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In many of my conversations with other estheticians, I hear the same phrase, verbatim, at some point in the conversation, “I can’t remember the last time I had a facial.” Being the curious person that I am, I decided to pose this question to a national Facebook group of estheticians to see just how widespread this was. I received an overwhelming response and the results I got back were staggering. Some estheticians had never received one outside of their time in esthetics school, some gave themselves facials, and many estheticians hadn’t received facials in years…YEARS! Selfishly, it made me feel good to know that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t partake in the spoils of their own industry. But also, I found it so ironic that so many estheticians spend their days, nights, and weekends pampering others, but couldn’t remember the last time they themselves were on the receiving end of such a treat. But, was it really all that surprising to me? It’s like the nail technician whose cuticles need to be trimmed, the cosmetologist who’s wearing a hat because she didn’t finish her hair last night, the lash stylist with no lashes. We get so busy tending to the care of others that we forget…or simply don’t have enough time in the day…to tend to ourselves.
Self-care can improve relationship skills, increase optimism and hope, improve mood and quality of life, and decrease stress levels, among other benefits. So, armed with this knowledge, I decided to embark on five straight days of pampering; one day for each month I’ve been out of school. It was long overdue and well-deserved.
Day 1: I went a little crazy and kicked off my five days of pampering with three self-care activities. I used my breakfast break to get my eyebrows threaded and I used my lunch break to get a haircut. By patronizing locations near your job, you can find convenient times to get a little pampering in (like breaks or right after work), but you can also do a little networking in your area. Why not make friends with the surrounding nail techs, hair stylists, barbers, and threaders near you? It’s a great way to set up referral systems for one another.
Later that evening, I took myself out on a movie date. Sometimes we just need a little time to ourselves. No husband talking about bills, no kids talking about school projects, no parents talking about this year’s trip to visit Aunt Myrtle. Just YOU and whatever it is that YOU choose to focus on. I read something interesting in an entrepreneur.com article that stated that spending time alone can boost your self-esteem because it confirms that you are enough. Further, Psychology Today says that spending time alone provides time for you to think deeply and to discover yourself and find your own voice.
Day 2: I saw my hair stylist for a much needed color touch-up and conditioning. This activity gave me some time for care-free girl chat and laughs. My stylist (who happens to be the daughter of Atlanta Institute of Aesthetics instructor, Cherrilyn Heard) and I talk about anything from music to celebrity gossip to dating and health. After busy days of work, this is one of my favorite ways to unwind.
Day 3: I got a facial!!! There really is no need for explanation here. It was just pure relaxation and simply amazing to finally put my face in the hands of another professional for 60 minutes and let them work their magic, while I relaxed and allowed myself to be cared for. This one may be difficult for some estheticians. You may be tempted to critique, question, and take mental notes on techniques to “borrow”. However, I urge you to resist and relax…and get the experience that you paid for. You deserve it!
Day 4: I got a manicure and pedicure. I appreciate a serene environment when I get my nails done, much like the one in which I would expect when receiving a facial. The salon where I go serves wine and fruit infused water and smells amazingly like lemongrass. The environment is swathed in white and chandeliers. The hand towels are infused with aromatherapy scents and you leave feeling like you’ve just spent the last 90 minutes in a little slice of heaven.
Day 5: What better way to end my five days of luxuriating than with a massage? Research has shown that massage therapy can lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Obviously, it can relax your muscles, but also increases the production of endorphins, which is the natural chemical in the body that makes you feel good.
I don’t expect for everyone to go out and do five days of pampering, but hopefully you’ll consider taking time to do a few self-care things a month. Instead of running errands on lunch, grab a smoothie and read a book, get a hand and foot massage, or get your hair trimmed. Catch a movie on a lazy Sunday or grab a cup of coffee with a friend. Instead of beasting it out on the treadmill, take a yoga class every once in a while. Perhaps be a little unorthodox and saunter into a candle shop and give yourself a little aromatherapy. Or for goodness’ sake…get yourself a facial! Even just a few minutes a day to focus on you can make a difference. After all, we’re in the business of helping others. We put our hands on people every day and make them feel great. In order to give out that positive energy, you must restore your own reserves.