Energetic Self-Care for Empathic Hairstylists

Every hairstylist knows what it is like to come home feeling drained, anxious, un-grounded, wired, exhausted, buzzed, zapped, empty, overfilled. Sometimes we experience all of these feelings at the same time, and it can take a long time to wind down, it can make sleeping hard, and we can be very irritable with our families and friends.

After a day behind the chair, we have effectively soaked up the energy of everyone who has been in our chair, and every hair that we cut. This is an invisible side effect of working with the emotional and energetic weight of other peoples hair. It is very real, and it is something that we need to be careful and mindful about, just like we care for our physical bodies.

Today, while this baby naps in the other room, I am attempting to pull it together enough to share a few important tools for Energetic Self-Care to help hairstylists, and anyone else who works closely with other peoples identities and physical bodies.

Grounding

Before you start your day, take 5 minutes to ground yourself. Do this before you have had your coffee. Find a quiet place without distractions. If you can sit on the ground outside somewhere that is best……Pavement is okay but grass or dirt or anything natural is ideal. Put your phone away.

Take some big breaths through your nose, deep into your belly. Release any tension that your body is holding onto. Clear your mind by visualizing a big, old tree whose leaves are gently moving in the wind. The sun glints through its branches and it is strong and solid. Visualizations are like watching a movie in your mind, but with the alchemy of imagination.

Imagine that you are this tree. Picture it in your mind. If it is too much of a stretch to imagine yourself a tree, just imagine the tree as itself. Don’t get frustrated if it seems hard to keep your mind quiet enough to focus on being a tree. This is a practice, it gets easier, and every day will be different. The intention of grounding is enough to help ground you so don’t get hard on yourself. Imagine that your roots are growing  into the ground. Imagine them busting through soil, making their way deep down into the earth.

Feel the feeling of being held to the earth firmly, strongly in your body, rooted to the source of energy and strength that the earth provides. Breath here, and be here for a few minutes.

Throughout the day, when you start to feel like you are losing yourself, remember this tree and its roots. Come back to your body.

 

Uh Oh! baby crying. Be back soon!

 

Breath

Start to be aware of your breath. Understand that when you breath in, you are clearing new space and nourishing your entire body with oxygen and when breath out you are breathing out what you no longer need, physically and energetically. When we take on negativity or unwanted feelings from other people without knowing it, our breath becomes our ally for letting that energy go. But this takes some awareness. Often we hold tension in one part of our body throughout the day, without even knowing it. This restricts our breath, our vital life source.

Check in with yourself every so often, and scan your body for where you are holding tension. My belly is where I hold the most tension, also my jaw. Breath into these places, long and steady. Soften them. Breath out all the energy you hold that you have taken on from others. We don’t need to carry it. We need to help them channel it, and then breath it out ourselves.

Sheilding

When you find yourself feeling bombarded or unprotected, or like you are soaking up too much and it is starting to weigh on you, perhaps you are working with a particularly intense person, or being a listening ear for a client who is going through some heavy shit, It is time to put on your shield. This is self-protection and self-preservation and is showing respect to both yourself and your client. They don’t want to bring you down! But many folks also don’t know how much we take on as stylists……Again, energetic self-care is so crucial.

This is a tool you can use at the beginning of the day, during a service when things get energetically intense, or before a particular client shows up who you know you need some energetic boundaries with.

Take a few deep breathes. Close your eyes for a few seconds and call in your color of the day. You might see a color clearly in your minds eye. You might here a voice that says “yellow!” in your mind, or perhaps you will see your color spelled out P-I-N-K. Don’t second guess it.

This is the color of your shield today. And the color is important. You may choose to use the same color for every sheild but I like calling in my color on a daily basis because I can’t ever decide on one to stick with.

Imagine that a halo of colored light is spreading over your entire body, covering you with a soft glow, an aura, if you will. This is your shield, and it is an energetic boundary that keeps  dark energy from entering your forcefield. When you start feeling bombarded, or like you are taking on too much from someone else, imagine this shield protecting you, as their energy bounces off of you and dissipates into the air.

Clearing

A common way to clear energy throughout the day is smoking, and lots of us do it without realizing why we feel we need it so much. It is obviously not a healthy option and I think that we crave a way to clear off energy that hangs on us in between clients and this is why we so often reach for tobacco. We physically need to clear ourselves of what we carry for others. A nice alternative to smoking is smuge and incense. I smudge after every day behind the chair, myself and my work space. Check out this DIY.

My favorite way to clear energy in between clients is sweeping the floor. It brings me great pleasure as a meditative whisking away of stagnant energy that is held in the hair that has been cut away. Imagine as you sweep, that you are clearing unwanted weight and energy from your workspace and making a safe and peaceful space for you and your next client to drop in together.

Restoring

This is my favorite part. Water is life. Water is the most healing and restorative medicine for empathic people. Remember this…….Any time you are losing your shit and need to calm your nerves, or heal a broken heart or a broken ankle, go to the water and let her work her magic.

I take a bath after a work day. Simple as that. I often add epsom salts for my soar muscles and herbs and flowers depending on what I have around me but water alone is the medicine. Be near it. Be in it. Listen to it, watch it, drink it (Spring water if possible.)

My recipe for honoring and healing and restoring my hands after a long day (we all know that our hands are our hardest working and most important/ under appreciated tools, not to mention the physical entry point for energetic transfer between our clients and ourselves )is simply this……….

Rest your hands on the surface of water. A bowl of water, a sink full, a bath tub, a lake, whatever you can. Gently let your hands float ever so lightly on the top of the water. There is an unmeasured and profound restorative energy source that lives on the surface of water and has the capacity to recharge your whole body through your hands.

This shit might sound so woo to you. And it is. And it works wonders. Please try it, and take good care!

I invite you to share this post with friends who may find it useful, these tools have really helped me and I wish I would have learned them long ago!

 

Brook’s Hair Transformation

Babes:)

Welcome back to the 3rd Edition of HTHG’s Ritual Hair Shave/ Paint/Transformation. This time, we feature my sister and muse, Brook.

Brook had wanted to shave her head for years. She had a beloved friend in high school who had a shaved head, who we all woman-crushed on for her fierce look and rebellious independence.

Brook recently started singing and song-writing in a punk band, and to celebrate her first stage debut, it seemed the perfect time for a shave and paint. So, we shaved her head, leaving a few bits and pieces around her face and featuring the uniqueness of her awesome head shape and hairline. Then, I bleached her and mixed up her colors. 

This time, I had drawn out a rough idea of what I wanted to do with her color, and free-hand painted it into her hair. Was such a blast. She is such a brave Aries woman.

Check out our IG for more video footage of this series, under the hashtag #hthgtransformation

xo, HTHG

Maddie’s Hair Transformation

Hi babes. Welcome to round 2 of Ritual Head Shave/ Hair Transformation. Meet Maddie. She answered my IG call for Head Shave Models, and I answered her call for wanting a reason to shave her head. 

She was reserved about wanting to fully expose her ears, which is so common for women.  When we shaved her head, we revealed her beautiful ears and she was just stunning. 

For her color concept, I worked from inspiration of these green bubbles. I had had a sense that green would be an important color to her, and it was, and it looked perfect on her.

Check out Howtohairgirl IG for more video footage from this series, and stay tuned for next weeks Transformation edition:)

xo, HTHG

 

Michele’s Ritual Hair Transformation

Welcome to the first edition of this beautiful saga of hair transformation!

This series will be mostly photo-documentation, with just a little intro to each woman. I considered going in do much deeper depth about the how’s and why’s of each woman’s personal transformation story but it seemed that the photos were enough to tell the tale.

Know this, though……I put a call out on my Instagram for women who are wanting to mark a transition in life by shaving their head and letting me bleach and paint colorful prayers into their heads afterwards. I heard from many interested women, who had been waiting for a reason to do this. It seemed that I was answering their call as they answered mine. I knew It was worth pursuing. 

Michele’s Transformation began with writing down an intention that she set for moving forward in her life. She shaved her own head, to mark the release of her intention into the universe. She burned her intention and her hair outside to bring in the elements of fire and air to burn through obstacles standing in her way of moving forwards.

Then, as witness and artist and co-facilitator, I painted prayers of color and vibrancy into her hair after bleaching her stubble to a soft white. 

The experience was very experimental, powerful, joyful and transformative. Thanks to Michele for her bravery, and for all of you who are witnessing. 

Please check out a small video of the process on my IG, under the hashtag #hthgtransformation

xo.

When to Shave Your Head.

So you have been wanting to shave your head forever, but haven’t had the vulva to do it yet. Maybe you, like me, watched Empire Records as a young teen and felt transformed along with Robin Tunney as she shaved her head to melancholy music in the bathroom, sad rebellion in her eyes as her hair fell in clumps into the dirty sink.

Maybe you knew a girl like that in high school, and thought she was the coolest, and wished you were cool enough to make friends with her. Maybe you were that girl in high school, and if so, power to you for being so brave.

I like to answer the question of ‘when is the perfect time to shave my head?’ like this: Never, and Always. 

There is Never a time in life that feels 100% comfortable to shave your head, there will Always be many people to talk you out of it because they are attached to your hair even if you aren’t. Shaving your head will Never not be a totally jump off a cliff’s worth of Adrenaline. Shaving your head will Always freak you out up until the moment you actually take the buzzers to your head, even if you know for sure it is what you want. There will Never be a perfect time to shave your head, until, one day, there is.

And then, you will know. You will be scared shitless. And you will just do it. So be sure to have your clippers ready when the moment hits.

My Shaved Head

This is a drawing of me by my friend Maurice Caldwell Jr. that was done a month or so after I shaved my head……The only known visual documentation that it ever happened. (twas before social media.)

I shaved my head on a whim once. I had been feeling like something wasn’t right, like I was outgrowing my own skin. I was restless and bored. I was hungry for something and I didn’t know what.

So, I showed up early for work one day, shaved my head with the help of a friend, and moved on with my life. It was a real learning experience for me to walk through life without hair. I started noticing more subtleties and nuances about how I felt about myself. It was like putting up a mirror that showed me who I truly was, instead of who I thought I wanted to be.

I realized that other people not thinking I was pretty was not actually that upsetting. I realized that I liked the feeling of looking unexpectedly, uniquely like myself for once. I realized that being mistaken for a boy wasn’t a problem for me. I realized that I had a lot of unlearning to do in my personal life and in my career.

I found out I was pregnant with my daughter Marley 2 weeks later. I was bald and pregnant. Life was all the sudden very interesting and colorful. I all of the sudden had real life choices to make, and the budding agency and confidence to make them. I was transforming to a new life M.O. as I realized that I was the one in the drivers seat.

Great Reasons to Shave your Head:

 

  • Because you are drunk and you are in a bar bathroom in Berlin and someone dares you to.
  • To show your mom who you really are.
  • Because you are going through a breakup.
  • Because you find yourself unnecessarily stuck in a cycle of obsession with how you are seen by others and you want to break free.
  • Because you are ready to start living life differently.
  • Because something hasn’t felt right for a really long time and though you may not understand it, you are ready to move past it.
  • Because you just experienced a major shift.
  • Because you just lost someone you really love. 
  • Because you want to atone for energetic karma.
  • Because you are on the verge of a major change and you realize that there will never be the right time, so the time has to be now. 
  • Because you are ready to jump off the hamster wheel of harsh chemical hair treatments and start fresh.
  • Because you are going to lose your hair to Chemo
  • No reason at all, but because something besides reason tells you to just fucking do it.

 

This last one is important to me personally, because I have had the honor of working with many women who are embarking on their Chemo Journey, and It is such a powerful experience to take control of the destiny of your hair in a time when so much is happening to your body that feels out of control. The Chemo head shave is a deeply transformative ritual that begins the process of loving, honoring and healing the body throughout the  experience of Cancer Treatment. It also just makes it easier to emotionally deal with quick hair-loss to just remove the hair first and move on.

DIY Head Shave 

I am in favor of the DIY head shave, because it is a little more personal when you do it yourself, and it is nearly impossible to mess up. All you need is a whim, some music, a dry head of hair, a 3 way mirror, clippers and a #3 guard.

You can also ask a friend to be on hand to clean you up around the edges as-needed.

Before you start shaving, think about what you are letting go of by removing your hair. Give yourself a big hug for making the conscious choice to let go and move on. Get ready to greet yourself with love and celebration on the other side. 

Start buzzing.

Our next several blog posts will document women in times of transformation, shaving their heads and celebrating with color.

xo, HTHG

 

 

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