It’s indisputable: Hairdressing is both physically and mentally demanding. From repetitive motion injuries to discomfort in the back, neck and shoulders, studies indicate that pain from sustained stress, when left untreated, can result in a shortened career. But keeping your body in it’s peak, physical condition can help to ward off these ailments, plus can help the body to heal and repair itself, faster. In fact, practices such as yoga and Pilates can work to strengthen overworked muscles, while a gentle and consistent meditation practice can help your mind to relax and unwind after the stresses sustained while standing behind the chair.
Here, get our members quick-tips for relaxing, unwinding, and strengthening – plus learn about Hb’s tips for career-sustainability.
Tip 1: Move with purpose. Practices that integrate breathe with movement (such as yoga, Pilates, and martial arts) have become increasingly popular for their ability to have a positive impact on mental and physical wellbeing. According to Yoga Journal, a regular practice can help to relieve chronic pain caused by inflammation and arthritis, plus can sharpen mental clarity. “I practice yoga four times weekly,” says Adam Federico, Creative Director for Federico Advanced, “and this has helped to reduce chronic pain from standing behind the chair, plus has helped to increase my dexterity. I also find that I’m more able to ‘drop in’ with my clients, team, students – and most importantly – with my family.”
“I’ve been in the industry for over 30 years,” says Traci Sakosits, North American Creative Director for Sassoon. “I practice Pilates, which helps to cleanse the mind and strengthen the body. I’ve been practicing it religiously for over two years now – and before that – I studied Wing Chun Kung Fu. Similar to Pilates, martial arts helped to give me focus in my life and in my career,” confirms Traci.
“In hairdressing and in educating,” she adds, “you need to be able to constantly give to others. Everyone needs to refill mentally, and maintain physical strength. It’s important for me to maintain a high level of mindfulness and energy for both the professional and personal sides to life.”
Tip 2: Breathe. “Last year,” says Ricardo Dinis, Aveda Global Artistic Director for Haircutting, “I started something called Ho’Oponopono; it’s Hawaiian meditation. It’s based around four powerful phrases, which are: I love you, I’m sorry, forgive me and thank you. After I started practicing this, I just started smiling again.”
“I started brining this meditation into haircutting classes, because I noticed that my students were holding their breath – how can you cut hair if you’re not breathing? How are you going to remember any of what I’m teaching if you’re nervous and so scared? All of your fears come up in a class. So I do these meditations with my classes; it’s seven second breathing. I try to get people to pursue it after the class, but I make them aware that during their time with me, they need to breathe. I explain what happens when the brain doesn’t have oxygen, and how we react.”
“I find that unplugging allows you to plug in. The world is waking up, and meditation feels so right in hair. We’re constantly on the road to mastery. I don’t know if you can get there without having this aspect in your life. Whatever is blocking the mind will block the body from learning. It’s about being in a great state of mind. It’s a daily practice – and I’m a happier person for it.”
“It’s all about bringing a greater awareness into your life: notice the little things. Through meditation, I notice and see things through a new perspective, and this has helped me to stay grounded – plus become more precise in my craft,” finishes Ricardo.
Tip 3: Eat nourishing foods. “As a hairdresser, eating nutritious food is very important to me,” says Katrina Beede, Salon Owner and Stylist at DVLPMNT, Eugene Oregon, “because in order to make it through long days at the salon – I have to be as healthy as I can be. Choosing clean foods over processed foods fuels me with the sustainable energy that I need to get through long days, plus keeps inflammation down, so I’m not experiencing pains in my body.”
For someone looking to embark on a wellness journey, Katrina’s tip is this: “I schedule out my week’s worth of food (just like I schedule my client’s). I set aside one to two hours per week to meal prep healthy, grab and go options; this way I’m always prepared, and ready to tackle long days in the salon,” she finishes.
So whether you’re busy and overwhelmed, or short on energy and time, you can use Hb’s simple tips and tricks for de-stressing your body and mind. Engaging in small, yet mindful practices can have an enormous impact on your sense of wellbeing – and great effects to your overall health.