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Here’s how to avoid stress when clients offload at the nail desk

By Guest Writer | 05 April 2024 | Feature, Health & wellbeing

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Suzy Reading, psychologist & wellness expert for the British Association of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology (BABTAC) shares top tips for managing any mental stress that may arise from being a soundboard for clients…

“The energetic and emotional toll of listening to clients’ problems needs to be recognised and addressed as part of basic training,” she comments. “There needs to be clarity on remit and responsibility: you are not a trained psychological therapist and it’s not your job to fix or provide emotional support, but to establish rapport and help people feel at ease so they can get maximum benefit from your work.”

As an employer:

  • Allow a reasonable amount of time between treatments so therapists can decompress and recharge before moving onto their next client.
  • Provide a clean and welcoming space for the team to take breaks and allow them to check in with team members regularly – whether it’s to lighten the load or simply change the subject.
  • Check in with the team to make sure they have the support they need and that they feel valued and listened to. People need to feel cared for and communication is key to this.
  • Provide fresh water, tea/coffee and healthy snacks if possible for your staff. This is a small gesture that goes a long way and your therapists will be thankful after hours on their feet and in treatment rooms.

As a therapist:

  • Recognise the toll that listening to your clients’ problems can take and give yourself permission to articulate and honour your boundaries within the session. Healthy boundaries mean you get to decide what feels safe for you to talk about, so instead of asking what’s happening in their life, ask something more neutral, such as ‘how was your journey today?’
  • After you finish with a client or when you notice yourself taking on their stress, complete a ritual to encourage a feeling of letting go. I recommend a gesture, such as shaking your hands – or a breathing practice like candle breath (in through the nose, out through the lips for a long cathartic exhale). A few minutes in fresh air is another good go-to if the location allows.
  • Remember that the stress, emotion or problem you’ve just heard is not yours and turn the worry into wishing your clients well. Maybe say a little prayer or set an intention for them, then bring your mind back to the moment. And remember to give yourself some of the same kindness and compassion, too!
  • Don’t ignore what fills your cup. When you’re feeling low and depleted, you’ll be more likely to be affected by others’ problems, so whether it’s sleep, exercise, socialising, solo time or cooking, make sure you implement small steps to give yourself a big boost.