Wellness Practices for Small Spas

How solo estheticians can embrace wellness in their practice

Wellness has become one of the biggest trends in the Spa industry. According to the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), “Personal Care, Beauty, and Anti-Aging generated $1.083 billion globally”. The International Spa Association (ISPA) reported over 22k spas in the US, the demand for Wellness skincare services continues to increase. With clients traveling to seek alternative Wellness services is the definition of Wellness Tourism, which was a $639 billion market in 2017, and projected to reach $919 billion by 2022 (GWI).

The Wellness skin care options have expanded beyond the traditional facial to include the incorporation of lifestyle consultations, replacing the standard intake forms. It is not uncommon to have gem and chakra stones and holistic therapy services such as lymphatic drainage and reiki in facial services. Relaxing breathing techniques as well as visualization practices are also being fused into sessions. In a goal to touch all of the senses, sound therapy is also being offered. The standard spa music has been replaced with guided meditation, as well as binary beats to evoke a sense of wellness during sessions according to esthetician and consultant Toshiana Baker, of SpaWorx.

What can be done to combat the effects of burnout?

The focus on Wellness has extended now to those providing services under the concept of Workplace Wellness. GWI states “Workplace wellness was a $48 billion market in 2017, projected to grow to $66 billion in 2022.” The concept of Workplace Wellness has been put into practice at major spa brands. It is a little different for the solo esthetician, who wear the hat of owner, Director of Marketing, HR, and Sales as well as service providers all while attempting to stay current on new trends and menu offerings. It is exhausting, to say the least, and to add workplace wellness to the list can be overwhelming. Be that as it may, self-care is an essential cornerstone of Wellness and key to longevity in the industry. The lack of wellness practices can lead to a rising phenomenon called burnout. Burnout is defined as the chronic exhaustion caused by long-term workplace stress that has not been managed successfully.

Burnout is common in the workplace with hospitality employees more susceptible, 1 in 7 employees will experience a stress-related illness, with many leaving the profession entirely, which is higher than any other industries according to a recent Hospitality Tech article. How does burnout manifest? The symptoms of burnout include feelings of depleted energy or exhaustion. As well as the increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativity related to working life and reduced professional effectiveness.
The physical symptoms of burnout include trouble sleeping, headaches, and raised blood pressure. Burnout can also affect ones emotional state, causing anxiety and depression, which in turn can create behavioral issues. The Harvard Business School estimates that stress-related burnout may impose a healthcare cost of $125 to $190 billion a year in the U.S. alone. Burnout is now officially recognized by WHO. The WHO announced that burnout is included in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). Though WHO doesn’t consider burnout a medical condition or illness, it is a “factor influencing health status or contact with health services.” According to a 2017 survey from the non-profit American Institute of Stress, work is the third most common cause of stress for Americans. The CDC reports that on average, Americans spend 8% more time working than they did 20 years ago, for an average of 47 hours per week. Additionally, 40% of workers say that their job is high stress, according to the CDC, and 26% feel “burned out” by their job.

With burnout becoming almost an epidemic especially among those in the hospitality industry, including service providers. What can be done to combat the effects of burnout? Research has shown taking breaks, napping, healthy eating as well as exercise can keep the toxic effects of burnout away. All of which are included in the concepts of Wellness and Mindfulness, which are the most powerful tools to reduce and even avoid burnout. Wellness defined by the World Health Organization is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. It goes beyond mere freedom from disease or infirmity and emphasizes the proactive maintenance and improvement of health and well-being. While mindfulness a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.

In seeking to go beyond theory, I sought the advice of three solo estheticians to get their first-hand accounts of how they each ward off burnout with Wellness and Mindfulness practices. Amanda G. Hughes-Munson, of Skintelligence in Dallas, Texas noted taking breaks between each session to recharge and refocus to ensure consistency in services. Amanda also drinks plenty of water (2 – 3 liters daily) and has a healthy snack drawer to avoid not eating as well as sweet, processed treats. She includes yoga and exercise on a regular basis to maintain her energy and to ensure a restful night’s sleep. Amanda also focuses on gratitude at the start of each session to keep herself grounded and a in wellness and mindful mindset.

Toshiana Baker, a solo esthetician and consultant (SpaWorx.biz) schedules regular facials and massages as a part of her Wellness regimen to reconnect and to stay current on new trends. Tosh has also focused on creating a community of skin care professionals to provide support, encouragement, as well as knowledge, including best practices for longevity and self-care.

Ella Cressman, of Ella Cress (ellacress.com), mentioned that as an entrepreneur understanding and maximizing the ebbs and flow of the industry is essential. September and January are notoriously slow, as can be Monday and Tuesday in locations. Instead of focusing on the clients not coming through the door,

Ells suggest taking the time for self-care. In changing one’s thought process, that every moment has to be filled and instead of enjoying the lull and taking the time to breathe, get a service, or just sitting down can be deeply beneficial. Ella also practices self-care in her ability to delegate, with a part-time receptionist to handle scheduling appointments as well as social media posts. It is an investment that pays three-fold in the peace of mind to know the tasks are getting done and there is time for more self-care.

Ella also notes, 12-hour days, 7 days a week don’t lead to success but instead burnout. She suggests picking one day to start late and another day to end early. Plus scheduling a personal day to run errands, complete to-do list, and just be creative as an entrepreneur. All of which lead to being able to refill your vessel and better serve your clients.

Our role of service providers has transitioned over the past two decades from day makers to life enhancers. Solo estheticians will be unable to sustain longevity in the industry unless they start to take the time to disconnect and recharge.