The ultimate salon owner is someone who works hard to achieve success in business and finds the right balance of managing their operation and personal life. In the salon industry especially, it takes a lot of work and tireless dedication to get to that level. In the long fight to build a business, unfortunately, many salon owners find themselves facing exhaustion and even burnout along the way.
Burnout is best defined as a human reaction to stress and activity that continues without a break for an extended period. It builds up over time as people focus more of their energy and attention on their business to the detriment of their own physical and mental health.
Salon owners as a group tend to hold out longer than most in the fight against burnout. Their natural optimism and passion for their business, plus the need to always put on a pleasant front, often masks their ongoing discouragement and despair. Unfortunately most keep going, trudging along without treating the underlying issues that are affecting their ability to work effectively.
To help fight burnout, here are some of the symptoms to watch for:
Lack of Sleep: If you find that you are getting less than 6.5 hours of sleep per night, you are doing yourself a disservice. A study by scientists at UCLA found that sleep deprivation interferes with the ability of some brain cells to function and communicate with one another. Many medical professionals claim that a lack of sleep compromises a person’s ability to make complex decisions, make memories, and focus, and contributes to a higher than average mortality rate. If you want to perform better longer, prioritize good sleep. MIT Sloan Management Review recognizes regular sleep as the best antidote for a fatigued or stressed-out workforce.
Procrastination: If you keep putting off essential items on your to-do list and instead get obsessed with more trivial matters, you may be responding to stress and exhaustion.
The best way to overcome procrastination is to find a better way to manage your time. First, identify each project, outline what needs to happen to complete it, and then break it down into smaller tasks. Assign a realistic number of tasks per day, work hard to achieve them in the time allotted and then find a way to reward yourself upon completion: take a 10-minute breather, go for a quick walk, actually sit down to eat lunch, etc.
Getting Snappy: If you find yourself getting snappy with your team or family, you are likely reacting to stress. Taking things out on your work or social circle never ends well, and you’ll need to find ways to avoid being so quick-tempered. Stop, breathe, and remember that the irritation that you feel toward them is not their fault but is a reaction you are having to a bigger problem. In the meantime, consider cutting back on caffeinated drinks and take the time to burn off steam in other ways, like taking a brisk walk or working out. Make it a priority to have this outlet both for your long-term health and for the sake of others around you.
Avoiding Self Care: If you are not taking basic care of yourself, it will affect your health eventually. It’s vital to have annual physicals, regular dental cleanings, daily exercise, and always practice healthy eating habits. Think of it as an investment in yourself and that investment will pay off with more clarity and increased productivity at work.
Facing Reality: If you can’t sleep, feel exhausted, get sick a lot or even find yourself loathing your business or feeling incapable of running it, you are showing classic signs of burnout. Even just a few of these symptoms indicate a need for a change. The best advice is to stop, evaluate, and address the issues. It may be hard to find the time to do so, but the health of your business, and even more so your health and well-being, depend on it.
Consider booking a long weekend away to clear your head and then work to change some of your basic habits. Seek the help of business advisers and salon coaches to help set you on the right path. Find better ways to streamline, even automate your business and then concentrate on ways to incorporate daily self-care. Join a gym, take spin or yoga classes, get massages, book an occasional afternoon off, have drinks with friends, and even take your spouse out on date night more often. Everyone involved will thank you for it!
About the Author: Jim Bower is the founder of SalonInteractive, software solutions for eCommerce and digital supply chain management. He is a former salon and spa owner with over 30 years of experience in the industry.