Coping with stress and learning to heal: How journaling can help
When I started losing my hair six months after a significantly stressful life event, I turned to my usual place of comfort: the internet. Usually, when I see what others are going through online, I feel better about my own situation. However, what I found was quite the opposite. A bunch of articles about strange concoctions to use on my scalp and some scary pictures. What I didn’t find was any advice about how to deal with the mental and emotional impact of losing my hair.
The truth is, losing your hair, especially when your hair has been a huge part of your identity your whole life, is a terrible thing to go through. And the effect it has on our mental and emotional well-being is far-reaching yet rarely discussed.
Our goal at bia is to support you through your hair loss journey so that you feel empowered and informed about what you can do to get through it. I had to find my own coping mechanisms to get through hair loss, and I’d love to share one that worked like a charm with you today: journaling!
The benefits of journaling for mental health
Starting a journal might sound like something 13-year-olds do when they have a crush on a boy. Or it might sound like something only people who meditate and practise yoga do. But really, journaling is for everyone.
Your journal is a safe space where you can express yourself, your feelings, and what you’re going through. You can use it as a place to vent, set goals, unclutter your mind, or practise gratitude. It’s whatever you want it to be!
Sometimes, all that’s needed for us to process what we’re going through, find solutions, and just feel a little lighter all around is to get things off our chest. Keeping a journal can help you identify what’s causing your stress or anxiety. Once you’ve figured out these stressors, you can work on a plan to resolve and reduce these problems.
Writing stuff down is far more powerful than trying to sort through it all in your head. It allows us to reach a higher level of thinking and results in more focused action.
Journaling helps to reduce stress, boost your mood, and strengthen your emotional health. The release I’ve experienced from journaling regularly has by far had a massive impact on my mental health, especially when I was going through hair loss.
What is gratitude journaling?
A gratitude journal is when you journal specifically about what you are grateful for. You can write out all the things you’re grateful for as a short list or you can go into more detail about how each thing you are grateful for enriches your life.
Often, when we focus on the positive, what we are most grateful for, we attract positivity in our lives. It also forces you to see the flip side of the coin when you’re struggling.
Again, your journal is strictly your space, so anything goes. Whether you want to mix gratitude with goals and self-care or just get your feelings out on paper, it’s totally your decision.
How to get started with journaling
What’s been most exciting about this coping strategy for me is choosing the notebook or journal and the stationery I want to use to write in it. I’m stationery-obsessed, so this would make sense. However, if you’re not the creative type, don’t be scared! A simple pen and paper will do. Alternatively, you can keep a digital journal on platforms like Penzu or Journey.Cloud.
Once you’ve chosen how you’re going to keep your journal, the next step is to make sure it’s private. For it to be a safe space to express yourself and explore how you’re feeling, it needs to be for your eyes only.
Now to get started. It may seem intimidating initially, but sometimes, putting pen to a blank page can feel overwhelming. If you’re not sure where to start, try out some journal prompts like the ones found on the Paperblanks app. Pinterest is also a great place to look for journaling inspo.
It’s okay not to be okay. And it’s okay to feel like your world is falling apart because your colleague just pointed out your latest bald patch. One thing that I firmly believe will help you to cope if you’re suffering from hair loss is journaling and/or gratitude journaling. Give it a try, and let us know how it goes. Keep an eye on our blog for more tips and tricks to improve your mental and emotional health.
Haircare for the soul, charged with positivity.