Stylist Self-Care Mindfulness Techniques for Holidays Behind the Chair
By: Kenra Professional
Life behind the chair is always fast-paced and can sometimes be stressful, but never more so than during the holiday season. You’re taking care of a lot of people, but who is taking care of you? It is important to remember yourself and your mental and emotional wellbeing throughout all of the hustle and bustle of this time of year (and always). Below are some insightful self-care tips from mindfulness teacher and life coach, Stacy Kesten, on how to recenter and ground ourselves in the salon and beyond.
1. Create a Mindful Morning Ritual Solely for Yourself
It may sound selfish to say something like “Taking care of me is my number one priority”, but there is a reason the flight attendant tells you to put your oxygen mask on first. It’s because if you’re not surviving the crash, then neither is the person next to you who needs your help. This is why I always encourage my clients to start their day by doing some small thing just for themselves. It’s easy to hit snooze 3 times and then rush out the door without pausing to create a bit of “me time” first thing in the morning. Please don’t do this. Even if you allow yourself just 15 minutes before you start the day, start there. When you honor yourself with a few moments of mindfulness first thing in the morning, you’re sending a message to your body and mind that you matter . Nothing gets our nervous systems more out of whack than feeling neglected or skipped over. Give this morning ritual a try:
3 Center Check-In
I invite you to close your eyes and sit comfortably
Feel your body pressing into your chair
Take a deep, full breath
What are my thoughts?
What am I aware of in my mind?
What thoughts, images, rememberings, planning, hopes, and concerns are present?
What are my emotions?
How would I describe my mood, attitude, and emotional tone?
Is there frustration, anxiety, delight, disappointment, contentment?
What are my sensations?
What am I aware of in my body?
Is there energy, fatigue, tension, aching, ease, calm?
What is the quality of my breathing?
Try to listen to the answers without judgement. See if you can show up for yourself during this check-in the same way you would show up for a dear friend or loved one. Kindness. Compassion. Non-judgmental attention. Really listen for the answers. This is mindfulness. There’s nothing to fix or change. Just notice.
2. Create and Maintain Boundaries
You’re sharing an intimate space with people who tell you about all of their joys and challenges…. It can be quite a privilege to be let into people’s lives that way, and also quite overwhelming at times. If you’re an empathic person, it can be easy to get caught up in other people’s energy and be kind of “spongy”, soaking up other peoples’ “stuff” throughout the day. One important rule that everyone should try is the 50/50 rule. This is the concept that you keep 50% of your awareness on your own body (feeling your feet the ground, the tool in your hand, or whatever helps you gain awareness of your own body) and 50% of your awareness on the person you are speaking with. As someone that can easily get devoured by “energy vampires,” this practice was a game changer. So the next time you feel yourself getting overwhelmed by someone else’s energy, try practicing putting at lease 50% of your awareness back into your own body.
3. Return To Your Body Throughout the Day
These two practices can be done quickly during short breaks throughout the day. Use them to help you reconnect with yourself in those moments when needed.
Stop – Stop what you’re doing.
Take a Breath – Fill your entire body with oxygen and then slowly exhale.
Observe – What am I experiencing in this moment? (What am I thinking? What am I feeling?)
Proceed – Move into the next moment of your day.
During the holidays, you may not get a break – even for lunch. So finding a way to connect with your body in 3 seconds could be the key to maintaining a sense of mindfulness on those super busy days. You can do this practice when you’re standing up working and talking with someone, and they will never even know you’re doing it.
Wherever you are, notice your feet on the floor. Feel the ground supporting you. Feel your shoes or socks touching your feet. Feel the sensations and aliveness of your feet. You could even try gently rocking back and forth, switching your weight from one foot to the other, noticing the sensations that accompany the back and forth. Imagine your energy moving all the way down your body and into your feet. Then imagine that energy growing roots out of the bottom of your feet and deep into the earth grounding you, holding you steady and give you strength.
Stacy hopes somewhere in these practices you find one that might nourish you through the holiday season. Wishing you peace and ease.
Stacy Kesten is a mindfulness teacher for UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center and the founder of http://www.wholeheartedmindset.com where she offers both life and executive coaching.