Clients can drain you and not even realize they’re doing it, says Vicki Peters of Vicki Peters Nail Products. But for the sake of our mental health, it’s important to be able to create some emotional distance between yourself and these clients. To help, Peters shares a technique she learned from her mentor Norm Freed, a psychologist, to erect boundaries. It’s called “The Bubble”:

When your client arrives at your station and before you touch her hands, take a moment for yourself and close your eyes and envision yourself in a bubble, then start your service. Let the client talk all she wants and what she says will bounce off the bubble and reflect back on her. You will hear her but you will not absorb what she says. When the service is over and she has left your manicuring table, pop the bubble. Do this by mentally pricking it. This will help you protect yourself emotionally. Instead of a bubble you could envision a ray of light beaming down on you or a glass wall coming up in between you and your client — anything you want that works for you. Unfortunately you cannot stay in the bubble all day; it will not be as effective.

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