By Dee Moore
My battle with mental health started long before my lashing career.
Lashing made it better as I was doing something I loved, and the pure concentration day in day out meant there was no time to think about the voices in my head.
The problems really began when I gained a level of confidence and expertise that lashing would come naturally so I didn’t need to focus so much anymore.
This was 4 years ago; I was working from my home salon and lashing had really taken off at this point. Working alone comes with so many challenges, you have no one to bounce ideas off and I built up this stigma that if I asked another lash artist for help, I would seem stupid. This was the last thing I wanted, my peers talking negatively about me.
So that was that. I would sit alone day in day out, sometimes for 14 hours a day and just think. I started to create this sense of comparison and belief that my lashes weren’t as good as the ones I endlessly saw on Instagram or Facebook.
Then the day came. As it is bound to in business, I received one negative and “mean” review. This client was unhappy with their lashes and complained. I wasn’t prepared to deal with that, no one taught me how. My depression and anxiety spiraled.
They battled in my head continued. To top it all off, I started to notice a local girl copying all my Facebook ads word for word. Which lead to her stealing my clients. One of my posts had received 600 comments and she went out of her way to message every person privately. Telling them that her lashes were better and cheaper.
This was the last straw.
I felt so alone, and it broke me.
Behind my lash mask, I would sob trying to wipe away my tears before they fell on the client.
I felt trapped so I would hide in my bedroom as client after client knocked on my door, called me and messaged me. I just had to ignore them all as I just wanted it to stop.
I had isolated myself, and in my head, I was such a huge failure and I had no one to turn to.
I eventually reached out to a business girlfriend, not in lashing but in business, and I told her everything. She was a godsend and helped me devise a game plan:
- Delete every lash business of my Insta
- Immediately unfollow any local lash artists in my city-if you don’t see it you won’t care!
- Cut back my hours to max 8(no more 14hr shifts)
- Hire an employee
- Move the business-rent a room somewhere out of my home space.
There was no surprise that I had experienced a high level of burn out and a mental breakdown.
I have had a few more since this time but I am so very passionate to make sure my fellow lash artists never feel alone. I will always be here, even when it feels like you have no one.
I have learnt so much over the years. Here are my top MUST dos for all lash artists to take care of their mental health:
- Practice gratitude-buy a gratitude diary if it will help and write at least 5 things every day that you are grateful for.
- Start how you mean to go on and set your boundaries – booking fees, cancellation policies, be strict with your clients i.e. no bookings on Sunday’s or after 8 pm
- Find yourself a lash buddy! Someone you can honestly talk to about all the craziness that comes with being a lash artist, if you can’t find one, I will happily be your buddy!
- Create a complaints procedure right NOW. As there is no point in doing it when your emotional and crying because someone left you your first 1-star review
- And lastly, never EVER tear anyone down, only lift one another up.
I feel so much more positive now compared to four years ago. I still have my moments and I still need to be mindful about my mental health, but I believe in myself so much more, and knowI am a KILLER boss. And for the days when I’m not feeling all that great, I have a plan, a team and a strong support network. So even when it’s dark, I can see the light.