Salon burnout happens to others, not to you, right? Wrong--burnout can happen to anyone who identifies so strongly with work that they lack balance between work and personal life. Why did you burn out? Repeating the same mindset over and over made each new day totally predictable—and boring. What happened to the enthusiasm you felt? It was there just a few months ago? You were so into the new trends, taking the seminars, and the hustle.
A few telltale signs? You don’t have the old get up and go, you seem to be pushing yourself to work, or your station is an island where you keep to yourself and don’t engage others. At the end of the day you sneak out without a goodbye to anyone.
How did this happen? Remember starting out with no clientele, money being tight, pickings slim? You worked hard to build a business— I take my hat off to you for building a clientele in today’s competitive marketplace. Finally, one day, you made it--but your clientele took over your life, and now you can’t pull back. You may have painted yourself into a corner, but the money is good now. Besides, after all the hard work, you aren’t giving an inch, nope, not one single client.
So, what now? Now, you focus on restoring a healthy balance between your work and your needs, your dreams and personal life. You prioritize your wellness, if anything, to ensure a long and healthy future career. Here are three key burnout signs to look for:
1. Doubting your work. A feeling that your work isn’t that good anymore. You may even find the work boring. You know a refresher course is the ticket but seems daunting right about now. You are not liking your situation, it’s not working for you, and you don’t want to fix it. You seem stuck being bad to yourself—and, seemingly enjoying it.
What to do: Ask yourself, how well am I taking care of myself? When you ignore your needs, your creativity dries up. As soon as you start feeling your work is not good enough, check your level of self-care, are you sleeping enough, eating nutritious food, exercising just a little, keeping good company—you know the drill. Remember, you can only fake pouring from an empty cup for so long.
Do this: Set a deadline on this behavior by saying to yourself, “I will put up with this situation until such and such a date-—after that, my needs are number one.” Set the date and see your current situation as temporary by visualizing the future solution in as great detail as possible.
2.Riding the Emotional Rollercoaster. You have spontaneous fits of anger, crying, take things too personally, engage in petty competition, jealousy, mindless self-abuse and gossip. This wasn’t you just a few weeks ago.
What to do: Repeat to yourself “If I please 90% of the people 90% of the time, I am doing really well.” You should bounce back from the unhappy client, the snippy co-worker, and the rude person who cut you off in traffic. If you can’t seem to let it go, it’s time for a self-care break. Plan more personal time. Explore programs that can help with stress such as yoga, meditation or tai chi.
3. Working in a Toxic Salon Culture. I’ve worked in several salons in my forty-five-year career—each one had its own feeling and culture— two of these lacked team spirit; Working in a toxic culture leads to burnout because you are constantly on the defensive. Defensiveness does not seem to breed creativity. This environment cramps your style, wears you out and affects your income.
What to do:
Accept that a toxic culture is affecting your spirit, creativity and your income—don’t pretend it’s not real. Do your best to connect with the supportive team members. Capitalize on the positive people and opportunities. If you continue to feel a lack of support and creativity—look for another place to work.
Here’s the big takeaway: The most compelling reason for being good to yourself is preventing self-medicating burnout and exhaustion with alcohol, drugs, overeating destructive behaviors.
Take good care, your career and life depends on it.
“When you complain, you make yourself a victim. Leave the situation, change it or accept it. Everything else is madness.”—Eckhart Tolle
Carlos Valenzuela is as a Hairdresser, educator, ex-salon & school owner. His focus is guiding salon professionals to a more fulfilling career & lifestyle.