Expert Advice: You are strong, you are brave & you are a winner
If you’re struggling with morale during Lockdown 3.0, salon owner and educator, Marie-Louise Coster, puts a supportive arm around us.
I honestly can't believe that I am writing this article and that here we are, almost a year later, still in the same position. I feel like many of us have been doing the Hokey Cokey all year, working, not working, and for so many who haven't reopened their doors at all due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The not knowing, the constant negativity and the uncertainty of everything is, naturally, having a huge impact on our mental health and wellbeing. Added to that many of you, like me, will be home-schooling and juggling other factors of life with everyone being at home at once and you not being able to get a moment's peace.
There are so many questions whizzing around in our minds, to which we just don't have the answers. And whilst it is easy to say switch off from it, don't worry about things you can't control and all of those other pearls of wisdom people impart upon you, it really is easier said than done.
If you work alone, if you are employed, even if you have a team of staff that you employ, this can be a very lonely time. Others have worries, of course, but their worries are not for the security of their business, the security of their job or what the industry will be like once we do get out of this situation.
Don't spend your time worrying
It is very easy, and completely understandable, to get lost in your own head of thoughts and worry and feel like you can't resolve what is going on. In short, you can't and I am afraid that is the simple truth of it. None of us have lived through a pandemic before, none of us know what business will be like after, how much tax will go up, what impact the following recession will have, what the demand for our services will be and so on, so don't try to second guess and don't spend your time worrying about things that are completely and utterly beyond our control. In the words of Elsa... Let It Go.
Instead use your time on you to make you the best version of yourself that you can be so as when this is over, and it really will be one day, you are ready, waiting, able and equipped with the strength and determination of a warrior to make sure that your comeback is far greater than your setback.
Try and set yourself a timetable and be super organised. Work out when the children are schooling, when hubby is working etc. and see where there is time for you to do your thing. Set out some time in the day to work on your business. Maybe you want to learn something new, maybe you want to work more on your social media, maybe you want to set up an online shop, maybe you want to look at ways to develop the business. Whatever it is, use this time to do those things and have something to show for your time.
I am a bit of a nightmare for justifying my time, I hate wasted time. Wasted money I get over, but wasted time really gets to me. I put it down to having been a twin, and as the only surviving one I put pressure on myself to achieve for both of us and really make my time count for something.
Make time for yourself
Don't put pressure on yourself, but I think it is nice to look back and see what you achieved, especially at such a negative time. Set aside an hour a day or an afternoon a week to do business stuff, but equally set time aside to do relaxing things and things just for you. Perhaps join an online yoga class each morning, download a meditation app, take a bath, give yourself a facial, do your nails, go for a walk, read a book, knit. Whatever it is that you enjoy, make time for it.
Maybe even take up a new hobby? I have always wanted to do Irish Dancing but was never allowed. My five-year-old daughter started it at the end of the September and her lessons are now on Zoom, so now, every Monday at 4.30pm I join in the lesson (of campers I hasten to add!). I love it! I am rubbish at it but I don't care, the music (for me) transports me to Ireland, my happy place, and it really lifts my spirits. I always thought I was far too old to learn but I have decided that once lockdown lifts I am going to join the adult class and have one evening a week that is just for me.
Keep the lines of communication open
It is also important, at this time, to check in with your staff and clients regularly. We are all feeling the same, and I think lockdown this time is worse as we have no end date and the weather is dreadful. Send emails, phone, send a text, arrange FaceTime or Zoom calls. There are so many ways to keep in touch these days and it is so important to keep the lines of communication open.
Have regular team meetings with staff just for a social chat, maybe arrange a quiz night for staff and clients and everyone can have a gin or two at home whilst still keeping in touch with everyone, simple acts like this really help to lift people's spirit.
You've got this!
You have to do what works for you, there will be days when you have all the energy and enthusiasm of a small child and other days when you have absolutely no motivation and just want to sit and cry; that's ok, and don't beat yourself up for feeling like that. What I want you to remember is that you have successfully survived everything that has been thrown at you so far, and you will continue to do so because you are strong, you are brave and you are a winner. Don't ever forget that.
Marie-Louise Coster is a Session Tech, Beauty Therapist, Trainer and Business Consultant, with over 20 years' experience in the industry. All About Mi Beauty & Holistic Training School is ABT-accredited.