We’re shrugging off 2021 and committing to adopting good habits and more positive thinking. Here are five simple steps to achieving a more positive mental attitude amid the madness.
Re-adjust and re-frame
A positive mental attitude doesn’t just happen. Perception is everything. It’s easy to focus on the negatives when you’re facing a day of cancellations, or have clients asking for the impossible. Train yourself to take a step back and realise that these are small moments which will pass. No matter how annoyed you get, it will pass. Re-frame your thoughts to pick out the positives to avoid dwelling on the negatives. Stuck in traffic? More time to listen to your favourite podcast. Facing a nightmarish colour fix? A way to put your training to the test and prove your skills to your boss, your client, and yourself.
Karoliina Saunders and her team have integrated this into both their interactions with clients and each other. “We try to keep our conversation in positive subjects and not all about lockdowns and Covid-19,” she says. “There are so many other things to talk about. We concentrate on planning future appointments, looking forward to future and months ahead, bringing that feel-good factor.”
Of course, it’s not always that easy. Which is why the Good Salon Guide has started to offer Mental Health First Aid England accredited courses. “MHFA England believe hairdressers are at the heart of communities and wanted us to deliver the training personally,” explains Clair Prew of the Good Salon Guide, who is now a trained MHFA England instructor and will be running courses online in the new year.
“The course is much like a physical first aid course – it equips those who have done it to deliver mental health first aid to those in need and keep them safe until professionals get involved,” she adds. “More than that, it teaches them to identify the onset of problems and help before they escalate.” The courses will start on February 8 and are open to anyone in the industry, not just members of the GSG.
Turn negative thoughts into positive promises
In those moments where your head is in your hands and you’re thinking ‘that was such a mistake’, commit to a positive promise and learn from it. Learn to recognise negative thoughts you’re having and follow them up with positive promises instead. “I’m so bad at this” becomes “but I’m going to practice and get better.”
At HEIR Salon & Education, Natasha Langthorne has invested in creating a dedicated wellbeing program: “Part of this is ongoing and confidential support with Hayley The Resilient Hairdresser. Hayley is a psychotherapist and a hairdresser so she has unique insights into the pressures and stress faced by apprentices, hair professionals, salon owners, self-employed and employed. Her coaching improves wellbeing and resilience and enables our employees to face uncertainties, difficult situations and challenges in salon life,” Natasha says.
Surround yourself with good energy and adequate support
Richard Darby at Mark Leeson reflects on the way his team have pulled together and supported one another through an extraordinarily tough year. “We have always been a very close knit team and 2020 has brought us even closer,” he muses. “It’s all about respecting, being thoughtful and pressing that extraordinarily kind button every day and sending it in the right direction.”
Provide support for your staff with the help of the Creative HEAD Collective. The Collective has been created in partnership with leading Employee Assistance Programme provider Care first, and is a new membership programme that provides everyone in your salon with support and practical advice on issues that might be impacting on wellbeing and performance. The service covers everything from financial and legal matters to childcare, eldercare, emotional and practical everyday support – and much more.
Focus on the present
There’s nothing like a global pandemic to make you feel unsteady. The best thing you can do is focus on what you CAN do, here and now, rather than get tied up in long-term worries. A lot of negativity stems from holding onto bad memories of past events, or anxiety of future ones. Focus on the here and now and do the best you can in your current circumstances.
Simon Hill at SESH Hairdressing is planning his annual Mindfulness Week for 2021. Every year, Simon dedicates a full week to his team and their mental wellbeing. He hosts private yoga and meditation sessions, works with local fitness instructors on fun activities and even collaborates with meal prep companies to ensure the team understand the importance of a balanced diet. It helps to bring the team calm, clarity and be in the moment.
“The team are so appreciative of this and it not only encourages us to look inwards at our personal mental wellbeing but also find compassion and empathy for team members who may be struggling a little,” Simon explains.
It’s the little things in life
Freelance stylist Cimone Cheveux agrees, and is implementing a plan to put a smile clients’ faces by offering them a complimentary head massage or treatment when booking onto any service in the new year. “By adding small gestures like this I hope that it will go a long way in helping with someone’s self care and mental health,” she says. “Many clients also may need a gentle ear to listen to, or they may just need some form of down time after the Christmas break.” Keep the moral up in 2021 by offering your staff a longer weekend off every other month or a slightly later start time at work. These small acts of kindness can be really encouraging and a great booster for mental health. If you’d appreciate them, others probably will too!