At this very moment, I’m working remotely from a beachside jungle in Mexico. For five weeks. Instead of sitting in my office filled wall to wall with nail products, back issues of NAILS, and a constant stream of meetings and phone calls, I’m working on the deck of an apartment with the sound of waterfalls (from a pool) and birds (and maybe some monkeys) chirping away in the trees. I’ve simplified. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still connected — I have my laptop, my phone, and my tablet — but the change of pace has done me some good. I’m working mornings and some evenings.

It’s important to take time for yourself to recharge. That’s something I’ve realized over the years and it’s something my boss and employers, thankfully, are willing to allow. As salon owners and employees, you are at the mercy of your clients (and your fellow salon professionals) day in and day out. I’ve talked to enough of you to know that breaks are often rare and lunch is even rarer. You come in, work all day, then go home to care for your family. But are you taking enough time for yourself? How are you tending to the needs that matter most — yours?

Without a sane mind and sound body, how can you possibly expect to give your best to everyone around you who needs your time and attention? Sure, five weeks in Mexico might not be in the cards for you. I can work virtually because most of my work is done at a computer. But there are things you can do on an annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and even daily basis to give your mind a rest and to allow you to rewind. Avoiding  burnout is something we all need to consider. Let’s start with the basics and work our way up.

1. Daily. At the very least you should “schedule” yourself a break during the workday. Even if it’s just 30 minutes for lunch, block that time out of your schedule. Alternately (or in addition), take some time each morning or evening for just you. Maybe it’s a workout before or after work. A walk with a friend. Morning meditation. Whatever the case, make time for yourself every day. You can’t operate at your best ability when you’re constantly being pulled in different directions by everyone else in your life. Oh, and make sure you’re getting enough sleep. That will do wonders to help you refresh on a daily basis.

2. Weekly. Hopefully you already take at least one or two days off a week. Working seven days a week leaves you little time to recharge for the following week. Try to spend time doing something YOU want to do (not just driving the kids from activity to activity or cleaning the house and running errands...unless of course that’s how you unwind!). Read a book, watch a movie, take a long bath. Something where you can put your hectic life out of your mind for a few hours and just enjoy yourself.

3. Monthly. Give back. Doing something for others can be mentally and emotionally satisfying. Whether it’s volunteering at a local women’s shelter for a day of beauty or helping build a house for Habitat for Humanity, community service is extra satisfying and good for the soul. Also make sure you’re connecting with your loved ones. They often have to take a backseat when things at work get crazy, so making time to connect with someone you enjoy spending time with can leave you happy and feeling recharged for days.

4. Quarterly. Can you get away for a long weekend? Once every quarter is optimal (more would be sublime). But just getting away from your routine breaks things up and allows your mind and body to readjust. A weekend away (with or without the kids) allows you to escape your house and all the daily reminders of how much you have to do.

5. Annually. Take a vacation. Seriously, take a vacation. Even if it’s close by, within driving distance, or staying at a friend’s lake house, you need to get away. Relaxing with friends and family allows a break from your usual routines. Being in a new place or a favorite familiar vacation spot is a great way to put the day-to-day worries of life away for a short time and really reconnect with what’s important. Vacations are also a great time to bond with those closest to you who you might not be spending as much time with as you’d like. A week at minimum is what I’d suggest to truly feel the renewal.

How do you unwind? Do you feel like you take enough time out of your schedule for yourself and your family? E-mail me with suggestions on how other salon professionals can refresh and recharge from the rigors of daily salon life.

— Hannah

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