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Self-care means career longevity

There has been many posts I have read recently about self-care. This term, refers too not just looking after your body, i.e. exercise, sleeping enough an

d eating well, but also your mental well-being and stimulating your creative outlets.

Most people who work full-time spend the majority of their time at work, or preparing to go to work. It takes up the largest amount of time we spend, a week. So when you look at it like that, you can see how vital it is to find some satisfaction in your job role. I wanted this to apply to everyone, not just those in the hairdressing industry so I will try and make these ideas applicable in a general way too!

Not everyone can have the pleasure of working in their chosen industry, perhaps due to it being a very niche role, lack of training or the financial burden it would take to retrain and start at a decreased salary. So sometimes in order to pay the bills, people must settle for a steady, fairly paid job, that perhaps does not challenge them enough. Some people may have become disillusioned with their job. What can you do?

When you have been in a role a number of years, it can be easy to cruise along, without your former enthusiasm. This means your probably not putting as much effort into it. To keep or even respark your enthusiasm, education is key. Learning new things either from talking to other people in the industry or attending courses will help you to look at your role with fresh eyes. Courses can be expensive, especially if your self employed. But they are so valuable. For example you could enrol in a course with the attitude, "I won't learn anything new" and feel disengaged. But I can guarantee if you are curious and ask questions, you will always learn something, whether it's a different technique to accomplish the same result, or just the experience of networking. It may remind you of what you loved about the industry to begin with.

Challenge yourself. When you stop learning and things become too easy, you will quickly become complacent and bored. You could consider branching out into other sectors of your industry, i.e with hairdressing you could learn how to make wigs, fit hair extensions, specialise in textured hair, become a educator, join a cruise ship, join a salon, become a mobile hairdresser, open a salon or learn how to become a barber.

Another way to keep your career interesting, is to try new things that will make your job easier and therefore more enjoyable, or save you time. For example, I have just purchased a Parlux Advance Light hairdryer. This is fantastic for me as it weights a lot less, so it means my shoulders won't ache as much at the end of the day. It also means I look forward to blow-drying my clients hair! I have also bought Joewell offset scissors that help prevent carpel tunnel and lessen the impact of repetitive strain injury, by helping your hand to be in a more natural position. I have also bought the Babyliss curl secret, which sucks the hair up into a barrel, and ejects it curled.

You can scrimp and save running a business, but if you invest the money back in, you will keep your passion and enthusiasm and draw people. Clients love new gadgets and seeing how things work. And what you put in you get out. By using the high quality equipment, that makes my job easier, I am insuring my health and longevity in my career. This is vital when you are self-employed, as if you do not look yourself, when your ill, there is no-one to cover for you, which not only means lost revenue but letting people down.

I also have a deep tissue sports massage on a monthly basis, to help with the knots in my shoulders from work. As I have to adapt a lot, working in peoples homes, it is easy to compromise on my posture, and bend my back a lot. Every job role comes with its drawbacks, and we must all work to minimise the damage on ourselves.

Finally, for your mental well-being, have boundaries. Decide what hours you will work and stick to it. With a career you care about, it can be quite emotionally tiring too, when you are always trying to give 110%. So allow yourself time and space from work. I love my job, but I know to perform at my best , I need two days off, or a I feel I am always at work. Workout your needs and respect them. Consider if you would expect as much from an employee, as you do from yourself. By giving yourself a break and keeping the work/ life balance you will ensure work is not sapping your joy and you will return to work from the weekend rejuvenated. If you do not respect yourself, something has to give, whether that's your personal life, or just your standards at work, and you will eventually burn out anyway. Although you have a duty to your work, nobody is indispensable.

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