Scratch explores the importance of self-care and looks at 10 ways to ensure you prioritise your wellbeing as a nail pro…

1. Take regular breaks

Dr Ravi Gill

Schedule breaks during your working day to recharge; whether five minutes between clients or a full lunch break to refuel and take a walk, to relax mentally and physically.

“We often feel pressured to offer more appointments to suit clients, so it can be tempting to schedule in clients back-to-back to accommodate,” says health psychologist, Dr Ravi Gill. “Taking regular breaks allows you to rest, recharge and maintain focus in your appointments, and can help manage the emotional toll of clients offloading.”

2. Establish a work-life balance & stick to it

It’s vital to set and maintain clear boundaries between your work and personal lives to avoid stress and burnout, and ensure your love for nails doesn’t wear thin.

Natasha Katoro

“Striking a balance between work and personal life can be difficult, especially for those with family responsibilities or those who work in salons with extended hours,” shares Wakefield-based pro, Natasha Katoro. “Set clear boundaries with clients to manage expectations and prevent over-commitment. Learn to say no and set limits to protect your time and energy.”

“Establish a clear work-life balance by maintaining strict working hours and limiting work-related communication to working days,” suggests Dr Ravi Gill.

3. Consider your work environment

Investing in comfortable and ergonomic tools and furniture is a great way to alleviate issues caused by tekking: reducing the risk of repetitive strain injuries and keeping you comfortable during long appointments.

Amy Ling Lin

Amy Ling Lin, founder of wellness-based Sundays Studio, New York, sought to find ways to support staff wellbeing beyond décor. “It has been my aim to promote a supportive and stress-free work environment to enhance the self-care of my nail specialists,” she describes. “I witnessed a client threaten to slap a nail specialist who couldn’t find a specific shade, as the technician couldn’t speak English, and this stuck with me.

“We train our specialists to work as a team and have a full support system in place for busier times, such as weekends. During appointments, clients and nail specialists are seated at the same level to eliminate any hierarchy of staff being below the client.”

4. Keep informed

Staying up-to-date with the latest industry trends, techniques and training helps to nurture a sense of confidence in your work, and can spark creativity.

Remember to renew your Scratch subscription and invest in regular training (both in business and nail techniques) to keep your skills at the top of their game. “Further training helps to grow skills but also increases job satisfaction and belief in your work,” says Natasha Katoro. “It’s also important to keep informed about best practices for mental health to utilise effective coping strategies.”

5. Prioritise your mental health

The fast-paced nature of the nail world: honouring appointments, answering client questions, running a business and posting on social media, can mean that mental health matters fall to the bottom of your priority list.

“Mental health issues can lead to decreased concentration and a drop in the quality of work, affecting reputation and client satisfaction,” Natasha Katoro explains. “If work suffers due to mental health issues, it could lead to reduced earnings, which can create a cycle of stress and financial pressure. If feeling overwhelmed, consider speaking with a mental health professional for guidance and support.”

6. Make time for regular exercise & mindfulness

“Incorporate mindfulness or other stress-reduction techniques into your daily routine to maintain a calm and clear mind, and make time for physical activity to boost your mood and health,” recommends Natasha Katoro. “Use apps like Headspace for guided meditation sessions to help calm the mind between appointments and follow online stretching routines, specifically for hands and wrists, to reduce strain from detailed work.”

Amy Ling Lin adds: “We believe that self-care and wellness go hand in hand, so incorporate mindfulness with nailcare in Sundays Studio by offering meditative manicures to encourage clients to slow down and be present. During this service, clients can listen to their preference of guided affirmations or binaural beats.”

7. Focus on nutritional needs

A balanced diet with nutritional foods and plenty of water will support a healthy body and mind, aiding focus and preventing fatigue.

It can be challenge to remember to drink enough water, and when time is tight it can be tempting to swap a meal for a snack, but a well-nourished body is fundamental to self-care. “Set reminders on your phone to take water breaks throughout the day to stay hydrated,” Natasha Katoro advises.

8. Network with other industry pros

Building connections with other nail technicians allows you to bond with people with similar interests, creating a network of support and a sense of community. It’s a great form of self-care, giving you endless encouragement and inspiration from a friendly face when you need it.

Natasha Katoro founded an initiative to prevent feelings of isolation that can build in the industry, particularly for home salon or mobile workers. “Despite the social nature of the job, working independently or in a non-team-oriented environment with limited social time outside of work can create feelings of isolation,” she explains. “Building a strong community in or outside of the salon can help alleviate this. Having someone who understands the unique stresses of nail tech work can be invaluable. Peers can provide a listening ear and share their own experiences, coping strategies and provide emotional support.”

9. Take technology breaks

The 24/7 nature of social media can make it feel really difficult to ever take a break. However, it’s vital to learn to step away and consciously unplug from the online world to make time for self-care truly away from work.

“Take breaks from your digital devices to help reduce stress and improve sleep,” Natasha Katoro explains. “I’d recommend choosing a day to disconnect from devices to give your mind a break from the constant stimulation. To support a digital detox, I recommend the apps Freedom (to block distracting sites and apps) and Offtime (to schedule device downtime).”

10. Take a holiday!

Having a constant flow of clients to tend to can make it feel impossible to schedule time for a holiday, but taking a longer break to rejuvenate and recharge is necessary for maintaining great self-care.

“When was the last time you scheduled real time out for yourself?” asks Dr Ravi Gill. “When you’re working with back-to-back clients, it can be both physically and mentally draining, so it’s important to block out time to do nothing. Downtime is so important to maintain positive mental and physical health and allows you to be the best version of yourself.”

By Editor