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So, Your Passion Is Hurting Your Mental Health

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Picture this: Your alarm goes off at 8:00 a.m. You get up, get dressed and get ready for the day. You head to work, and you’re there by 10:00 a.m. You’re well-rested and ready for a full day at the salon.

Fast forward to 12 hours later. You’re slumped over the shampoo bowl, back riddled with pain on your third bowl of toner because your client STILL doesn’t like her hair. You let out a deep sigh and think to yourself, “I hate this *insert expletive* job.”

I’ve always been fervent about my career as a hairstylist. So, in the beginning, these thoughts would bring me great pause. I’ve wanted to do this for as long as I can remember, so what changed?

The answer: Me.

The two times I made an exception to someone who didn’t respect my policies and/or boundaries quickly turned into twenty. I was broke, and the rent was due. So, I exchanged being fueled by my passion for being fueled by survival.

My mental and physical health declined greatly, causing me to nosedive into a deep depression. Now fueled by anxiety, anytime I was faced with uncertainty, it was followed by a full-blown panic attack. I turned my salon environment into the very thing I promised myself it would never be: a free for all.

So, how did I switch it up and overcome my challenges? I implemented new policies and actually stuck with them. Those who didn’t want to comply were no longer clients of mine, and that’s okay.

I cut my hours of operation from five days a week to three, giving myself actual mental health days to recover from the previous work week. This action in itself increased my creativity and gave my mind the time and space it needed to recharge and generate better content.

Finally, I started the process of seeking out a therapist, and it was one of the best things I could have made for myself and my business. What works for me may not work for everyone, but the key is finding ways to tap into our strongest human instinct: self-preservation.

Gabrielle Henderson
Gabrielle Henderson
Gabrielle Henderson is a published texture and color specialist and educator.