My Body's Natural Stress Response Only Makes Me More Anxious

My Body's Natural Stress Response Only Makes Me More Anxious

It is truly hard to lose your hair when the media tells you that women with thick hair are the beautiful ones. Women with thin or balding hair are often hidden from the media.

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Stress...it might be the only constant in our lives. And how we deal with it can change, but how your body deals with it, is often out of conscious control.

I have an anxiety disorder. This means that tasks that most people do not find stressful or anxiety-inducing can and do make me anxious. I get anxious over buying groceries or taking a shower. I obsess over what time to go bed at night and in what order I should do my chores in.

My anxiety is pretty bad and I am working on it. But my body has a natural response to chronic stress: it makes my hair fall out. I don't mean I pull my hair out; that is a conscious response to chronic stress although it is equally as important.

I notice that my hair falls out when it feels more brittle, won't get as soft in the shower, and clogs up my brush more quickly.

My hair began falling out when I had my eating disorder at the age of 13. At the time, we (as in my family, doctors, and myself) all thought my hair was falling out due to a lack of nutrition, which was probably partly true. I thought once I recovered from the eating disorder, my hair would gain back thickness and stop falling out; this didn't happen.

My hair is thin. It wasn't when I was little but after puberty, it became thin. But it does get thicker and thinner depending on the level of stress I am under.

It is truly hard to lose your hair when the media tells you that women with thick hair are the beautiful ones. Women with thin or balding hair are often hidden from the media. Hair care commercials show hair thicker than humanly possible and talk about how to get your hair that thick. Hair loss commercials talk about how you can regrow your hair. Having the hair you currently have is never acceptable.

I have often been embarrassed about my hair. It is hard to do certain hairstyles with my hair because I don't have enough of it. I would love to dye my hair a crazy color, but I can't risk the bleaching process.

It is time for the media to stop making people with thin, balding, or no hair feel as though they are less or not beautiful. Hair does not define beauty.

I have decided to take a stand against my negative self-talk towards my hair and towards myself. I have spent a great deal of money on hair thickening serums and special hair care products and all that accomplishes is to make me stressed about how much money I am spending.

I am working to have a positive outlook on my hair. While some days I just want to shave my head, and that might be a super cool fashion statement, I cannot let my stress win.

So I like to look at the little victories. A little victory for me is that I know my hair falls out when I am stressed; therefore, I can recognize when life is becoming overwhelming and I need to take a step back.

For all of my readers with thinning, balding, or no hair... you're beautiful! You're perfect. And you do NOT need to spend money purchasing hair care products that are not even proven to work. Just flaunt your differences because they make you, you. And I will try to do so, too.

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100 Ways To Practice Self-Care In Your Everyday Life, In 20 Minutes Or Less

Simple ways to start taking care of yourself.

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Life is overwhelming and distracting so it's easy to forget about yourself sometimes, but practicing small self-care acts is easy. Making time for yourself every day isn't selfish and is really good for your mental health. I think it's important for everyone to spend time doing things that make them happy and more calm, even if you only dedicate 20 minutes each day. Putting yourself first can lead to growth so many other aspects of your life.

Obviously, each person is allowed to practice self-care in their own unique way, but here are some ideas to get you started!

1. Do something new. 

2. Make a list of things you need to get done that week. 

3. Drink some hot tea. 

4. Go for a walk on a scenic trail.

5. Paint your nails.

6. Have a good laugh.

7. Buy yourself flowers.

8. Light a candle.

9. Do some tidying up.

10. Don't feel bad for saying 'no.'

11. Listen to music.

12. Slow down.

13. Drink a smoothie.

14. Run mindless errands.

15. Write down your goals for the week.

16. Talk to someone about the future.

17. Wake up early and get coffee. 

18. Take care of a plant. 

19. Take a bubble bath. 

20. Give yourself a compliment.

21. Give a stranger a compliment.

22. Watch a movie.

23. Put your phone down.

24. Declutter your personal space.

25. Go to bed early. 

26. Pray or meditate. 

27. Go for a drive. 

28. Make it a habit to stargaze. 

29. Read a book. 

30. Read poems. 

31. Sing loudly. 

32. Make a list of things you're grateful for. 

33. Drink a lot of water. 

34. Put on make-up for no reason.

35. Watch funny videos. 

36. Take a deep breath. 

37. Distance yourself from negativity. 

38. Unfollow people you don't care to follow on social media. 

39. Have a pajama day. 

40. Read an inspirational book. 

41. Call your parents/ loved ones. 

42. Donate old clothing. 

43. Dedicate a day out of the week to not eating meat. 

44. Do a fun craft or DIY project. 

45. Put on a face mask and relax. 

46. Do a small workout. 

47. Take a power nap. 

48. Listen to a podcast. 

49. Open a window. 

50. Open your curtains in the morning to let in natural light. 

51. Make your bed. 

52. Cook dinner instead of eating out. 

53. Play/ cuddle with an animal. 

54. At the end of the day, think of all the positive things that happened.

55. Moisturize. 

56. Buy a comforting blanket. 

57. Give someone a hug. 

58. Create a vision board. 

59. Have some alone time.

60. Enjoy the sun on your skin. 

61. Dance like nobody is watching.

62. Walk in the rain every once in a while. 

63. Drive with the windows down. 

64. Give someone a gift for no reason. 

65. Get a massage. 

66. Do something that gets your adrenaline running. 

67. Spend the day at the library or a book store. 

68. Organize your work space/ binders. 

69. Spend a weekend in. 

70. Recognize hard work and reward yourself. 

71. Sign up for a work out class. 

72. Eat lunch with a friend. 

73. Spend the day helping others. 

74. Get your hair done. 

75. Have a good cry. 

76. Use sticky notes. 

77. Color code your planner. 

78. Print out pictures and hang them up. 

79. Hang motivational quotes on your mirror and read them when you get ready. 

80. Do random acts of kindness. 

81. Buy fuzzy socks. 

82. Redecorate or rearrange furniture. 

83. Be present. 

84. Set a new years resolution. 

85. Make a bucket list. 

86. Stretch in the morning. 

87. Watch an interesting documentary. 

88. Make a music playlist.

89. Watch the sunrise or sunset. 

90. Explore somewhere new.

91. Be slow to respond to negativity. 

92. Have a game night with friends. 

93. Buy concert tickets. 

94. Have a nightly routine before bed. 

95. Eat your favorite dessert. 

96. Do something you've been putting off. 

97. Invest in essential oils. 

98. Manage your finances. 

99. Buy a new outfit. 

100. Make your own gratitude list. 

Try at least one of these every week and see how you feel! I guarantee you will notice a difference in the way you are living your life.

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Managing Anxiety In College

It's harder than we think.

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We've officially hit the point in the semester where everyone feels like they are hanging on by a thread. Finals are coming up way too soon, and not everyone knows whether or not they'll make it through their classes. Most of us are forgetting how to breathe under the pressure. Seeing as it's my first semester in college, I never realized the toll this can take if you forget to take care of yourself.

Grades are only a tiny portion of the craziness we see in college, but at times, they seem to be the primary source of our stress. Personally, I have a few of my own signs of stress and anxiety to look out for. Sometimes, I might forget to eat. I'll struggle to feel like I'm getting enough sleep, and I'll feel like I'm starting to get sick. These things may seem minuscule at a first glance, but over time, they can cause your body to deteriorate.

As the year and semester come to a close, I encourage all my fellow college students to schedule time out of each day to breathe. In a few week's time, many of us on campus now will be back home, sleeping in way comfier beds, eating legitimate food, and possibly celebrating holidays with our families. No matter what your plans for the break may be, use the New Year as an opportunity to grant yourself another fresh start.

Remember, the late night cramming sessions are only going to be a small portion of the college experience we remember years from now. Before we know it, we'll all have left college and found our own paths in life, and some of us might even be sending off our own kids to a University of their choosing.

By then, we'll forget the anxieties surrounding individual classes ever carried the weight of the world.

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