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Christmas is one of the most demanding times of the year and, as a busy hairstylist, it’s easy to feel pulled in a million different directions at once. But if you let that happen and don’t take some time out to look after yourself, you’ll be too exhausted to give anybody your best! Here’s our advice for achieving the perfect work/life balance and making it a habit that will bring you happiness and success in the new year and beyond!
Many people think about ‘work’ and ‘life’ as two separate things, and that a real work/life balance is all about surviving the working week so you’ve got two days to kick back and relax. But, as hairdressers, we’re less likely to separate ourselves from ‘who we are at work’ and ‘who we are at home’ because so much of what we do is wrapped up in our personality and our creativity. That can be both good and bad, because it means we’re far more likely to overstretch ourselves and not realise we’re tired until we’re completely out of energy - which can have a knock-on effect on our health, our personal relationships and, ultimately, how we perform when we’re working in the salon.
No matter how much we enjoy cutting, colouring and coiffing, it’s important to remember we’ve also got a life away from hairdressing. So, at the end of the day, park your hairdressing life at the salon door and give your non-hairdressing life as much attention as possible. Also, when you’ve got a day or a weekend free, focus as hard on enjoying your down-time as you would on making your client’s hair look sensational. Being a hairdresser is an important and valuable part of who you are, but you’ll be an even happier and more dynamic hairdresser once you’ve properly recharged your batteries.
Concentrate on what you’re doing while you’re doing it. If you’re cutting a client’s hair, answering a colleague’s questions, taking a telephone enquiry and thinking about your next appointment, you’re not giving any of those tasks your proper attention – more importantly, your customer will notice you’re distracted (and probably feel overlooked) and you’ll be stressing yourself out in the process. Once upon a time, people thought multitasking was a sign of ultra-efficiency. Not anymore. Studies have shown that multitasking reduces productivity, slows you down and makes it harder to focus.
Instead, don’t bounce backwards and forwards between tasks unless it’s absolutely necessary. Being mindful of what you’re doing right now will make you feel more relaxed and energised, and it will also give you extra clarity. Don’t worry – those other jobs will wait until you’ve got time to look at them (and there’ll always be someone who can answer that telephone call!)
If tomorrow’s a working day, look through your schedule before you go home tonight and take a moment to plan ahead. When you know what tomorrow’s going to bring, you’re far less likely to spend your evening thinking about it. Also, don’t underestimate the power of your unconscious! By making your plan and turning off for the night, you’re giving your unconscious mind a chance to think through the next day so you’re mentally prepared for anything that may happen. You might even find yourself making small adjustments to your schedule when you arrive the following morning, because your unconscious has worked out a better way to do things!
Of course, it’s important to stay flexible because the unexpected always happens, but only go off-schedule if it can’t be avoided and won’t have a negative impact on the rest of your day. Try to remember that it’s not always a good idea to say yes to everything so don’t take on more than you can comfortably manage and don’t feel guilty about occasionally answering “No, sorry, I’m too busy to do that.”
Have you ever gone on holiday and immediately got sick? That’s because you’ve been pumping your body so full of stress and adrenalin while you’re at work that as soon as you relax your immune system finds it hard to cope. At this time of year, with so many cold and flu bugs hanging around, it’s a particular problem. We bet we’ll all know somebody who’s going to get ill this Christmas!
The best way to make sure you’re not one of those ‘I’m too sick to enjoy Christmas’ people is to take a short exercise break a couple of times a day. It doesn’t have to be anything major, just a brisk walk-around-the-block at lunchtime or some gentle stretching to get your body moving (although if you can squeeze in a proper workout three or four times during the week that’s even better.) Even small amounts of exercise can boost our energy and concentration, improve our mood and keep our immune system on track… and don’t forget to eat healthily and drink plenty of water throughout the day as well (easier said than done at Christmastime, but think how angelic you’ll feel when you’re sneaking back that extra mince pie or cheeky glass of wine!)
Keep these four suggestions in mind and you should hopefully discover that work and life isn’t such a tricky balancing act after all – at Christmas or any other time of year. Enjoy the Christmas spirit and see you again soon for our last blog of 2018!