Posted by Dalilah,
You wake up in the morning, take one look in the mirror and think to yourself. I should probably sort my hair out today... and then you don't. When you're feeling low, simple tasks become rocket science. You ask yourself how you ever found the energy to remove the kettle from it's charging point, fill it with water and then proceed to wash a cup in order to make tea. If making a hot drink takes 45 minutes of mental preparation its no wonder one of the first things we neglect during depression is our hair.
I think the longest I've gone without combing my hair is six weeks. I woke up one day and decided I didn't care that my hair looked like a suspicious carpet, I'd just hide it under a scarf and noone will be any wiser. But just knowing what my hair was like underneath my scarf put a downer on my day, i felt like a fraud. Below are some steps you can take to take care of your natural hair when you're feeling particularly disanimated and demotivated.
1. Use cool/cold water to wash your hair
Even though you feel low on energy you're probably still well enough to shower or have a bath. You should take advantage of this moment to pour water through your hair. Don't bother with shampoo, shampoo requires massaging and possibly tangling your hair in the process, which means that you then have to detangle before mosturising. When you're feeling demotivated the last thing you want to do is spend an hour detangling and moisturising your hair, so just rinse it with water. I'd suggest decreasing the temperature so that the water is cool and verging on cold. Be sure to start with a temperature you're happy with and decrease it for short bursts of time so that you don't startle yourself!
Hot water tends to dry out your hair, cool water on the hair can make hair appear shinier, healthier and stronger by flattening hair cuticles. Cold water on the hair and skin has actually been shown to have an analgesic effect without appearing to have any sideffects or causing dependence. A 2008 study revealed that cold hydrotherapy including one to two cold showers of 38 degrees farenheit, two to three minutes long, followed by a five minute gradual adaptation produced an antidepressive effect. This is due to the intense impact of cold receptors in the skin, which send an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from the peripheral nerve endings to the brain.
2. Use a spritz to seal in moisture
Just like washing the hair with shampoo takes an amount of time that you can't be bothered to invest, spending time parting and greasing your scalp with pomade is also too much to think about so we let our hair become dry and therefore prone to breakage. This is where you want to take advantage of a spritz, two parts water, one part oil. Literally shake it and spray onto damp hair several times a day to keep your hair in OK condition. This will mean that when you are ready to invest time in combing and styling your hair it won't have gotten so dry and brittle that the thought of taking razor to your scalp becomes a temptation. I promise you, it will get better, so please be patient with yourself and your crown of glory.
3. Wear your hair in a protective style
Depression can cause hormonal imbalace and trigger hair loss. To mimimize the impact hair loss can have the less you attempt to style your hair the better. Try keeping your hair in one symple style for as long as possible before finger detangling and re-styling into the next simple style. I kept my hair in a ponytail for a very very long time once. Literally washed it and tied it up, then put myheadscarf ontop of that. My cotton puff of hair at the back would get tangled so to minimize this I'd plat the ends into one braid and tuck it in. Below are pictures of styles you could try that are very low maintenance and will give you the time to think about other things like encorporating regular positive affirmation rituals into your daily routine.
These tips are from my own experiences and are not a long-term fix for those suffering with depression. These are to help you in the short term so that you can concentrate on feeling better without having to feel crappy about your hair ontop of other things.
Have you got any tips for dealing with your hair during testing times? Please share your experiences below.
Happy Hair Hugging! x