How Nature Can Help Improve A Barber’s Mental Wellbeing

How Nature Can Help Improve A Barber’s Mental Wellbeing

Tom Chapman is Founder of the Lions Barber Collective, an award-winning barber – and an author, having released How to Listen so Men Will Talk back in 2022. The book encourages men to start talking to each other about mental health, a topic very close to Tom’s heart. Talking is among the best techniques for tackling poor mental health, joined by meditation, journaling, exercise and exposure to nature to name a few. On the latter, we got some tips from him on how nature can boost a barber’s mental wellbeing.

Understand the Calming Powers of Water

“Water is something I find very healing. I’m very lucky because I live close to the sea so I purposefully walk to work the long way so I can see the water. I love this quote from Wallace Nichols, who is a marine biologist and wrote Blue Mind: “Water is considered the elixir and source of life. It covers more than 70% of the Earth’s surface and makes up nearly 70% of our bodies and constitutes over 70% of our heart and brains. This deep biological connection has been found to trigger an immediate response in our brains when we’re near water. The mere sight and sound of water can induce a flood of Neurochemicals that promote wellness, increase blood flow to the brain and heart and induce relaxation”. Our Lions Barber Collective office is now overlooking the harbour and the difference it makes to our mood is incredible. Just seeing the water is so calming. It doesn’t have to be the sea, of course, a lake, a pond, whatever you live close to, all counts.”

Connect with Others

“As an industry, connecting with others is what we do every day. But that’s work. It’s great to get out and experience nature with others. Going for a walk with someone else is amazing. There’s so much to do in nature with others – playing sports, going for walks, camping, picnics… Also, a walk is amazing for open conversation. There’s a great group in Bristol called Dudes and Dogs and they all go for a walk and talk to one another. I think the pressure is off.”

Get Active in Nature

“I walk to work every day. I’m taking a longer walk to work now and it goes past the harbour and along the sea and I love seeing what birds are around that day. I take time to stop and look at the water. It’s amazing how much difference it makes to the start and end of my day.”

Learning New Skills

“Again, we do this in the hair industry really well as we’re always learning. But let’s apply that to nature too. Why not learn about what bird sounds you’re hearing? My wife and I have got into foraging recently. We’ve been learning about nettle tea and its health benefits. It’s truly amazing what we can learn from nature and how it can help us. But we need to be looking after it too.”

Look at the Sky

“We’re very bad at taking time for ourselves as hair professionals. We work through our lunch breaks,  we don’t take toilet breaks, we fit in another client while another’s colour is developing… But try and take time to simply look at the sky. Looking up at the sky can put into perspective all the problems we consider big. People think getting out in nature means a hike in the Pennines, but it doesn’t. Just walking out your front door or out of the salon and get fresh air really helps. You’ll see storms, rain, sunshine, clouds – just like our moods the weather is ever-changing. (And above that it’s all blue!) Looking at the vast sky reminds you how small you are underneath it. Another way to be present is to listen to nature, whether that’s bird song or the wind. Try to avoid always listening to podcasts or music when you’re walking. Honestly listening to nature helps you be in the moment.”

Nature is a powerful tool and can have a real effect on our mental wellbeing. Try one of these tips next week and notice how you feel afterwards.

Looking for more information on improving a barber’s mental wellbeing? Check out a full list of our articles for Mental Health Awareness Week here.

This article was featured on Hairdressers Journal, following a live interview with Tom Chapman which broadcast on 13 May 2021. See the original interview here.