Healthy Hairdresser Advisory Council: Anna Manukyan

Our Healthy Hairdresser Advisory Council member Anna Manukyan, Assistant Vice President of Education for Matrix and Biolage, has provided a lot of good advice on health and wellness for salon pros. We’ve compiled her responses on recent topics here.

On finding the best career fit for you individually:
Ask yourself: Is this a job or a career? Are you fulfilled? Do you evolve your skill to continue to succeed over time? Do you go to bed knowing you’ve made a difference? If you’ve answered yes to two or more of those, you’re doing great! If not, use your industry resources to explore jobs that match your unique skill set.

On heart health:
Cardiac disease—including diabetes, stroke and high blood pressure—is one of the leading causes of death. My sister happens to be a cardiac nurse, and I hear daily about the devastation heart disease causes. An ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure! We can incorporate a few foods to help keep literal heartbreak at bay:

  1. Eat a handful of healthy nuts such as almonds or walnuts.
  2. Try blueberries, strawberries, cranberries or raspberries. Berries are full of heart-healthy phytonutrients and soluble fiber; they’re easy to pack and they make a great snack when you have a minute between clients.
  3. Take flaxseeds in ground or milled form to reap the greatest benefit —they can be a quick addition to any smoothie and you won’t know they’re there, but your heart will thank you. They contain omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and phytoestrogens to boost heart health. On Heart Day, February 2, I dare you to wear your favorite red lipstick and tell coworkers about the changes you’re making for better heart health!

On making one quick change to improve your health:
Planking is a super effective exercise that you can do practically anywhere to work your entire body; dedicating just five minutes a day will make a huge impact on your strength! My other life hack is liquid chlorophyll, which boosts energy and aids everything from liver detoxification and digestion to wound healing, weight control and skin complexion. I mix a few capfuls with lemon water and drink it throughout the day.

On protecting your bones and joints:
In this case an ounce of prevention truly is worth more than a pound of the cure. Even though what we do is physical, it’s not the same as being active. If getting on a treadmill is the farthest thing from your mind after a long day, try to incorporate some yoga poses into your day to keep your body agile. Nourish yourself! Calcium and Vitamin D are both essential for bone health and should be taken together, since our bodies need vitamin D to be able to absorb calcium. Also, inflammation can be brutal on joint health and is a common factor in many diseases. It’s something I've personally struggled with and now swear by a concoction I’ve named “RAW elixir,” since it really looks like a Biolage R.A.W. display: Combine turmeric, ginger, lemon, honey, a dash of cayenne pepper and coconut oil with hot water, and blend to a thick smoothie consistency. Refrigerate for up to two weeks, and add a few teaspoons in a cup of hot water daily to drink as an anti-inflammatory tea. True miracle worker!

On the importance of community service for salon teams:
So many salon owners are looking for ways to motivate their teams. Getting together to choose a cause and bring awareness to it elevates teamwork, allows for leadership development of team members, lets clients get involved in a meaningful way and builds relationships with like-minded business owners.

On books and other resources for salon pros:
I am a huge fan of podcasts—they are a great way to learn while on the go. A few of my absolute favorites for mind, business and overall human connection are: Freakonomics; Hidden Brain; Ted Radio Hour; The Good Life Project; The Moth; and This American Life. Books I tend to refer to and recommend include: Outliers by Malcom Gladwell, Tribes by Seth Godin, The Content Trap by Bharat Anand and The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, because we all feel in our own way. My latest discovery is the HeadSpace app for daily guided meditation. It’s clever, quick and so beneficial for sleep and clarity of mind.

On getting in touch with spirituality and end-of-year gratitude:
December tends to be hectic, and time for balance and reflection is hard to find. For years I felt wiped out mentally and physically—so much so that the time spent during the holidays with loved ones felt like a blur. My birthday is the last day of the year, so January 1 is truly a fresh start. To honor the previous year while staying mentally calm in the chaos of the holidays, every day in December I make notes on my phone of a favorite memory from the year. It can be anything—an accomplishment, something funny my kids said—that makes me smile by just thinking about it. This not only forces me to think about the good in my life, but on the last day of even a difficult year I can close that chapter fulfilled with 31 amazing, sweet and special memories. As another year comes to an end, good health is what I am most grateful for. Personal health, health of loved ones, health of people we work with—it’s the common denominator for happiness personally and professionally. Health is one of the few things that money can’t buy, and without it nothing else matters. 

Thank you for sharing such thoughtful approaches to body/spirit/business, Anna!

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