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Change Your Hair, Change Your Life

I feel like I’ve been a broken record saying it’s been a shitty year, but you guys it really has been! A car accident (Joelle vs. Truck), death of a grandparent, death of my beloved dog (and his sad decline), career rejection and subsequent existential crisis about it, a miscarriage, health issues, and this doesn’t even include the stress of our world being on fire, raising a toddler, and just getting through life.

My therapist has been warning me for weeks that I might be on my way to nervous breakdown territory, but I refused to listen… or stop. And last week, I got as close to falling apart as I ever have. After weeks of almost daily panic attacks and anxiety, my body and mind just gave up. Fortunately I got a lot of support from the people who were privy to what was going on. I needed a break. I needed a change.

…So I chopped off my hair.

Now, I’m not saying all my problems went away after my fabulous haircut, but my mood has most certainly improved since then. The physical shedding of over six inches of a thick, wavy mane felt amazing. And the emotional shedding was exactly what I needed to snap out of my mood. I can’t be sure about the scientific evidence of a good haircut being a cure for depression, but it certainly helps to have people constantly telling you how much they like your new look. “Great haircut!” is a welcome salve to “Are you okay?” and a cheery “thank you” response is much better than a constant stream of negativity.

In times of stress, I’ve often looked to my hair as a way to shake me out of my bad mood. It makes sense— our hair is such a window into our own sense of style and self-esteem. It also reflects the mood of each era and is constantly evolving, much like we are. After I got married, I finally felt brave enough to dye my hair blonde. To me, it represented this new identity I found myself in. When we went through the tragedy of my first pregnancy, I put pink streaks in my hair as an homage to the baby girl we lost. And with this particular haircut: shedding those six inches also meant shedding the baggage that’s been weighing me down for the past year.

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