The thing I learnt during lockdown is I haven’t been that good at prioritising me. The year 2020 taught me a lot about myself. Although not that I want to repeat the year that is about to end, there were a few defining moments for me. For the first time, I got off my self-imposed tread mill. I completely stopped both mentally and physically. Not because I wanted to but because the world did. The pandemic pushed me to look at my list of lifelong choices
After the announcement of the first lockdown and making sure that the ZING team and the salons we coach were sorted I turned my focus probably for the very first time to myself. I was given the gift of time. Time to stay in the same place, to sleep in my bed every night. Time to sleep 8 hours every night, time to cook every meal I ate and the time to exercise.
For the first time in a very long time I was my number one focus. In my fifties now and having the kids all grown and the borders closed, it came down to just the dog and me.
Having been a hairdresser, a mother, a wife and a salon owner my focus has always been looking after others, I liked it that way, I had an excuse as to why I wasn’t achieving what I told ever, I was out of excuses.
It started with chronic stomach issues that test after test revealed it was a mountain of stress. The G I specialist explained to me that my gut was trying to get my attention, she also warned me that if I didn’t take this warning sign seriously, I would end up with one health issue after another.
She also explained to me the cancer most common in hairdressers is bowel cancer. The connection they believe is the inconsistency with mealtimes and the speed at which we eat.
I left her consulting rooms and sat in my car for about 40 minutes going over everything she said.
Like a lot of women in the hair and beauty space I just keep going, kept putting my clients my work and my family first, I hadn’t really thought of the long-term damage I was doing to my gut health.
Breaking these 30-year habits hasn’t been easy but I am pleased to say I am making great progress. The results are showing up in many ways. My skin for one has never looked so bright.
Four new habits have been the foundations I needed to set me up. They are as follows Adequate water, good food choices and digestion, daily exercise and adequate rest.
It’s not as easy as you might think. It has been difficult and breaking old habits was harder than I thought.
I started with drinking 2 litres of water by setting a reminder in my phone and a rule that with every dink of tea and coffee I must drink a glass of water first. Walking twice a day, and always drinking water on the walk.
Then I worked on taking the time to sit and take time to really enjoy my meals. That was tricky I was used literally throwing food into my mouth. In the salon I ate while I was mixing a colour in the back room. My digestion of food was terrible, and it stems from not chewing properly. Sleeping 8 hours straight also another challenge something that also stems from waking up to kids and working till 10 o’clock on the salon floor some nights and finding it difficult to unwind. Catching early planes to being too exhausted to go to bed.
I think the last time I had a consistent bedtime I was eight! I heard a Ted talk recently that referred to most people being “tired but wired” and I was definitely guilty of that one.
I am pleased to say that by making these four things a priority over the past seven months I have made the foundational steps required to heal my gut. To say I feel good is an understatement. I feel brand new! I have a routine now and I am NOT going to slip back into old habits. I hope sharing my learnings inspires other hair and beauty professionals to carve out some time to prioritise you.