One thing COVID19 made abundantly clear, we salon professionals are essential contributors to the economy. Any remaining stereotypical visions of what we really do for a living cleared up the first week of the shutdown. Aside from our services circulating money in a stagnant economy, we make people feel good. We are the next best choice for those who could visit a shrink but refuse to do so. As the weary leaned back for their first long awaited shampoo, sighs of relief and pleasure echoed throughout the nation.
Adjusting to our new work environment went from well to bumpy, some days are better than others, most professionals adhere strictly to the guidelines, others not so much. I’ve kept an ear to the ground for feedback on clients visiting the salons. The comments are also all over the place, some loving it others choosing never to return to the salon because they didn’t feel safe. One thing about this pandemic, it’s never been a one-size-fits-all for opinions, forecasts, or solutions.
Perhaps, there will be a vaccine in 2021 and all of this will go away, although there is already a large segment of the population stating they will not be vaccinated. Personally, I’ve moved on to learning to live with the virus, its guidelines, restrictions and precautions instead of waiting around or ignoring the pandemic. I just try to sensibly take care of myself.
Which brings me to my tip for you today, here’s the facts: “It’s not going away soon, you have to work, clients and coworkers may not be totally honest about their health status, (my twice-yearly seasonal colds from clients who should have stayed home). So, you’re on your own and it’s up to you to double up on self-care routines.
” Don’t worry about “getting it”—put that energy into creating routines that keep you safe. In a nutshell: until it gets better, the onus is on you to be smarter. Here are a few of my routines:
- I have a “launch counter” where I land when I come home with hand sanitizer, this is where I keep my masks, take off my shoes, and walk to the bathroom for a 20-second hand and face washing. My salon clothes go in a hamper to be washed.
- Speaking about clothes: I heard an NPR report on comfortable fashions outpacing tight jeans and pointed shoes 3:1. The rationale being that after being locked down in big clothes for months, people aren’t going back to tight. I wonder if this will also trend in easy care styling?
- When you get home, I know it can be difficult if you care for others, try to take care of yourself, by spending a little time destressing. My routine is a having a Coke-zero with lots of ice. I just sit and look out the window for a few minutes as I catch my breath. I don’t need TV nor music, not chatter--there is enough stuff swirling around my head from the day.
- I see many of us super stressed while trying to deliver a service because we book ourselves too tight. This stresses you and your client and stress affects your immune system. Book enough time to do the new sanitation and prepare for the next client. Chill out, as much as possible, before you receive your next client. Clients are already on edge just coming into the salon.
- Pinpoint and eliminate stress triggers that will affect your client’s experience and lead to a negative visit—be on time, use your “everything is fine” demeanor, and follow the client’s lead on conversation level while wearing a mask, some don’t want to talk, others don’t want to listen, some just want to chill silently. Look for clues.
- Cas, ually, bring up your ongoing efforts to keep yourself, your client and the work area virus -free. Reassure them that it’s all good.
- Take your vitamins, get your sleep, eat healthy food, drink your water, walk or exercise to compensate for standing all day,
Take good, extremely good, care of yourself.
Carlos Valenzuela is a hairdresser/educator, ex-salon & school owner, author and corporate spokesperson with forty-five years of beauty experience. His focus today is raising wellness awareness and assisting salon professionals in developing a fulfilling career.
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