Working remotely in this industry cuts many off from one-on-one time with loved clients. Making people beautiful requires long conversations, creating art, and meeting people from all walks of life.

Making people beautiful requires long conversations, creating art, and meeting people from all walks of life. The current pandemic obscures these delights. So how are the best of the industry loving themselves and curbing issues with their mental wellness?

As the second wave rages on, it might seem too difficult to cope with our stresses all over again. But uncertainty and feelings of doubt are normal, especially during a period of time when everything else isn’t.

Here’s how the pandemic has affected the wellness of five industry professionals, and their advice on what’s working for them.

Maurice St. Rose

“I feel that my mental health has been affected. Being behind the chair, we all know our services go beyond just being a barber. Often times we are our client’s counselors… We hear about all areas of their life. Right now, for many, I am the only person they are seeing outside of their bubble. I do 16-hour days, which means I take on so many conversations. My clients are turning to me for advice, which has taken a toll on me. I find that I need more time to decompress from work. It’s a lot of life you’re taking on. There is so much uncertainty.

Being in B.C, we are lucky enough to be able to go to the ocean and take in the ocean air. I work right off the water, so I take daily walks. As for other professionals, find ways to use your creativity. Get back to the art of hair. We got caught up in the money so much that we forgot why we’re doing it. It was really about getting back to doing all the fundamentals, learning new styles. Getting deeper into hair really helped me a lot.”

Paula Whitelocke

“During the pandemic, I was able to be supported through CERB as well as rent relief, so it challenged me to lean into my faith and know that everything would work itself out in my favour no matter how hard it became financially or emotionally at times. This actually allowed me to recognize the areas that were being ignored in the journey towards holistic wellbeing.

Sitting with myself has been where most of my healing has derived from. I take responsibility for being able to choose where my energy goes, so it has been much easier to focus on faith leading the way. Self-compassion rolls in whenever the thoughts and feelings are not as positive as I’d prefer them to be. Allowing them to be is much needed though, as it can lead to the other side of the mountain. Or at the very least, more appreciation for the mountain being climbed. We are going through challenging times, but this will not last forever. Positive and negative live in the same space, so I remain in power of my choice to keep it as positive as possible from day to day.”

Pasquale Di Tullio

“There’s a certain vibe in the barber shop that isn’t there anymore. The energy is missing. Even if you’re keeping busy, it’ll never be the same as if you’ve got 6 or 7 people working together. We have the unemployment insurance that helps a lot. But as a business owner, a lot of these things aren’t necessarily accessible. I think the collateral is bigger than the actual virus.

I really focused on doing a lot of reading. I was reading a lot of stuff that motivated me in the past, so I was going back to that mindset and staying healthy. I think everything starts with the body and then it works its way to the mind. Even though gyms are closed you’ve got to find a way – exercise from home, go for walks, get some fresh air. Understand that things will be coming back to normal eventually.”

Mikka Gia

“The pandemic really hit me the first round – because we’ve never been through something like this. You’re just trying to find your way. It was definitely about learning to slow down. Which was not easy for someone like me because I’m very used to being busy. It allowed me to re-asses my life. I had my struggles with mental health but it was also a blessing in disguise.

My advice would be to count at least three things a day that you’re grateful for. When you do this, it does something to the brain where it eliminates the negativity, the feelings that we go through every day. I think that when we can actually sit down for a minute, and say ‘I have a roof over my head, I still have some income coming in, or CERB, or I’m doing okay.’ It gives you a sense of: ‘Okay, it’s not that bad.’ If people can spend a bit more time focusing on the things that they’re blessed with, it doesn’t necessarily take away the problem, but it reduces the stress that you create in the mind that can create and manifest issues in the body.”

Derrick Rutherford

“We make sure we’re keeping our routine. We still go into the salon for an hour, and either work in the office or do paperwork. Still create some sort of routine that stays the same. If you’re sleeping in until one or two in the afternoon and you’re just drinking and watching Netflix and eating bon bons all day, you’re going to have an issue!

You can’t focus on things that you can’t control. You can’t sit around the house thinking about it. You’ve got to figure out some other creative outlets. Get another hobby, get out walking and exercising. And then just check in with people, like making sure that you’re touching base if you work with a team. Still get together through Zoom every couple of weeks, make sure you’re seeing how everyone’s doing or if anyone needs anything. That’s going to help you just as much as them.”