In today’s modern society, it’s no secret we have become accustomed to living fast-paced lives, often juggling work / life / family all at once, and let’s be honest… it can be quite overwhelming for our brains to keep up with this constant momentum.
Stress and anxiety can often make us feel isolated and very separated from one another. Although, If we look at things from a different perspective these feelings of worry actually connect us as humans, animals, and a living part of this ever changing and evolving planet. A place that we all call home.
What is Stress?
Stress is our bodies natural response to feeling threatened. When we’re under threat, our nervous system reacts by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones prepare our bodies for fight or flight. Issues with stress arise because our bodies aren’t very good at distinguishing between what naturally feels like a battle with a tiger and perhaps; a work deadline, a relationship worry or societal pressures that we are challenged with daily.
When stress is bubbling under the surface, our bodies can show us externally that our stress levels are too high. Our hair is one important facet that is very good at showing us when we need to take some time to rest and relax.
How do you know if stress is affecting your hair?
Hair loss is the biggest sign that stress may be affecting your locks. In a normal daily cycle of hair regeneration, the average person can lose up to 50 – 100 strands of hair a day. That sounds like a lot, I know! But this natural cycle is very normal. There are thousands of hairs on our heads and every single one of them is at a different stage of its lifespan. Hair grows and dies in phases and stress, nutrition, hair care routines and daily styling can all affect how much hair you lose in day.
Have you ever gotten to wash day and found so much hair in the drain or wrapped around your fingers? This is due to a build up of the regular amount of hair lost daily. If you wear your hair up, or don’t brush through it every day, those strands are just hanging out – literally! Until you wash your hair and can see them all bundled together. If you have longer hair, these strands can also look a lot more noticeable.
A small amount of hair loss is healthy for you! Although, if you are finding clumps of more than 150 strands a day falling out or balding patches throughout the scalp, this could be a more serious condition directly related to stress.
What is Telogen Effluvium?
Over long periods of time, constant stress can take its toll in many ways, including a form of hair loss called Telogen Effluvium. This condition can occur after being exposed to extremely high levels of stress for a long period of time. These stress levels cause the hair follicles to leave the growing phase of the hair cycle and enter a resting phase. Therefore, allowing hair loss with no regeneration of new hair follicles.
This condition is separate from scalp conditions such as Alopecia and Male Patterned Balding. With any hair loss concerns, we recommend to always refer to a GP and Dermatologist for diagnosis and advice.
Telogen Effluvium is a reversable condition that is treated with gentle care of the hair and scalp, as well as gentle self-care and mindful practices to help lower high levels of cortisol and adrenaline.
How can I lower my stress levels?
With our schedules being so busy and time just feeling as if its flying by, how do we find the space to de stress? Well, there are many practices we can implement into our daily activities to take a breather and a bit of time out for ourselves.
Here are 10 top tips to help enhance time for you, take back control of your stress levels and allow your locks to shine bright with you.
- Nourishing Fuel & Hydration
Take time to nourish your body with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats. Our bodies are hard working machines who need the right fuel to help operate to the best of their ability!
Nourishing foods look different for everyone, so eat for you and take note of what foods make you as an individual feel your best.
Ensuring to drink plenty of water is also very vital in making sure our bodies are functioning well. 2-2.5 Litres of filtered water per day, is what is recommended to keep up adequate hydration. This is also something that feels different for everyone, so we recommend listening to your body and making adjustments day by day.
- Move Your Body
Moving our bodies for 30 minutes a day is a great way to de-stress and take some time for ourselves. This is a practice that has a wide variety of options and will look different for every individual. Walking, yoga, a gym workout, HIT training, a slow stretch, a bike ride, dancing in your bedroom, a kayak, a swim in the ocean .. the list goes on!
- Changing Your Environment
There are many reasons we experience stress in our day to day lives, but assessing where that stress is coming from is essential to help make changes to those climbing cortisol levels. Our environments should be challenging, but they shouldn’t be punishing. Ensure to assess the company you surround yourself with, the places in which you spend your most time and set adequate boundaries where needed.
Change is scary, but change is where we grow outside of our comfort zones!
- Spend Time With People Who Fill Up Your Cup
Notice who makes you smile, laugh, and feel loved. Keep these people around! They are good for your mental health and are helping create good feelings internally, rather than worrying ones.
Sleep is essential to helping decrease cortisol levels and restore balance to the body’s systems. Our bodies also need adequate rest to function to the best of our abilities. Setting up a healthy night time routine is really beneficial for allowing yourself proper time to wind down after a big day. Using soft lights such as lamps or candles, popping your diffuser on with some organic lavender oil and reading are all helpful ways to soften the mind at night.
- Un Plug
Another great tip that will also assist your sleep routine, is taking some time away from your screen. This practice can also be applied any time of the day and is very good for allowing some time for yourself without distractions. As we said, life can be very overwhelming and although having information and communication so accessible to us is great. We do need a break from the social world, in order to re connect to ourselves.
Writing down your thought and feelings is a beautiful way to see visually what’s going on in the mind. This can help clarify thoughts and help piece together what is causing your stress.
Your journal can be a pretty cool friend that you can debrief with about your week, or your month!
Meditation is a practice that again has no rules and will look different for everyone. Take away any self-judgement and just feel into what form of meditation feels good for you. Meditation can be done while sitting or lying down with the eyes closed. It can be done while watching the ocean, the trees, or the sky. You can be walking or swimming. There are no rules. It’s simply a moment you take to listen in to your internal monologue and thoughts.
9. Spend Time in Nature
As mentioned, we are all connected to this beautiful planet we call home. Take time to enjoy it, watch the trees, listen to the birds, soak up the sun. Nature helps you clear your mind from the hustle and bustle of life and there is a lot that can be learnt from the great outdoors.
10. Self Love
Lastly, but importantly not least – self love. Give yourself compassion, understanding, softness and care. You are beautifully unique and special as the individual you are. You matter, and its important to take the time to love yourself. Take yourself on a date, do a hobby you love to do, speak loving affirmations to yourself or simply give yourself a hug. This practice will be different for everyone, but it’s essential to help build some strong foundations to help manage stressful moments that come our way.
At EBC we support and uplift one another through times that may feel stressful. If you, or anyone you know is feeling overwhelmed, please remember the strength of having a good support system around. You are never alone, and you are powerful. Ensure to take some time for yourself today!