Cosmetologists working at salons and spas are incredibly talented and knowledgeable, meeting clients’ unique goals every day. But it’s important to note, the incredible skills they possess don’t appear overnight – it takes a great deal of training and practice to become one of these professionals.
Cosmetology schools equip these professionals with the many skills required to find a fulfilling job in the field. The program takes several months, and students will learn techniques like hair coloring, manicures, and makeup. For example, at Genesis’ Career College, a Cosmetology school in Tennessee, the cosmetology program is an intensive 50 weeks with plenty of hands-on training and focus on hair cutting and styling, color and texture, permanent waving, manicures and pedicures, style trends, and makeup application. This course load can be challenging to balance if you don’t make it a priority.
As a cosmetology student, you need to balance school and life because when you’re personal needs are met, you will perform better in school. However, finding the balance isn’t always easy, which is why we’ve compiled this list of ways you can balance cosmetology school and life.
Take regular breaks
You are likely very passionate about the subject and may become wrapped up in practicing your new skills. Though it is critical you study and practice, you must also take breaks. Research has shown that taking short breaks helps you learn new skills. One study found that the brain replays compressed memories of what you just practiced during these rest periods. The researchers concluded that their results “support the idea that wakeful rest plays just as important a role as practice in learning a new skill.”
If you can, take your break outside or step away from where you are working. This will help you recharge, and the fresh air can boost energy and mental clarity. Experts recommend taking a break every 90 minutes to improve focus, retention, and attention. These breaks should be between 5 and 60 minutes, allowing your mind and body to rest.
Make healthy meals
Your health must be a priority because if your body gets sick or rundown, you risk missing classes and time studying. A balanced diet is important for a balanced life. Meal prep healthy lunches in advance to save you time in the morning and mental effort each day. Bring snacks and lots of water to last you the day so you can get your energy from nutrients rather than sugar.
Try to avoid sugary and caffeinated beverages when you can. Though they can feel helpful when spending long hours studying, they can negatively affect your sleep and leave you more tired the next day.
Stick to a schedule
An established routine can reduce stress and make you more productive in the day. Start by setting your alarm to the same time every day. Your body will adapt to this time, and it will make it much easier to get up in the morning – so long as you go to sleep at the right time! You must also go to sleep at the same time, aiming to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
Next, use an agenda or online calendar to schedule your week and month. Enter your classes, work schedule and designate study times each day. When the time to study and practice is scheduled, you will find more free time to spend with family and friends. Then, each day, you can map out your study schedule in greater detail, including study breaks and meals.
Cosmetology can be a physically demanding job. If cutting and styling hair, you may be on your feet all day. If you are giving manicures and pedicures, you may be hunched over, putting strain on your back. Due to the physical nature of the program and career, it is crucial to stay in shape.
Regular exercise will improve your physical and mental well-being. Try to find an exercise you enjoy doing, like yoga, hiking, or lifting weights. Moving your body in different ways will help build strength and prevent future injuries.
Focusing on perfection can cause unnecessary stress that will negatively impact your performance and experience. With unrealistically high goals and striving for perfection, you limit your learning. A perfectionist attitude in school can reduce confidence and motivation, and cause anxiety, depression, procrastination, and relationship problems.
Instead, remind yourself that you are learning, and each mistake or less-than-perfect outcome is a learning opportunity that will make you a better cosmetologist. Focus on being a high achiever rather than perfect by enjoying the process, not just the outcome. You should be mindful of your standards for yourself and try to be more positive about constructive feedback.
Connect with friends and family
If you are in school full-time and working, it can be challenging to maintain a social life. Though your schedule may not allow for the socializing it once did, it is important to keep these connections. Try to find time to connect with your support system, whether that be with a quick mid-day coffee or an evening phone call.
The quality of your relationships impacts your school-life balance. For example, when your studies become a priority and stress builds, you may no longer feel the support system you once had. When maintained, your relationships can help you manage stress and improve your mood, so try to integrate the two into your schedule.
With a full schedule and making time for your own physical and mental health, you may not have time for additional commitments. This is an excellent opportunity to get comfortable saying “no.” If you don’t have time for extra responsibilities, it is okay to say no. Your cosmetology program requires just 50 weeks of your attention and effort, and if you are overextended, you may not give it your all.
When you need to decline an invite, overtime at work, or help a friend move, communicate how you are feeling and why you can’t commit at this time. Through open communication and establishing your boundaries, you will have more time to balance school and life.
Lastly, have fun! Cosmetology is an exciting field with lots to learn and an opportunity to meet like-minded people who share your passion. Make the most of each day while prioritizing balance, and you will succeed.