What Would You Do: How to Cope With Hairdresser Burnout
Tips From Hairdressers on Coping with Anxiety and Burnout
It’s real talk time: While being a hairdresser can be one of the most rewarding, incredible experiences…it’s also pretty hard. Physically and mentally, this job can take a toll—and for one of our peers, it’s getting to be too much. Burnout in hairdressers is a real issue, and we’re sure you’ve been there. So what should one hairdresser do to feel better? And how should this hairdresser break the cycle of falling deeper into this hole? Keep reading for advice!
“My mental health is ruining my career. I’m burning bridges, dodging clients and have now changed salons three times in 6 years. I know it’s me. I don’t believe in myself and my anxiety is bananas and it’s just getting worse instead of better. Has anyone had any experience with this?”
NOTE: We are not your doctor! While we are sharing advice from other hairdressers who may have found success with medical intervention, this is simply a platform for sharing stories and NOT expert medical advice. Always speak to a licensed medical professional for health-related questions.
First of all…you’re not alone.
“Omg this speaks to me so much!! I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety since I was young and there have been many times I get overwhelmed and honestly can’t handle the constant influx of clients, having to be constantly ‘on’ and talking, and I’m horrible at posting/marketing because I don’t have the mental energy for that upkeep. I hardly ever changed salons but I do take frequent self care/mental health hiatuses.” – @gemini5353
“You are not alone!…It’s a hard time to be in any line of customer service! Remember, we touch them and change their appearance! Try not to take it personal? We are all trying to find a way to cope with this problem. BREATHE and know your worth!💙” – @hairdesignsbysandra_
“I can tell you first hand that I’ve suffered from this! The problem is people who do not believe in themselves often compare themselves to others and then soon realize we can’t live up to that standard. The thing is we have to start to believe that as a stylist we have own unique talent to bring to the table. Instead of looking at the fact that you’ve changed salons three times, tell yourself that you are unique and searching for your own unique experience. Live up to your own standards and start believing in your own power ❤️🙌” – @anita_petraroia
“I have been experiencing this a lot lately! Having to leave work due to panic attacks and cancelling appointments my clients had for 6 weeks and then feeling guilty about canceling on them even if I fit them in elsewhere…I feel like I’m causing a hassle for people. What REALLY helped me was just being honest about what I was going through with my coworkers and clients. It was a huge weight off my shoulders and all of them have showed me nothing but kindness and support. So many shared their own experiences with anxiety and it made me feel so much better. Now when I go to work, I know I have a safe environment.” – @amyinwonderlandxo
“This business is physically, emotionally, and mentally draining. I feel with social media and Pinterest, clients now often have unrealistic expectations. We also live in an Amazon society where everyone craves instant gratification. It’s tiring and makes our job even harder. Some people just don’t understand what it takes to get their hair how they want, no matter how you explain it. Hairstylist burnout is definitely a thing. I had my first anxiety attack while working on a client about a month ago and I had to fake it until she left. That’s very hard to do. It’s just hard to live up to clients expectations lately. I would suggest taking a step back. Speaking with a professional about coping mechanisms and if a prescription medicine is necessary take it. We all need help sometimes and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s good to recognize something isn’t right that’s the first step. Also it could be this is no longer the right career for you anymore. Step back, reflect, speak to a professional, and see how you feel then.” – Heidi Carroll
Here are suggestions on how to feel better.
“I felt that way about doing color for A LONG time, so what I did was figured out what made me comfortable and gave me the least amount of anxiety and stuck to that for a while. Then slowly added back the areas that freaked me out the most (color correction) little bits at a time starting with a client.” – @lizzyboo313
“There are enough heads to go around! Screen your clients, just as they screen us. Keep the ones you truly connect with, the ones who value and respect you as an artist, and send the rest on to find someone else they connect with! You will be happier and healthier for it. You will do your best work because your confidence will soar!” – Lindsay Preston
“I say positive affirmations prior to work. It helps.” – @devious_doll88
“Sometimes you just need to stop, decompress, and prioritize. Write down what it is you like about yourself and the pros and cons of your current job. As hairdressers, because of the nature of our business (service!) we tend to over extend ourselves. I have been guilty of this. And because I have been overwhelmed, I took it out on the ones who love me, my family! Take a deep breath and just slow it down. Once you have a grip on what it is that you want to get out of your job you will shine and your clients will see that in you. Explore what your goals are. Sometimes we need to recharge and get our mojo back. Best of luck to you.” – Mary Walsh Yabroudy
“Our main job is to make others happy! If you aren’t happy, then you can’t make others. Get the proper help needed, take some time and grow your clientele back as slowly as you need to make sure you are staying healthy! When we are busy, we are stressed, don’t eat and are pulled all over the salon. That’s super hard to do without having a mental disorder. Find a salon with continuing education and a super positive vibe. One that cares for its employees!!! See a therapist monthly so you can let it all out as needed! Good luck! This industry is harder than people can even imagine!” – @candismc29
“Therapy is so helpful! Yoga or something that will help you mentally and physically. Try finding a salon owner you can be honest and open with so they can support you throughout your journey. Hope you find the strength to find the love in hair to help heal you 💜” – @rachelstylez
“You are not alone. Keep in mind this industry is fantastic, fun and creative. But it’s takes a lot from you as well. Make time for yourself and keep up classes/practice from videos to build your confidence. Also seek out professional help! If you’re on a blocked system maybe add 10 extra minutes to not feel so rushed.” – @amanda.e.sosa
“This job is hard. If you already suffer with depression or anxiety (especially social anxiety), it can completely consume your mental health. I always compare it to getting 10 happy hours a day…because you connect with people on a deep level all day, some for hours at a time. To the point that after work, I usually have to isolate myself to decompress. I’ve personally been able to find my happy in this career and a balance by choosing who is in my chair. Not sure if you rent but if you do, protect your space!! See people who lift you up, bring you peace and comfort and bring joy to your work day. Work is a huge instrument to our life and should bring as much joy as we can control. Don’t be so hard on yourself though, some days are just hard and we’re in a career where we always have to be ‘on.’ Which is tough! Just go day by day and tell yourself every morning ‘I’m determined to have a good day today.’ And watch it be crazy! It helps. Good Luck 💕🙏🏽” – @thehearstylist
“I’m brand new to this industry and I feel it. There’s like, zero down time. My ‘down time’ is spent being a mom or whatever other role I fill. Best thing I can figure to do: spontaneous ‘me time.’ I go to therapy every week, and this week she said ‘Go on a date with yourself once a week. Let everyone know where you are but, shut your phone off. Spend time with Heather.’ She also told me to find activities that let out aggression like boxing, Top Golf or axe throwing. Sounds crazy but, it’s legit! The gym doesn’t hurt either 😉 just gotta be creative in how you fit it in!” – @hcre8s
“It’s time to take a breather and start over! This happened to me one time. Everything was just coming at me at once and everything was too much! I took the opportunity of moving salons to start fresh. I kept a few of my old clients, but otherwise completely rebranded myself. I really started focusing on my clients and my work. It took time, but now I just feel great and my work is great. I even raised my prices because of all the extra classes I took in color mastery, and I feel accomplished and respected. Just know that it happens, and if you’re truly passionate about what you do, then don’t give up. You are only human, and sometimes you just need some self-healing before you can continue in your career. ❤️” – @jessicalynnesparza
“Find a mentor, educate yourself, seriously try meditation. You’re going through something, this too shall pass…it’s not a permanent state of being. Best to you.” – @dee2.066
“Take care of yourself of course but also your community. Find a group in your area that organizes haircuts for the homeless or at your local VA. If that doesn’t exist where you’re at, set it up! Use your skills to help others and it’ll help you remember why you started cutting hair. It’s humbling and helps remind you everyone is HUMAN.” – @jumonji_
“I love doing hair, but I got burnt out so quickly at my last salon! I was doing hair, color, foils, balayage, skincare, body treatments, makeup, makeovers, weddings, proms…it was so much!! My ex-father-in-law offered me a corporate job, they paid for my schooling in neuroscience studies, and I’ve been corporate for 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry! I still keep my license and do hair!! I miss the salon some days ❤️ You might need a change or a break! What are you passionate about? My niche was chemistry 🧪 we do so much of it in the salon! Much love to you, I hope you find your way!💜💜💜” – @stylistgrl2