Wella Professionals invited Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe, an expert on resiliency, to lead a virtual seminar on tips for how beauty professionals can stay resilient during the ever-changing times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here’s a recap of some of the key points to consider incorporating into your daily routine to stay mentally healthy, focused, positive and grounded.
The Truth About Stress
According to Dr. Hanley-Dafoe, stress is actually a positive thing. It’s a makeup of cortisol that goes through your bloodstream and motivates you. Deadlines, responsibilities and pressure help motivate us, and the peak of our stress is when we’re actually at our point of optimal performance—when we are most energized and focused.
Distress is when we take that turn for the worse and experience fatigue and even burnout, but people can confuse that feeling for stress and because of this, most of us have a very fractured relationship with stress.
We can actually harness our stress and capitalize on our most stressed and highly motivated state and try to keep it out of the “distress” zone. Having a healthy level of stress helps stimulate us.
How to Reset
Since stylists have never sat for this long (they work and think and do everything on their feet), it’s important to get moving again and reset your inner system. Some ways to rebalance and recalibrate your cortisol levels include:
Gentle practices like walking or stretching
Eating carbs and other “yummy” foods
Breathing seems like something you wouldn’t have to think about, but the truth is many of us don’t know how to breathe properly or effectively; we don’t sit back and listen to or control our breathing. Breathing is actually an easy way to set some calm back in your life and can help us feel better.
Taking three breaths lets the body know that you’re safe and you’re going to make a good choice and find your way through whatever it is you’re going through.
PRO TIP: A good way to control your breathing is by “birthday cake breathing,” which means taking a deep breath in and when exhaling, act like you’re blowing out birthday candles in slow motion.
For a while, it seemed like we needed to multi-task (for example, double-book)—like doing one thing at a time wasn’t “good enough” anymore, but if this pandemic was good for anything it’s helping us realize we need to slow down.
When you constantly multi-tasking, it’s hard to shut down at the end of the day. We’ve been training our minds to be scattered and to jump from task to task, that it’s actually taking a toll on us and many people can have a hard time sleeping or shutting off their brain at night because of this.
A good tool would be to practice “mono-tasking.” Mono-tasking (giving one thing your full attention) will activate your soothing system and will help you have an easier time shutting down at the end of the day.
Stack Your Habits
According to Dr. Hanley-Dafoe, humans are not very good at fixing bad habits and that’s probably why many of us have such a hard time sticking to our New Year’s resolutions!
We’re actually better at adding habits and learning new skills. It’s in our DNA to be good at adding something new rather than letting go of something old.
Habit-stacking refers to taking a habit you already have and pairing it with a new behaviour. Some ways to incorporate habit-stacking into your daily routine:
Add a sticky note on your coffee pot or tea mug that tells you to list three things you’re grateful for
When you walk through a doorway, correct your posture
When you walk past a mirror, make sure to smile or tell yourself something positive/empowering
Bookending Your Day
Dr. Hanley-Dafoe recommends “bookending your day” with structured morning and evening routines. She suggests making up your mind before you start your day about what type of day you want to have and do that in the morning (fill the first part of the day with actions). Then, decide how you want to close out the day—how you’ll quiet the mental chatter and wind down.
If you’re setting intentions for the day to work hard, then make sure to rest just as hard as well! Give yourself time and space to recover. She says setting intentions and the trajectory for the day in the morning will make a world of difference.
Dr. Hanley-Dafoe suggestions creating three lists per day to increase productivity and help with your overall wellness:
A classic “to do” list: list your daily tasks and things you must get done
A “to be” list: how you want to feel that day (I want to be patient, I want to be kind, I want to be energized, etc.)
A “not to do” list: what are you not going to do that day? (I will not drink cold coffee today, I will not doom scroll on Instagram, I will not stay up past midnight, I will not have a breakfast I dislike, I will not cancel my plans, etc.)
The moral of the story is that there are ways we can take care of ourselves to stay resilient, hope-filled and mentally healthy. If we change our vocabulary to include prompts like “I have,” “I am,” “I can,” and “I will,” we can begin to think more positively. According to Dr. Hanley-Dafoe, there is no shame in asking for help if the weight of the world is too heavy for your two hands. Our bodies and our minds need to be cared for properly if we want to continue to be of service to ourselves and those around us. Small actions, words and habits can actually make a world of difference.
Photos: Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe from Instagram, GettyStock