Standing, moving, bending, stretching, reaching, extending, and grasping are all part of an ordinary day on the job for you. Sitting at a desk all day? Not a chance. It’s awesome to be up and moving throughout the day, and you wouldn’t have it any other way.
Unfortunately, the same thing that makes your career so great is also the thing that can take a toll on your body over time. Occupational health in any career should be considered, but in the cosmetology field, it’s particularly important to be kind to your body and take the appropriate measures to ensure a long career, free of discomfort and joint-related issues.
We’ve assembled a list of tips you can start incorporating today so you won’t need to suffer from pain and discomfort tomorrow:
Keep it moving.
Standing all day is harder on your joints than moving around, so it’s important to take the time for a stroll around the salon between clients. While a busy day at the salon may not afford you much time to kick your feet up and rest, take advantage of a few minutes to sit and give your joints a break. Even better? Sit down and elevate your feet for a few minutes several times a day.
Pamper your feet.
If you love heels (who doesn’t?), save them for your nights out. In the salon, keep your tootsies pampered by wearing flat shoes with soft cushioning that will support your heels and arches. Sliding a good pair of arch supports in your favorite shoes also does the trick.
Amp up the comfort by using an anti-fatigue mat at your work station. A good anti-fatigue mat keeps the blood flowing and supports your body weight, decreasing the chances of short- and long-term joint injuries.
If you’re experiencing foot pain or swelling throughout the day, grab an ice-cold water bottle and roll your feet over it about two to three times a day. The use of night splints while sleeping is also a great way to stabilize and support your feet while sleeping, so you’re reading to go in the morning.
Pain often comes from being too uptight. Don’t worry about maintaining a straight posture while standing; you’ll just cause everything from your lower back to your shoulders to tighten up. Just be sure to stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your weight centered.
While you’re at it, relax your arms, making a point to keep your elbows close to you while working. Holding your arms too high will result in tennis elbow and make working with your arms all day quite unpleasant. Use your chair to position your client so you don’t spend the day reaching overhead.
Don’t forget your hands, too. Relax your grip when holding your shears. Maintaining a comfortable grip will prevent sore hands and cramping. A really good pair of sharp shears will also make cutting easier with less effort.
Stretch it out.
There’s nothing better for your body after a long day of work than a good stretching routine. Bring your arms overhead and slowly stretch at the waist to the right and left. Bend at the waist and let your arms and hands fall at your feet. Don’t push the stretch – just let gravity do the work for you. Lay flat on your back and bend your knees as you slowly bring them to your chest while using your hands on your knees to support the motion.
Some cosmetologists also swear by weekly massages, while others head to the yoga studio several times a week. Whatever your liking, just make sure to incorporate it into your weekly schedule.
Leave it to the professionals.
If you are experiencing pain, numbness, tingling, or excessive swelling, head to a trusted health professional. Ignoring these symptoms may cause long-term damage and result in surgical interventions, while addressing it early on can remedy issues and keep you pain-free.
Often times, the solution is as simple as using a brace or support. Your doctor may also recommend incorporating specific exercises into your day or visiting a physical therapist. The moral of the story? Don’t wait. If you are experiencing any type of discomfort, make an appointment with a health professional. Your body will thank you for it!