Your alarm clock didn’t go off this morning, then the freeway ground to a halt, and you had to skip your daily morning coffee. You made it to work but only minutes before your first client. The day is off to a shaky start and getting worse by the minute. Today is not your day! You feel like crawling back in bed — not facing clients with a brave face.

Well, take a deep breath. No, really. Breathe in, and realize that you don’t need to plaster that brave face for the world. You can change the way you feel and send good energy all day long.

The truth is that your clients come to see you for more than nails and professional beauty services. They want an experience. They want an ear to bend. They want you — at your pleasant, well-prepared best. I know, your clients love you, they care about you, and you think they will be able to tell there is something wrong, no matter what you do. There are things we can do to insulate our clients from our negative energy as well as protect ourselves from theirs.

Think of energy like you would electricity. Some things like water or copper conduct electricity better than others. Our personal energy is much the same. It travels through touch, through tone of voice, and through our eyes and ears. Energy is mirrored in people. Ever notice when you commiserate with friends, you just find more reasons to be angry or hurt? So, what do we do to handle all these bad vibes? Practice your techniques ahead of time.


Pat Bailey, of Legal Hair & Day Spa, in Steubenville, Ohio, spent eight years working in a hospital-based salon. “The majority of my clients were in the psychiatric ward. You had to be conscious of your emotions. That’s when I started using aromatherapy sprays. Lavender, clary sage, chamomile, and musk can all help with stress and anxiety. I started to notice that it helped them as much as it helped me.” She advises nail technicians to spray their area with a light scent that can ease stress. It helped so much that she developed a line of aromatherapy products and makes them available to her clients.


“It’s really important to not go around telling everyone when you are having a bad day,” says Marty Cook, of The Nail Garden in Salt Lake City. “When you feel it happening, you have to make a conscious intention to change the course of the conversation. Having a positive affirmation that you can repeat to yourself may help you distract your thoughts. You might have to excuse yourself and head to the restroom to gather yourself.” Cook shares that creating a ritual that is soothing can help brighten your mood and make you feel better, not just mask the symptoms. Her intent is to take care of herself so she can take care of her clients.

Gina Marie Delong of Hairazona Salon & Spa in Linthicum, Md., equates the negative energy of a bad day to a germ bug — “soon everyone’s catching it.” When she’s having a bad day, she gives herself a little extra TLC. In addition to self-talk, she admits, “a call to my hubby or kids always puts a smile on my face and lifts my mood.”


Cook adds an ergonomic chair, good lighting, and something earthy or living to her arsenal. “I always like to have a lucky bamboo plant or some stones around.” She encourages techs to surround themselves with positive things. Each person will differ on the things they find comfort in. For one person it may be a crystal, for another it may be a living plant or a picture of a loved one. Tap into your own personality and experiment to find the perfect comfort for you. Water is also an effective therapy. Bailey will sometimes just slip off to the restroom “to wash the moment off.”


“Breathing can really help me to rebalance. I go into the restroom — a perfectly acceptable reason to excuse myself — and I take three really big belly breaths. I find the soft spots or ‘brain buttons’ around my collarbone and gently massage them,” says Cook.

This technique helps her to get a grip when her own negative emotions endanger the quality of service.

Bailey likes to take a deep breath and imagine turning everything off. She even shares this technique with clients and keeps a printed handout for them on how to relieve stress and relax. “Most people don’t know how to relax,” she says. “When my clients or I are stressed in any way, services take longer. And you know that running behind puts everyone in a bad mood.”

It’s interesting to note that breathing techniques have been used successfully and documented by scientists for many things that ail us. Pain relief, lowering blood pressure, handling post-traumatic stress, and anger management are just a few of the positive uses for intentional breathing.


Cook uses visualization to help isolate negative energy. “So often, I create an imaginary black hole off the side of my station and imagine all of the negative stuff getting sucked in there. This works to help stop transmitting the negative energy to clients and also helps to prevent me from absorbing all of their issues. We hear so much bad stuff and you can’t absorb all of that and feel good.” She also uses another technique she calls the shield. “I imagine a bubble around me that protects me. We are touching people’s hands and it is really hard to have physical boundaries. The visualization helps me to mentally protect my own energy field.”


Physical activity is a documented mood lifter. Stretch, move around, or take a walk around the shopping center. The act of moving around keeps the blood flowing. Delong employs all of these, as well as making sure she stays properly hydrated. Sitting for long periods of time is not only unhealthy, but it stresses out your body and can make you feel just plain grumpy. So lace up those shoes and take a lap around the parking lot during your next break.

What’s at Stake?

It’s bound to happen. Your car won’t start or the train will be late. Whatever the reason, you start the day in a sour mood or it sneakily creeps up on you as the day wears on. Try out a few of the techniques to feel better fast and stop a bad day in its tracks — before it has time to impact the quality of services. Our job is to create the entire atmosphere. That means everything to the client, and without the clients, our chairs will be empty. Don’t let a bad day damage your reputation.


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