For Aly Davis weightlifting relieves the stresses of owning a salon.
Regular chiropractic adjustments help manage the aches and pains of a long career for Elyse Zydek.
Saretta Bowerman now limits herself to two weddings a month to make time for mind-clearing hobbies like fishing, trail biking and lounging by the pool.
Elyse Zydek visits a salt cave, where negatively charged ionized salt and trace minerals help to draw toxins out of the body, reduce inflammation and improve respiratory ailments.
For Todd Tinnel the balanced design of The Dyson Supersonic™ Professional Edition Hair Dryer reduces his wrist strain.
Sore feet. Aching wrists. The stress of too little “me time.” Salon owners and stylists adore their work and their clients, but many pay steep prices when it comes to physical and mental well-being. Are you ready to get healthier? Here’s how some beauty pros are making smarter choices.
After 30 years of caring for clients, Elyse Zydek @elyserox00, owner of Rockit Studio in Schaumburg, IL, has decided she can no longer ignore her pain. Carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful foot condition called Morton’s Neuroma and a bad back were simply not going away, especially since her business is growing like crazy thanks to Instagram. So this year she plans to undergo a new, minimally invasive procedure for the carpal tunnel and she’s investigating options for her feet. She pops into the break room throughout the day in the salon to use a foam roller on her back, she reduced her schedule to four days a week and she plans to take a vacation every six to eight weeks to give her body a chance to rest. “I never thought about any of these things when I started doing hair at the age of 14,” Zydek says. “But now it’s all catching up with me!”
FOCUS ON DIET
For Michele Pritchard, @michelepritchardhair, owner of Michele Pritchard Hair in West Chester, PA, the secret to health is straightforward—healthy eating and drinking. However, “I think one of the biggest wellness challenges for salon professionals is making time to eat and hydrate,” she says. “Unfortunately, no matter how you book your clients, time to fill yourself up gets moved to the end of the list.” So Pritchard has started keeping ready-to-eat, healthy snacks on hand at all times. “I also have water and coffee on hand, so we never have to be tempted to order out or stop on the way to the salon,” she says.
Zydek also focuses on her diet with pre-planning. “As you get older, it’s easy to gain wait, so I bring my own lunch and try to eat healthy,” she says. “I’m a low carb-er. I have a blender for protein shakes, a fridge and a microwave in the back room so I can avoid fast food because there aren’t many healthy options in the area. Like many stylists, I don’t eat dinner until 8 or 8:30 at night, but I try to stick to meat and vegetables.”
SMARTER TOOL AND EQUIPMENT CHOICES
Repetitive motion with tools like blow dryers can lead to a world of hurt for stylists over time. That’s why Todd Tinnel, @toddtinnel, National Education Manager for Dyson works with The Dyson Supersonic™ Professional Edition Hair Dryer. “The motor is in the handle,” he explains, “so you’re not fighting weight in the dryer head, which pulls and causes resistance even in the lightest machine. There’s much less pull on the wrist. And the lightweight dryer is less than two pounds.”
In Zydek’s studio, there’s a padded mat under her cutting chair, a cutting stool and freestanding shampoo bowls that minimize stretching and bending. She also dresses for “function over fashion. I wear stretch pants and comfortable tops and kimonos and Skecher shoes or booties every day,” she says. “I have to be comfortable when I’m working. It’s an active job! My husband bought me an Apple watch and I routinely log more than 12,000 steps a day!”
This is a big one. Regular exercise is important but so easy to back-burner when schedules get crazy. But Aly Davis, @alydavishair, co-owner of Cribb the Salon in Myrtle Beach, SC, has decided to re-embrace weightlifting, after a long hiatus of putting her career first. “It has always been a stress reliever,” she explains, “and choosing to make time for this again was a huge steppingstone for me. I’ve already noticed big improvements in my productivity and mental health. I want to be a better mentor, wife, educator, salon owner and stylist.”
It’s important to keep in mind that fitness doesn’t have to overwhelm your schedule. “I used to assume if I wasn’t sweating at the gym for an hour each day, I was doing it all wrong,” Pritchard says. “Now I make time for the gym and also take walks and hikes with my family. I’ll do yoga movements for 10 or 15 minutes a day to stretch out my body. Small efforts to stretch and rejuvenate can add up to big wins!”
Many pros schedule regular massages and chiropractic adjustments to balance their workouts and workdays. “I have started to see a chiropractor every two weeks just to keep my body in check,” says Saretta Bowerman @hairbysaretta, owner of Blue Water Salon in Naples, FL. “It has helped immensely with the soreness. It’s not something I enjoy doing, but I know I will benefit in the long run.”
Stretching is also a simple and practical way to stave off injury. “Like many stylists, I’ve suffered from the physical pain our demanding profession can inflict,” Tinnel says. “I’ve even had back surgery. Most important for me is stretching. I find that even if I miss a workout, I feel the benefits of 10-15 minutes of stretching. It keeps my muscles limber. It also prevents the likelihood of a small ‘catch’ in the shoulder or back turning into a chiropractor appointment.”
In today’s 24/7 online world, clients think nothing of reaching out any time of the day or night, leading to a never-offline feeling of stress that plagues stylists. Zydek has turned to online booking to keep clients off of her personal texts. And Bowerman turned off her Instagram DM notifications so she can check them when she chooses to instead of during dinner with her husband.
Recognize also that stress management starts with time management. That’s why Davis no longer squeezes in extra guests on her days off or at the end of the day. “I realized I was pleasing my clients but sacrificing myself,” she explains. “I was missing the gym, therapy and other self-care acts that were important for my wellness. I’ve encouraged my staff to do the same thing to avoid burnout.”
For Tinnel, it’s about having a common touchpoint. “My days are crazy and no two are the same,” he says. “Every afternoon, I reserve 10-15 minutes to disconnect for an iced coffee and to read a positive article or listen to an uplifting song. Just a little something to remind my brain that I am human and that I deserve to smile at that moment. It can be surprisingly grounding.”
Bottom line? Whether you’re a veteran or just starting out, don’t push self-care to the bottom of your priority list. “My biggest piece of advice to new stylists would be to start taking care of yourself from the beginning,” Zydek says. “Be preventative. Don’t wait for the pain to start.”
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.