in and take clients if they want to. “We try to be respectful, but not forceful, about the holidays,” Everson says. “Also, we don’t black out those weeks. Stylists can take time off if, for example, they want to visit family out of state. They book their plans in September so that we can let clients know about stylist availability when they book. That takes pressure off our front desk staff.”
  3.  Assign tasks. At Clementine’s, one person gathers decorations and several team members show up before work on “Black Friday” to put them up. “It’s always a fun morning,” Everson says.
  4.  Make things easy. Everson welcomes the team to have their holi-day deliveries come to the salon so they don’t have to worry about their packages sitting unattended on their porch at home.
  5.  Eat healthy. On long days, Everson’s team does a potluck to make sure everyone has enough food.
  6.  Celebrate. Some owners delay the staff party until summertime when things slow down, but Everson usually makes it work in December. “Every year we do something different, and we start planning in October,” she says. “We include a white-elephant exchange, which is always very ridiculous! Last year we waited until January, because we made it a two-day event in the mountains.”
  7.  Participate in the community. Clementine’s enters a local wreath contest, and each year a different team member designs the wreath. “Our wreaths have been so creative,” Everson reports. “We haven’t won yet, but we keep trying!”
  8.  Stay visible online. This is not the time to neglect email and social media. Clementine’s issues a newsletter every 6-8 weeks, with the holiday newsletter promoting the salon’s festive happenings.
  9.  Plan inventory early. Everson notes, “We order extras of stocking stuffers like candles and makeup, and we package some items together for easy gift-giving.”

    Brands’ holiday kits, bundling and special deals are worth look-ing into at this time of year, agrees Rachel Jud, director of marketing at CosmoProf, this month’s Healthy Hairdresser sponsor. CosmoProf’s service-oriented “Ready for the Rush” sale event, which runs the first two weeks of November, offers special deals on best-selling lighteners as well as sundries like gloves, foils and bobby pins.

    “We care about the hairdresser and support brands that give back,” says Carolyn Corporon, CosmoProf VP of marketing. “So we make sure to help stylists prepare for their busiest time of the year.” 
  10. Charity is another stress reliever. Helping others enjoy the holidays makes you feel good. This year, salons are invited to join CosmoProf in supporting City of Hope. Learn more by clicking on “Volunteer Fundraising Groups” under the Giving tab at cityofhope.org.

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