It’s likely that you’ve felt some very big emotions over the past few weeks. We are all grieving the loss of our lives as they were in the face of a global pandemic. This event is fundamentally an emotional trauma for all people. Trauma is when your security is removed suddenly and forcefully. This is exactly what happened to millions of people… simultaneously.
One thing about trauma is that everyone will experience a different way of processing it. It is important to remember that you are not the only one experiencing trauma. All of them, and more importantly, they are all valid.
Trauma can leave you feeling isolated even in “normal” circumstances. Right now, however, the isolation caused by trauma has been exacerbated and we all are isolating. (That’s a lot of loneliness). We are feeling very alone, having big emotions, grieving huge losses.
We spent many years building a society that relies on external validation in our older years. Our “okness” is found in Instagram likes and reposts, yelp reviews, and Facebook forums. We ask our family, friends, and clients. We Google ad nauseam our circumstances and friends to get the information we need to allow ourselves to feel our feelings.
Traumatic events can bring out emotions such as sadness, anger and guilt, as well anxiety and fear. These emotions are directly related to how you as an individual respond to uncertainty. Sometimes we don’t always find the truth in these feelings when we try to search for it. This is especially true in this moment.
…em each one of you will have to decide what is best. Don’t follow your neighbor. Instagram is not the place to see your neighbor doing. Not what you see on Instagram. You and only you will need to make difficult decisions when we do reopen.
My main focus right now is using social media to raise awareness about mental health and provide resources for healing from grief and trauma. Every day I meet with hairdressers from around the globe. My private Facebook group includes stylists from more than 12 countries. This is why I am writing this now, to offer validation for any thoughts or feelings you might be experiencing. I can assure you that other hairdressers have similar fears, anxieties and struggles.
Photo by John Karlo Mendoza
I polled more than 100 stylists anonymously last week to get the results and maybe offer some relief. As I expected, the results showed how different our emotions are. However, they also revealed that no matter what your feelings may be, someone else might have them.
The results of a survey asking people if they missed doing their hair was split. That’s right…. You don’t have to miss hair. It is okay to not miss it, given the demands of our jobs. It’s also okay to miss it like mad.
77% of salon workers feel unsafe returning to work. This is normal given the environment. This means that 23% feel safe and ready for their return. You know what? There is nothing wrong with that!
“I spend most my time on social media right now to promote mental health awareness, provide resources, and offer perspective on healing from grief and trauma. Every day I meet hairdressers from all parts of the globe.
Many stylists feel so pressured to take a million classes and practice, then create again. This is trauma, and it will leave you tired! To conserve energy, your body literally shuts down brain centers. If you feel blocked and less creative than you used to be, you might be one of the 60% of stylists I interviewed. You are not wrong.
A client is matched with a makeup artist. Concept for the provision of cosmetic services in the quarantine period following the COVID-19 pandemic.
We must reevaluate our lives when we face times like this. Deep-rooted fears and thoughts will come to the surface. Our future fears are real and understandable. These times could also serve to confirm what we already know. 75% of hair stylists believe that their profession is hair. That is amazing. To the 25% of you who are wondering if you will ever get your hair back, then my friend now is the time for you to reflect on that and decide what is best for you.
Each of you must decide what is best for yourself. Don’t follow your neighbor. Instagram is not the place to see your neighbor doing. Not what you see on Instagram. If we do reopen, it will be you who must make difficult decisions. Be open to your feelings. They are valid. They have all the answers. I’m here to help.
Alison Valsamis is a member of The International Beauty Industry’s Independent Judging Council. She was named as one of Modern Salon’s top 100 game changers and influencers. She was featured on the Modern Salon August issue cover and was awarded the BTC One Shot Award in Upstyle of The Year. She also offers individual coaching and online braiding and styling classes. She has been traveling extensively for the past three years teaching braiding, bridal and braiding workshops as well as long hairdressing. She also opened Braided and Blonde Studio, Shelton, Connecticut in 2018.