By: Michele Koury, Ed.M, MA, MFA
Christine Doan of Gloss House is a Southern California-based nail artist with a background in nuclear engineering and a personal incentive to advocate for mental health. I’ve partnered with her in the past amid my mission to bring conversations about emotional wellness to a larger audience, and it’s always a pleasure. This time, we got specifically into the topic of Holiday Blues.
The holidays — meant, in theory, to inspire togetherness and cheer — can be turn out to be trying time for many people. For a fairly recent NAMI survey, 64% of people who struggle with their mental health reported “feeling even worse” during the holidays. I was curious about Christine’s experiences, and what approaches she’s found to be personally helpful.
Do you have any must-do Holiday traditions?
I grew up in a household that didn’t celebrate the holidays so as I grew up I made my own traditions with friends and people that I have come to call family. Over the years, my favorite tradition I’ve created for myself is going to New York City of the colder months for at least a week each time. I meet my friends that live there or I roam new parts of the city I’ve never been to before. Each time I come back, I learn more about myself and I also feel so much more creative. It’s a good reset for me during the most hectic time of the year.
The Holidays are meant to be times of festivity and togetherness, but sometimes can be stressful too. What have you found to be the most challenging during the holiday season?
During the holiday season, I find that comparison becomes the thief of joy. Because consumer shopping and capitalism is so heavily pushed, you may find yourself in situations where you catch yourself feeling like you need to spend or do as much as the person next to you. In the past, I was not as financially stable and it was one of the hardest times for me — there were so many things that I wanted to buy for myself or my friends but realized that I can’t. Now that I find myself in a more financially secure environment I seek the experiences that I created with the lack of money that I had in my past. Joy is what you create and make from each experience; now when I’m with friends we will try and do activities like skating, tennis or hikes (things that don’t cost money) because it sets an even ground for all of us.
How do you personally like to practice self-care during the holidays?
It’s usually the busiest time of the year for most people, but it is the time where I rest the most as well. It’s the easiest time of the year for me to burn out and over work my limits and boundaries. So during this time of the year, if I say yes to all the daytime naps I need.
How has doing nail art impacted your relationship with mindfulness?
I started doing nail art as a form of meditation after therapy, I was going to outpatient therapy 12-14 hours a week and I needed time to process all the work I was doing in session. I grew up in my parents’ nail salons so painting my nails was always something fun to do. As I took on clients for work, it allowed me to gain perspective from different viewpoints I would’ve never had. It was insightful to learn how to listen to people, communicate with them in the way they need, speak to them in the diction and tone that they require. I learned a lot about myself and others through doing nails, it’s still one of my favorite things to do even though I don’t take on incoming clients. I will have my friends over to catch up on our lives and try out new products.
Fun Bonus Question:
As a nail artist, have you noticed any patterns in how people like to present their nails during the winter holidays?
During the holidays, I see that people are more willing to try trends, colors or patterns that they normally wouldn’t go for throughout the rest of the year. This year, reflective nail polish is making big waves since in normal lighting it looks like a really fine glitter but in low light situations, a small phone light reflects the glitter particles and it looks like glowing lava. My favorite have been all of the candy cane themed nails that I’ve been seeing so many great artists create! @heygreatnails @vwnails have made some the most gorgeous holiday nails without the theme being over-played!
Follow Christine @glosshouse