Tackling Stress: How To Get Your (Hair’s) Bounce Back
By Writing Jackie
Feeling panicked at the amount of hair on your hairbrush or nestled in the plughole? You’re not alone. Hair loss can be a direct consequence of stress caused by physical or emotional abuse, often showing a few months after the trauma. There are, of course, many different causes of stress, but they can all cause harm in various ways. From alopecia and hair-tugging to dullness and premature greying, stress can have a dramatic impact on hair health, and subsequently on confidence and self esteem. The importance of the latter in recovering from abuse cannot be understated; healing and restoring your confidence is a key step in moving forward with your life.
While it is rare to see stress having the direct result of alopecia or anxious pulling at hair from the scalp, there are many other consequences. Stress – coupled with the physical or emotional effects of abuse – can lead to poor sleep, which your body desperately needs for rebuilding and repair. It can also affect your immune system and mindset, leaving you feeling lethargic or overwhelmed. Your hair is one of the first places this exhaustion will show, as it loses shine and vitality. Fortunately there are ways to tackle this and help you start to feel like yourself again.
Boost your diet
The first thing to consider is your diet. Food that nourishes your body should also lift your mood and help you feel more positive. A healthy diet is about balance; try to include a range of food groups and vitamins and minerals that promote hair repair. Eating a variety should also make for a colorful, vibrant plate, which is a great way to improve your mindset. It isn’t always necessary to rely on expensive vitamin supplements; in fact, research by Harvard has shown that it can be more beneficial to achieve your daily intake from your diet rather than supplements alone. For fruit and vegetables, try to buy what’s in season; it should be cheaper and fresher. You could also ‘pad out’ meals with lentils or pulses such as chickpeas. These will make you feel fuller for longer, and are rich in iron which is important for hair health.
Try and make time for exercise, at whatever pace suits you. Exercise prompts your body to produce feel-good hormones, and as this report by CNN shows, enhances the body’s ability to respond to stress. If you can take your workout outside, there are even greater benefits; sunshine will top up your vitamin D levels, which your body needs for healthy hair, skin and nails. If the gym seems too expensive or too daunting, just pull on some trainers and get moving at a pace that suits you. For added support and motivation, you might find it easier to go with a friend or join a local group. The mutual encouragement and sense of belonging is another great mood booster and opportunity to reduce stress as you talk over your day, or simply clear your mind and enjoy a blast of (emotional and literal) fresh air.
Catch some zzzzz’s
Sleepless nights are commonly associated with stress and anxiety, but hopefully, if you’re eating well and moving more, you will find that you feel more naturally tired by the end of the day. A herbal tea or cocoa might also help you to unwind. Focusing on one positive element of the day as you close your eyes can help you to feel stronger and happier; some people enjoy meditating or repeating affirmations to do this.
It’s an unwelcome fact of nature that stress can take its toll on hair, but fortunately there are practical, achievable ways to help it recover. Many of the things you can do for great hair are also great for your body and mental health too, so it won’t just be your hair that bounces back. Take care of yourself and your shine will return.