According to the American Psychological Association (APA)’s annual stress survey in 2018, average stress levels in the United States were 4.9 on a scale from 1 to 10. The survey found that the most common stressors were employment and money. Ummmm, yeah....
A lot of advice out there suggested taking a break from your smart phone and social media, which I am sure would do wonders for energizing your soul, but frankly it's not always feasible for business owners and stylists. Clients are contacting you directly and promotions rely on your presence online, so while an afternoon with the phone in a drawer or leaving it in your car during a hike is perfect, long 'break-ups' with Facebook aren't a sustainable solution. Here are three ideas that are both easy to incorporate and effective at keeping yourself calm, centered and happy during a stressful time.
Focus & Breathe
There have been a lot of studies on meditation and its impact on health. One study reported that attention span improved after only four days of meditation, demonstrating that slowing down for just 10 minutes each day and consciously trying to relieve yourself of constant stimulation allows you to carry that focus into the rest of your day. Another study reported that after six months, 60% reported a reduction in anxiety levels and 80% had a reduction in coronary related diseases. The best thing about meditation is that its simple - turn off all technology, close your eyes and breathe. There are tons of apps to help you get started, many free, and bonus points are earned for doing it outside in nature. In fact, many Japanese cities are incorporating more green parks for this purpose as the art of 'forest bathing' adds significant added benefits to your quiet time. Start slow with just 10 minutes in the morning before you go into the salon or during a break and remember that this is your time.
Reminders & Affirmations
There is also a lot of research out there showing how affirmations can improve your outlook, sense of security and self confidence. Affirmations by definition are to strengthen or steady and are phrases you say out loud to yourself to focus on strength and the concept of power and positivity. They are proven to 'rewire your brain' to ignore negative ideas and help you focus on manifesting what you are trying to achieve. It can be as simple as reminding yourself that you are loved and safe, or focused on achieving a particular goal. For example, "I forgive those that have wronged me and release them." The Huffington Post lists a few of the most powerful affirmations that have helped to strengthen and steady the mind. During a busy day in the salon, or a particularly difficult client, it can be useful to have one of these ready to say under your breath or while your Ping is mixing.
Surround Yourself With Positivity
This last suggestion can be harder for some, but choosing to surround yourself with supportive, positive and enriching people is vital to staying on the right path. Do not let others drain you and rob you of your energy. It can be as simple as choosing to follow some hairdressers that reflect back to you strength and reinforce your intentions. Two fabulous examples from the SBCo Community are The Anxious Creative, Dawn Bradley (@dawnbradleyhair) and Sarah Mac from Ergo (@sarahmacoriginal). Sustain Beauty Co has recently partnered with Ergo, an education-first company that provides ergonomically designed finishing brushes for professionals and professional-only retail. Sarah was actually the inspiration for this blog as I recently started following her and realized how powerful her posts were for this purpose and how simply reading them and following along with her journey helped reset my own mindset for the day. Plus, she always has epic nature pics that I always love to see!
It's a constant battle to stay positive, recharge your energy and be ready to brace the day. Especially when you give so much of your energy, feeling and thoughts to each of your clients every day. Save some time for yourself and stay strong my friends!