I stopped by Starbucks this morning to treat myself to a grande, sugar-free vanilla, soy latte to help remedy my previous day from hell. After all, a cup full of sugar-free-caffeinated-soy-goodness helps the medicine go down … Anyway, there was this woman, clearly a regular customer at this particular location, who seemed so relaxed and happy. She was a very trendy cool kat taking care of business on her iPhone, sitting and enjoying her croissant and chatting with the baristas. She seemed so …. calm. Content. I want to be her.
Rewind about 14 hours earlier … I was so excited to go and get my hair cut! Woo hoo! Something about getting my hair cut makes me feel like a new and improved woman, and boy was I in need of some renewin’ and improvin’. I’m not the get-your-haircut-every-six-weeks kinda gal. I go more like every three or four months, so it is always a long awaited treat for me. The hairdresser begins her magic combing through my long, thick hair …
“What’s this?!?” She shouts.
“Ummm, what?” I ask, confused.
“That. Right there.” She points to what looks to me like a part she has mad in my hair. “It’s a full on bald spot. What have you been doing to your hair? I have to ask you … how is your stress level?”
“Yes, completely horrible.”
“Well, that’s it then. Your losing your hair because of the stress. But I don’t want you to stress about it. It’s growing back. You have some peach fuzz there.”
“I’ve been here before. A year after my Dad passed away the same thing happened and I didn’t realize it until I went to get my haircut. It’s been a little over a year and a half since I lost my Mom. Here we go again.”
I felt completely defeated! How could I have been unknowingly bottling up that much stress for what clearly had to be a longtime to have the effects it’s having and not even notice it AGAIN? My own body is attacking me. Somethin’ about that just ‘aint right. I picture these mini green monsters hackin’ away at me from the inside, kinda like the creepy mucus guys from the Mucinex commercials.
You know when you take those quizzes or when you sign up for a dating website and they ask what your best feature is? Yeah, so my answer is always … yep, you guessed it, my hair. No, no, no, not MY HAIR!!! Not my only good asset. Why? For the love of God, why? Second to the hair would be the eyes. Don’t tell me stress can make those fall out too!
I have had a lot of stress in my life lately, sure, but doesn’t everybody? Isn’t that what we’re made to do – endure as much stress as possible? I guess I just didn’t realize exactly how much stress I had bottled up inside. You think I would’ve learned my lesson after the whole hair loss due to stress thing happend to me the first time. Duh!
So, today I did a little research on the stress culprit that is attacking my best feature. According to a 2007 survey done by the American Psychological Association nearly a third of U.S. adults feel extreme stress. The online poll asked 1,848 adults to rank sources of stress:
- Work: 74% (check! is there a job that exists that doesn’t cause stress?)
- Money: 73% (money, what’s that? do I have any?)
- Workload: 66% (double check)
- Children: 64% (the fact that I don’t have any yet and am a single, 33 year-old woman who will soon be barren … should I be looking into freezing my eggs?)
- Family responsibilities: 60% (family craziness – yep, check. constant regrets of responsibilities I don’t feel I adequately fulfilled and wish I could go back in time to before my Mama passed away to take care of properly – check. )
- Health concerns: 55% (I’m losing my hair for crying out loud!)
- Health problems affecting spouse, partner, or children: 55% (none of those to worry about – whew! although I do have a cat who has recurrent rodent ulcers and has to constantly go to the vet, which ends up costing me an arm and a leg … would that stressor fall under money or health problems affecting others or both?)
- Health problems affecting parents or other family members: 53% (not currently, but I think the residual affects of watching my Dad fight a plethora of issues including severe asthma and cancer and watching my Mom battle and be consumed by emphysema, fall under this category. so … check for this one too.)
- Housing costs (e.g. rent or mortgage): 51% (CHECK! CHECK! AND CHECK!)
- Intimate relationships: 47% (I repeat … I am a single, 33 year-old woman who will soon be barren …)
The good news in all this is that I am not alone. The bad news is that there seems to be evil, nasty stressors hiding in every nook and cranny of the lives of American adults. So, what do I do? What do WE do? Because there is a one in three chance that if you’re reading this you are right there with me!
Basically what I found is that we need to stop stressing. Ummmm, yea … heeeellllloooo McFly?!?!? One website I found said to immediately seek stress management services. Uhhh, do I need to go back and recap the money stressor issue? How much money do you need to dump into these services to get destressed only to then be stressed because of the big bucks you spent to heal you of stress?
Others say to identify the source of the stress and change your lifestyle accordingly. Hmmm … if that’s the case I’m gonna need to become a completely different person, sounds like a lot of stressful work. Some say to take certain supplements to make up for the deficiencies that are caused by stress. Okay, so again here, more of the money stressor, but I will admit I did buy a supplement to try at Whole Foods yesterday (it was on sale and I’m a sucker, a stressed sucker that is). It’s called Supercritical Stress Advantage. I’ll let ya know how that goes …
For now, I am going to take a deep breath, lots and lots of deep breaths, and perhaps grab a Starbucks and try to find that cool kat of a chick to see what her secret is. Then it’s on to some more stressful research to find out how we can all claim our lives, and in my case my hair, back without losing the shirts off our backs.