Caitlin Iley

Community spirit: How Yorkshire nail techs are promoting positive mental wellbeing for fellow pros

By Callie Iley | 17 December 2023 | Feature, Health & wellbeing, Tech Talk

Natasha Katoro Wellbeing Group Header

Following her transition from a role in the NHS to the nail industry, Natasha Katoro of By Natasha Katoro shares how she and her local support group are tackling high feelings of isolation amongst industry pros…

Hoping to foster a sense of community to promote positive mental wellbeing for nail technicians, Natasha is actively involved in a local support group in Wakefield, Yorkshire. The pro began her nail training three days after she celebrated her 38th birthday as a new mother, training with The GelBottle Inc to complete its Full GelBottle Course in September 2023. Since her initial training, Natasha has enrolled in courses for nail art, E-filing and The GelBottle Inc DesignEx Pro extensions, with plans to continue developing her skills in the nail and beauty realm.

Natasha Katoro

“I was inspired by my baby girl, Luna, to complete my training. I wanted to act as a role model by showing her you can be successful doing something you love. I chose to train with The GelBottle Inc as I felt it was synonymous with industry innovation as a brand.”

Before her time in the nail industry, Natasha worked as a personal advisor, supporting disadvantaged young people to carve out their future. “At 25, I took a sabbatical of sorts, embarking on a year-and-a-half globe-trotting experience that profoundly changed me. I dabbled in various roles, including cheffing, hostel work and railway underground work.

“Upon my return to the UK after my travels, I devoted eight years to NHS England, the organisation that leads and sets the national strategy for the entire NHS. My most recent role was as senior manager in health & wellbeing, leading initiatives to support our healthcare workers across the country.

“My future intentions within the nail industry include creating a sanctuary where wellbeing and beauty converge, a space where every client leaves feeling refreshed and empowered,” Natasha shares. “I’m laying the groundwork for this through my Instagram business page, where I advocate for self-care daily, sharing tips and affirmations with my followers.”

Natasha is involved in a local initiative in Wakefield, Yorkshire, consisting of a group of techs who completed their initial training together. “It’s important to highlight the benefits of local support groups to tackle isolation in the nail industry, as each area will face their own unique challenges. It’s important for us as nail technicians to recognise that our goals, talents, interests and skillsets are completely different, and therefore we do not need to see each other as competition.

“Our group tackles issues of loneliness and isolation in various ways,” Natasha explains. “It offers emotional support, as 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. Discussions about work challenges, client interactions or even personal struggles can help reduce stress and feelings of isolation.

“We also host social events and networking. Regular meet-ups, social gatherings, or industry events can foster a sense of belonging and provide a much-needed break from the demands of work. We have already discussed and made plans to attend nail industry events and will be having our first Christmas do together. The group also allows for sharing knowledge and resources, helping us to keep up-to-date with information about best practices, new products and new techniques.”

“Some future ideas we’re looking to implement include a buddy system: pairing up with another nail technician for regular check-ins. This is to ensure that everyone has at least one other person looking out for their wellbeing. We also want to introduce mental health workshops, bringing in professionals to discuss mental health topics and teach stress-reduction techniques to empower nail technicians to take charge of their emotional health.

“We want to implement casual meet-ups and informal gatherings, like coffee meets, picnics or dinners, to allow for relaxation and friendship-building outside of a professional setting. The group would also like to promote work-life balance, sharing strategies for maintaining a healthy work-life balance, through time management workshops and scheduling tactics.”

Charlotte Hepworth

Group member, Charlotte Hepworth of Ritual Nails By Charlotte, reveals: “After years in the design industry, I decided to make the career change to nails. I’ve always had a passion for art and people. Combining these and working from my home salon gives me the perfect work-life balance and creative freedom. Our supportive group has helped make the experience feel less daunting. With us with being new to the industry and having a safe space to ask questions, it allows us find answers, gain confidence and embark on our journeys together.”

Maintaining mental wellbeing

“Promoting positive mental and physical health is crucial within the nail industry, especially as nail technicians often work long hours in a physically demanding and socially interactive environment,” explains Natasha. “Creating a space that acknowledges these challenges and actively works to provide resources and support can significantly improve the mental wellbeing of nail technicians.

“Common challenges that nail technicians face include dealing with client interactions, isolation, pressure and perfectionism, struggling with work-life balance and economic stress.

“Although grateful for their patronage, interacting with clients all day can be emotionally draining, especially when encountering demanding or dissatisfied clients. Managing these relationships requires continuous patience and the ability to be intentional of our communication skills,” Natasha continues.

“Despite the social nature of the job, some nail technicians may experience feelings of isolation, especially if working independently or in a non-team-oriented environment. This can be exacerbated by having limited time to socialise outside of work due to long working hours. The beauty industry often emphasises perfection, which can create immense pressure to meet both personal and client standards. Striking a balance between work and personal lives can be difficult, especially for those with family responsibilities or those who work in salons with extended hours, Nail technicians who work on a per-client basis can face financial instability and stress, particularly during slow business periods or when unexpected events reduce the number of clients.”

Natasha’s top tips for supporting mental wellbeing

  • Prioritise self-care: “Engage regularly in activities that promote relaxation and enjoyment, such as exercise, hobbies or meditation.”
  • Recognise stress signals: “Learn to recognise early signs of stress and take proactive steps to address them.”
  • Practice mindfulness: “Incorporate mindfulness or other stress-reduction techniques into your daily routine to maintain a calm and clear mind.”
  • Establish boundaries: “Set clear boundaries with clients to manage expectations and prevent over-commitment.”
  • Cultivate a work-life balance: “Create space every day, week and month to relax and enjoy personal time, which can reduce the risk of burnout.”
  • Build social support networks: “Building a strong community within or outside of the salon can help alleviate feelings of isolation. This could include team-building activities or regular meetings to discuss concerns and support each other.”
  • Seek professional support: “If feeling overwhelmed, consider speaking with a mental health professional for guidance and support.”
  • Stay educated: “Keep informed about best practices for mental health to utilise effective coping strategies.”
  • Financial stability: “Manage financial stress through budgeting, saving and seeking financial advice if necessary.”
  • Engage in professional development: “Pursue further training, not only to enhance skills but to increase job satisfaction and confidence.”

Natasha’s resource recommendations

1. Mindfulness & meditation apps:

  • Headspace
  • Calm
  • Insight Timer

2. Habit tracking apps:

  • Habitica
  • Streaks
  • Fabulous

3. Fitness & yoga:

  • MyFitnessPal app (tracking diet & exercise)
  • Fitness Blender on YouTube (workout routines)
  • Yoga with Adriene on YouTube (yoga)

4. Sleep improvement tools:

  • Sleep pattern analysis
  • White noise
  • Sleep-inducing sounds/melodies

5. Nutrition & healthy eating resources:

  • Eat This Much (meal planning)
  • NutritionData (nutritional information)
  • Allrecipes (healthy recipes)

6. Social connection platforms:

  • Meetup (finding & meeting local groups with similar interests)
  • Bumble BFF (making new friends)

7. Relaxation & stress reduction tools:

  • ASMR videos
  • Ambient sounds

8. Hobbies & learning:

  • Skillshare (online classes on a variety of topics)
  • Duolingo app (learning new languages)
  • Codecademy website (learning coding)

9. Digital detox tools:

  • Freedom (blocking distracting sites & apps)
  • Offtime (schedule device downtime)

10. Professional mental health resources:

  • BetterHelp (online therapy)
  • Talkspace (therapy with licensed professionals)

Follow Natasha Katoro on Instagram, here.