Handling COVID Fatigue and Burnout: Strategies for Salon Warriors
Posted on August 27, 2021
Sola Salon Studios
Although guidelines have loosened, COVID does not seem to be going away, and we know the burnout is real. COVID fatigue is a condition that has developed due to our heightened state of stress, which over time leads to emotional exhaustion. For beauty professionals, the salon closures, shifting mandates and tricky client concerns have made navigating this time even more draining than in other industries.
As a Sola beauty professional, you have experienced the ups and downs of the pandemic as a small business owner, riding the waves of constantly changing guidelines, policies and recommendations, from the CDC all the way down to your local neighborhood. With change at every turn, we have seen Sola pros rise to the occasion, handling crises head-on, adopting new practices, and keeping your clients comfortable all the while. This can get exhausting!
COVID fatigue and overall burnout can lead to major strain on your emotional, mental and even physical health. Your health comes first and foremost, so we want to offer some tips for recovering from and/or avoiding COVID fatigue and burnout.
1. Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is the art of living consciously in the present moment. Taking time to get present and focused on your state of being, no matter what you are doing, is practicing mindfulness - so it can be achieved in any moment - whether relaxing or working. The consistent practice of mindfulness brings peace and calm to the body and mind. A few ways that you can give yourself a mindfulness check-in include:
- Breathe: Pause to take 3 deep breaths, counting to 5 on the in-breath, and 7 on the out-breath, lengthening the out-breaths to calm the nervous system.
- Live with Intention: Set an intention for the day, starting in the morning. This might be a word or phrase, a mantra, or even a sentence. We recommend focusing on how you want to feel and letting the rest fall into place based on that feeling. Setting intentions can add meaning, inspiration and purpose to days that might otherwise feel sluggish or insignificant. Living intentionally unlocks your personal power, as you align your thoughts and actions to live up to your intentions.
- Keep a gratitude journal: At the end of a long day, write down 3 things that you are grateful for, or three highlights of your day, in a journal. These reflections can be anything - from appreciation for a loved one to gratitude for a movie you saw or a funny moment shared with a client. Keep the journal by your bed. When you wake up in the morning, reflect on your highlights/gratitudes from the day before to start the day on a good note.
2. Set boundaries: In this day and age, it is perfectly normal to set boundaries to take better care of yourself. We are all worn out from stressors large and small, and if the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that it is ok to slow down. Recognize where your relationships can use firmer boundaries and speak your mind if you are needing more space, time or understanding from friends and family. Here are a few tips for holding boundaries to protect your energy:
- Block off me-time: As a Solapreneur, you are wearing many hats - beauty pro, small business owner, entrepreneur - and it can be difficult to block off time for yourself. With an online booking platform like Cojilio, you get time back for yourself by letting your clients book themselves online. In addition, you can use the calendar availability function to block off personal time. When you schedule personal time in advance, nobody can schedule over your much-needed time for yourself. Commit to self-care to keep the burnout at bay. You deserve it!
- Vacation: During COVID, some of us have forgotten to take vacations, as travel has been on the fritz and family/friend gatherings have changed shape. It is important to schedule some time off regardless, even if it is a staycation. Stylist Ashley White explains, “ I know for myself how important it is for my mental and physical health to escape from the everyday talk about COVID or burnout. I purposefully plan vacations or breaks every few months to re-energize myself and refocus on what’s important in my life. In doing this it allows me to better take care of my clients, and gives me something to look forward to.
- Choose wisely: In a time of extended stress, it is important to preserve and protect your energy. You get to choose who is allowed to have access to you, and it is important to choose people that support, motivate and encourage you. If there are energy vampires and crazymakers in your life, it is time to ditch the drama. Discernment can make a big difference in changing the quality of relationship welcome in your life. Preserve your energy for your clients and the ones you love the most. It is ok to tell people that you simply do not have the energy to make plans at this time. The right people will respect your boundaries.
Many of us can relate to Sola Pro, Bianca Margolis, who explained, “I'm learning to say no, personally and professionally. Sadly in our industry, I feel like saying yes and doing all the things and burning out is worn like a badge of honor. It almost feels if you say no, you're doing something wrong. I've found the power in no for my own mental health, relationships and career. We are human beings at the end of the day, we need time to rest and recharge and we shouldn't EVER feel guilty about that. This shows true in me finally saying no, no to coming in on my days off, no to that dinner I don't have the full energy to go to or no to that client who just doesn't suit me and my future anymore. It's really amazing the respect and power you receive when you start to say no and establish your boundaries and self-worth.” Couldn’t have said it better ourselves!
- Be consistent: At first, people close to you and even clients, may not take your boundaries seriously. They may step on them or try to force a different outcome. Be patient. This is an opportunity to demonstrate that you are serious about your boundaries. While there are some times to be flexible, holding consistent boundaries will earn respect, making future boundaries easier to uphold. Soon people will honor your boundaries without question, effectively creating healthier relationships that no longer drain your precious time and energy.
3. Practice Self Care: Tips on self-care are everywhere these days, and it is no wonder; these have been exhausting times with a lot to take in, process and adapt to. Self-care will allow you to recuperate and regain lost energy. Some self-care tips to recover your energy and resolve:
- Sleep: It’s funny - when we are beyond tired from going all the time, the last thing we tend to allow ourselves to do is sleep. Instead, we pack our days with never-ending to-do lists, and even beat ourselves up for being “lazy” or not accomplishing enough. Slow down! Take a 30-minute midday snooze. Get 7-9 hours of sleep every night for a week straight. Let yourself sleep in one of these days until you cannot stay in bed any longer. Playing catch-up on sleep will recharge your spirit, and equip you to handle stress from a more resourced and balanced state of being. Good quality sleep habits will build up your resilience, immunity and stability, so you can take on anything from a foundation of good health.
- Nutrition: Diet is an important part of handling stress and recovering energy. As they say, you are what you eat. Processed food, sugar and alcohol can really take a toll on our well-being. If you are struggling to eat healthy, try executing a week where you meal prep on Sunday for the week ahead, preparing meals full of fruits, veggies and protein into Tupperware containers that can come with you to the salon. This saves tons of time during the week that would otherwise be spent shopping, cooking, cleaning or ordering take-out. Consider yourself first - your nourishment and wellbeing - before all other obligations to set the stage for a great day. We recommend meals like overnight oats, soups, pre-made salads, wraps and rice bowls to make sure you are getting filling and balanced meals to power through your day.
- Supplements: We also recommend supplementing your diet with stress-relieving herbs such as ashwagandha, reishi and tulsi. These adaptogenic herbs are known for balancing stress in the body and mind. They work by helping your body to adapt to both internal and external stressors, creating a sense of peace and wellbeing.
- Mental Health: If you are struggling with COVID fatigue, burnout, stress, anxiety and/or depression, we encourage you to seek regular professional help from a counselor or therapist. Therapy can go a long way in helping us to establish healthy coping mechanisms and correcting behavioral patterns that are hindering our state of being. Your mental health is top of mind here in the Sola Fam. If things get grim, remember that you are not alone. We’ve got your back. We encourage you to reach out if you are seeking further resources to aid in your personal, professional or emotional development.
4. Lean on Sola Resources
Sola will continue to offer resources to support the mental health of our community. Connect with the online Sola Fam via the Sola Stories Podcast, the Sola Blog and Sola Pro for a treasure trove of resources bespoke to Sola Professionals:
- Sola Stories Podcast episodes around mental health:
- Sola Blog posts for navigating COVID-19:
- Sola Pro: Sola Pro offers educational videos and resources to navigate independent salon ownership. To watch webinars on-demand related to mental health, finances and COVID, please download Sola Pro for Apple or Android.
Throughout the pandemic, the resilience and adaptability of the Sola community has been unrivaled. Still, we understand how challenging the roller coaster has been, and that guidelines may be shifting yet again depending on your geographic region.
We want you to know that we recognize how challenging this is and are available if you have any questions or concerns regarding business policies, health and safety. Your mental, emotional and physical health is of the utmost importance to the Sola community 💙