Expert Opinion: Our society is moving at a faster pace than ever. With clients, co-workers, employees, family, and friends all demanding our attention — not to mention the incessant barrage of advertising, negative news, and social media — life can often feel overwhelming. Not only is stress damaging emotionally, it also wreaks havoc on our bodies. And an anxious nail tech makes for a tense salon atmosphere, which is the antithesis of what your clients are there to experience.

According to Shel Pink, founder of SpaRitual and, there are a few basic, yet overlooked reasons that nail techs become stressed. “Stress builds up throughout the day and may occur for a variety of reasons — even events that make us happy can cause stress,” explains Pink. “One big stressor is conducting a manicure or pedicure service that isn’t ergonomically correct. In order to alleviate this type of stress, nail techs need to be trained properly on how to hold their body while giving a treatment service. Also, seeing clients non-stop throughout the day can be stressful. Offering staff members some kind of mindfulness training that they can utilize throughout the day is a great way to help them alleviate stress.”

Another important issue that contributes to stress in the salon is lack of support. “The value of cultivating an environment of authentic collaboration and teamwork is often overlooked,” says Pink. “If the salon staff feels supported and cohesive as a team, the stresses that inevitably happen on the job will be easier to manage. Knowing they have supportive co-workers and upper management they can trust to help staff manage difficult situations that arise is vitally important.”

The American Psychological Association offers some tips on learning to control stress by taking small steps that will help you better manage it in the future. Here are a few suggestions:

> Recognize how you now deal with stress: Are you coping by using unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, drinking alcohol, or over- or under-eating? Are you making unhealthy choices because you feel overwhelmed?
> Replace unhealthy coping behaviors with exercise, meditation, or talking with a friend. Be sure to take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, hydration, and good nutrition. Take regular breaks from work. You may have clients booked back-to-back, but taking even five minutes to stretch and walk around (preferably outside), will go a long way to reduce tension.
> Reach out for help. Delegate some responsibilities and accept emotional support from friends and family. If you continue to feel overwhelmed, you may want to make an appointment with a therapist who can offer professional guidance in your managing stress.

Tech Tips:
For me, I feel the most stress when I feel pressure — pressure from myself to do my best nail art, pressure if I’m running behind on a client, pressure when I feel micromanaged by anyone. I’ve learned to turn that around by first accepting the situation; it can’t be changed. The only part that can be changed is my reaction to it. So I breathe, collect my thoughts, and push through. Getting outside for a change of environment even just for 10 minutes can significantly change my stress levels. My next way of dealing with stress is to talk about it with someone — chances are another person can make you see a positive hidden among all the negatives. I also use an all-natural stress reliever called Bach Rescue Remedy. It calms your anxiety and stress to a manageable level and allows you to relax. If all else fails, a hot bath after work with some bath balms and candles, a glass of red wine, and a good book can do the trick, too.
Cynthia Mckenzie-Cook, Modish Nails by Cynthia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Usually my first reaction to a stressful situation would be to get mad and frustrated or just want to run away. Now the first thing I do is take a deep breath and pray. My boss has the best saying that I really try to live by: “If it’s not going to be a problem a year from now, don’t let it be a problem today.” Sometimes just smiling and walking away is the best option!
Anne VanSpronsen, McIntyre’s Salon and Day Spa, , Portage, Mich.

Get Glowing: You Are a Star Right Where You Are by Ann Mincey, vice president of global communications for Redken 5th Avenue, focuses on living a balanced, stress-free lifestyle and offers inspiration and tools for improving overall health, wellness, and relationships in both business and personal life.
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