Seven Ways to Strike a Better Work-Life Balance as a Barber

Published 18th May 2023 by Josie Jackson

A question as old as time: how do I achieve the perfect work-life balance? The working hours of a barber are often inconsistent and unsociable, but it’s important to make time for those activities that keep you from burning out. Are you a barber looking to strike a better work-life balance. As part of Modern Barber's Mental Health Awareness Week, we spoke to members of the hair industry to find out how to achieve this.

Seven Ways a Barber Can Strike a Better work-Life Balance

1. Create boundaries

Hairdresser and trained therapist, Hayley Jepson said it’s important to create boundaries between your work and home life. She explained that if you reply to a client’s Instagram message at 10pm, that client will message you at that time again. You need to value your personal time and acknowledge that even responding to a quick message is still ‘work’.

2. Learn to say no

Another piece of vital advice shared by Hayley Jepson is learning to say no to clients. She explained that hair professionals by their very nature are people pleasers, but you don’t need to say yes to an appointment on your day off or after your shift has finished. You can say no without needing an explanation and suggest an alternative that will work for you and your schedule.

3. It’s good to talk

Mental health, self-care and wellness are embedded into the ethos at Mewies & Co and something owner and Authentic Beauty Concept brand ambassador Dan Mewies is really championing. His salon team has hosted a number of team mental health workshops which has been a great opportunity to talk about mental health, understand each other’s personal and work pressures and equip everyone with helpful coping mechanisms.

Dan says: “A revived open-door policy and supporting each other means we can take control of our own wellbeing and work/life balance. However, voicing your emotions doesn’t have to stop at the salon door. Friends, family, partners and even ex-colleagues can provide a safe space for venting. The moment you let an emotion stir inside of you for fear of sharing it, you give the emotion far more power than it truly has.”

4. Build downtime into your schedule

Dan is a salon owner who firmly believes in making sure his team take that hour’s lunch break. Dan says seeing friends or scheduling activities that make you recharge means you will have something to look forward to and adds an extra incentive to manage your time well.

Hayley agrees and suggests scheduling ‘do nothing’ into your diary after what you know will be a busy day or few weeks. If you see the downtime written in the diary it means you will stick to it and won’t say yes to something that will be too much for you.

However, try not to make a habit of spending all of your free time lazing. Although this can seem attractive at the time (and we definitely all need a lazy weekend to reboot every now and then), it’s important to see friends and spend time in fresh air after being in the salon all week.

5. Exercise regularly

Dan says when you have a lot on it’s easy to let exercise slip, but it’s beneficial on so many levels along with staying hydrated. Not only can it alleviate stress but it can also boost your energy levels, self-esteem and ability to concentrate.

6. Practice self-care

A little relaxation goes a long way. Dan explains whether it’s taking a yoga class, picking up a book or listening to your favourite music, making time for things that you enjoy will result in a better salon-work/life balance. Don’t fall into the trap of adapting standard self-care remedies as your own. The takeaway? Find the things YOU really enjoy doing.

7. Don’t feel guilty

Finally, the secret to having a work-life balance, explains Hayley, is to not be afraid to prioritise yourself and your own mental wellbeing. She points out that when you get on an aeroplane, the safety advice in an emergency is to put on your own life jacket first. By giving yourself a good work-life balance you are ensuring your mental wellbeing is a priority and you will be able to bring your best self to the salon.

Meanwhile, if you're looking to boost your barbershop team's happiness, check out this advice. 

Josie Jackson

Josie Jackson

Published 18th May 2023

Josie supports the team with content for the print magazine, website and social media channels at HJ. Having grown up in a salon environment (thanks to her hairdresser mum) and even working as a Saturday girl before getting her degree in English Literature, Josie feels right at home in the industry. Although she’s experimented with a few creative colour looks in the past, she always comes back to blonde, and loves all things hydrating and bond building.

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