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It’s no secret that lifestyles can be hectic and in some cases unhealthy in the beauty industry. From regular 12-hour workdays to irregular sleeping and eating habits (2-minute lunch in the break room, anyone?), the lifestyle can take its toll both mentally and physically. But Sade Williams, owner of Sade Milinda Studio at Sola Salon Studios in New York City, has been able to find balance between her work and personal life to ensure she takes care of herself as well as her clients. She shares her secrets with Healthy Hairdresser. Sola Salon Studios is a Healthy Hairdresser Sponsor.

Healthy Hairdresser: What does it mean to live a healthy lifestyle?

Sade Williams: As an independent stylist and business owner, I think of a healthy lifestyle as separating your personal life from your work life in order to incorporate things that you can do to keep yourself healthy. It’s finding balance and getting enough “me” time during your day. Hairstylists work very long hours. When you’re passionate about what you do, and you love what you do, sometimes time just flies. You don’t even realize that you’re overworking yourself, because you’re having such a great time doing it. It can be easy to forget to take care of yourself, but it’s necessary for your success that you do take care of yourself.

HH: Have you always had balance and a healthy lifestyle?

SW: No. Once I rented my Sola studio and actually started working for myself, it was something that I knew I had to do, or else I would get burned out. And if I became burned out, there’s no one else I can depend on to pick up the slack in the salon, because I am my own boss. So it’s critical to make sure that my health is my number one priority.

HH: Why is this especially important for stylists?

SW: As your own boss at Sola Salon Studios, you’re pretty much always working. It’s a 24-hour-a-day job. When you work in a salon, all you really have to worry about is doing hair. When you are your own boss, you have to worry about your finances, your schedule, growing your business—and doing hair. You’re dealing with so much, so you must pay attention to your health. Your health and stamina are what keep you going throughout the day and functioning so you can run your business efficiently.

Sade shares her 5 Tips for a Healthier Lifestyle:

  1. Exercise. “One of the luxuries of being a stylist is that you have the flexibility to see your schedule weeks and even months in advance,” Sade says. “You can block out 45 minutes in your day to work out; whether you work out in the morning or later in the day is up to you. This is especially true if you're an independent stylist with Sola Salon Studios, because you’re fully in control of your own schedule. I incorporate fitness into my routine three days each week.” Stretching, yoga, lifting weights and working on your core all address hairdressers’ common problems. Stretching can help correct bad posture and alleviate tight necks, hands and wrists, as well as easing sore feet from standing most of the day. Regular yoga can ease shoulder and neck pain. Lifting weights can increase muscle stamina and improve energy, and increasing core strength can prevent common injuries, improve posture and reduce lower back pain, fatigue and headaches.
  2. Prepare your food. “When you're a hairstylist, it’s unlikely that you’re getting a lunch, and you might not have time to eat breakfast,” Sade says. “I stay healthy at work by meal prepping so I have healthy things that I can grab.” In addition to giving you control over your nutrition and portions, meal prepping makes time management easier and can be better for your budget than eating out every day. “Keeps foods on hand that you can just grab to stay energized throughout the day,” Sade advises. “If I need a little energy booster, I usually drink one of the Naked juices. And I always have bananas in my salon for a quick and easy snack.”
  3. Leave work at work. “You’re dealing every day with clients, who often talk about what’s going on in their lives,” Sade observes. “We can become very close to our clients, and sometimes we take their problems home with us. Leave work at work so that you can decompress when you come home.” What’s worked for Sade is to carve out 20 minutes right after work for mental relaxation. She goes into a quiet room, closes the door and turns on nature sounds and gentle music. Sitting and relaxed, she does some breathing techniques to release stress. It’s a form of meditation, she says, but you don’t have to call it that. “When you do this,” she says, “you’re just making sure that you’ve let go of everything that happened throughout the day so you can go to bed in a very peaceful, calm state of mind.”
  4. Get plenty of sleep. “Make sure you’re getting a full night’s sleep so that you’re ready to deal with the next day,” Sade advises. Sleep not only boosts your mood but is also a key component to a healthy lifestyle. Studies show that getting six to eight hours of sleep each night can help to improve memory; curb inflammation related to arthritis, heart disease, premature aging and other health complications; encourage creativity; improve stamina and endurance; sharpen attention; moderate a healthy weight; and lower stress. When you’re an independent professional renting a Sola studio, you have complete freedom to adjust your schedule, allowing for adequate sleep each night.
  5. Take time off. “One of my pet peeves in this industry is that it’s not easy to take a break,” Sade says. “Overworking is common. I recommend blocking out 30 or 45 minutes to have a meal or go for a walk. It’s very important to take time for yourself during the day; you need that break. I also take at least one vacation a year to maintain a healthy lifestyle.” Giving yourself time to sit on a beach or do whatever you do to unwind is as good for your mental health as it is for your physical health.

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