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New Perspectives…on Hair

After touching up my roots this weekend, I found myself going down the rabbit hole of “Going Gray” videos on YouTube. Every time I’m less than impressed with how the hair dye goes, I find myself wondering yet again if I should just embrace my natural hair color and get off the dye, touch-up, repeat carousel.

And every time, I’m reminded that a lot of these women still bleach their hair to get an even color, or use purple or blue shampoos depending on their personal tone to keep their hair from turning off-colors like yellow. Point being, going “natural”, whether that means white or gray or a patchwork of colors (like mine is underneath the henna and indigo), does not mean “no maintenance”. It just means a different kind of maintenance.

I ask myself if I’d truly be happy embracing my natural color, and the answer is no. Could I, if I had to? Of course! I’d never have started dyeing my hair at all if the lab-made dyes were all that was available, but I have natural powdered plants to dye with, so, it seems less damaging than the nail polish I use weekly.

So why then, am I do annoyed with the fact that I need to maintain my dye job? Mostly because I have trouble getting a consistent result, honestly. I miss spots, or I don’t get the color “right”. It’s because I’m not “perfect”, even though I’ve done root touch-ups exactly four times now.

Seriously. That’s ridiculous.

I do my nails every Saturday night. I started that habit decades ago, and it wasn’t because I really liked doing my nails. It was because my nails grow fast and are hard, but tend to break easily at the tips if they aren’t maintained regularly (cut, filed, and at least top-coated).

So as a way of making the nail maintenance I needed fun, I learned to do a full manicure and started doing nail art. A new design every week, and my nails were protected and maintained. Now it’s one of my favorite times of the week, because it’s a time to relax, watch YouTube videos that make me question my life choices (and also the occasional movie or series – currently the second season of Virgin River), and eat questionable snacks gingerly as my nails dry.

Could I let my nails just go au naturale? Sure. They’d still require maintenance though, and it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun as a new color every week.

So how is my hair different than my nails? It’s really not, I’ve just built it up that way in my head. And I’ve put far too much pressure on myself, especially when it comes to being perfect. It’s just hair. And if I miss a spot, I can go back and catch it later. Or next time, even, because no one is going to blink at eye at the occasional stray white or gray hair on my head, just like most people don’t notice when I have to cut one nail shorter than the others for whatever reason.

And if they do…does it really matter?

No, no it does not.

There will probably come a day when I can’t dye my hair for whatever reason, and I’ll deal with that. For now though, I need a change in perspective. And a weekly hair-pampering routine on the weekend that makes the necessary maintenance seem more like a treat and less like a chore.

To that end, I’m going to appoint some time every weekend for hair care. It might be a hot oil mask, or maybe just trying a new hairstyle, but it will be scheduled time that will hopefully become like my nail nights, or my foot care nights (I do foot care while budgeting and grocery shopping online late Friday nights). I think that will make the root touch-up nights just another normal thing I do, like polishing my nails and shaving my feet (yes, that’s a thing…and in my case, necessary).

On a related note, I think we all need one day a week where we can just focus solely on caring for our bodies. It would be so helpful to have time set aside that didn’t also have to be used for household chores and errands.

Weekly spa day for everyone! Wouldn’t that be the life?


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Progress & Health Check

I think I’m probably the worst person in the world at following my own advice, which means I have to “check in” with myself often and sort of wag a finger in the mirror to set myself back on track. One of my biggest problems is being that person who gets so wrapped up in accomplishing a goal or fixing a problem that I let such things consume me, and pretty soon, I’m making excuses as to why I’m not taking care of myself anymore. From simple things like forgetting to brush my teeth, to willfully looking at the clock and thinking I can just work for “ten more minutes” instead of getting ready for bed, I am the ultimate self-saboteur. It’s not a healthy quality.

If this post isn’t done and schedule by 10 minutes to midnight, I have to wait until tomorrow, no ifs, ands or buts. Because after a good week/week and a half of ignoring my bedtime and other simple self-care to-dos, I need to make that sort of boring, mundane thing a priority again. *sigh*

It’s no fun. It’s annoying. I wish I could just work myself into the ground now, while I’m young-ish, and not have to worry about being cognitively sharp and physically healthy when I’m older, but that’s not who I am, so here we are, caught between a personal goal I want to accomplish, a work problem best worked on while the rest of the world sleeps, and not enough super-human strength to make either a priority for long. Dammit.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve had a priority of writing 500 words a day, no matter what, and before anything, including sleep. Honest-to-God, you’d think I put that out to the universe as a dare, because if I told you all the things that happened to derail/sabotage that goal (all out of my control), you wouldn’t believe me. It’s insane. But I can’t live like that, with all that angst and frustration over my daily word count that clearly isn’t meant to be. I hate that, because I want, more than anything, to write for an hour a day (even half an hour!). But man, I tell you what. It feels like an impossibility when every writing session feels doomed from the start.

In any case, this week’s priority is healthy habits, and those other two things when I can work them in without jeopardizing the whole healthy thing. I still want to write 500 words per day (1/2 hour), but if I can’t, I can’t. No stress, because stress is unhealthy, and we’re done with that, at least for a few weeks.

We pushed things way too hard this past weekend too, which is part of my weariness tonight (Monday around 11:30pm, for reference). Saturday we did yardwork, put up a new mailbox (which is now the prettiest, coolest on on the block, thankyouverymuch), and then went mattress comparison shopping (which is exactly as tiresome as it sounds, honestly).

Sunday, we got up late, drove out to get the mattress we’d decided on, brought it home, went bed frame shopping (we’ve just had a regular metal frame for eons…it was time for a nice wooden one), brought that home, hauled out the old, put together the new, and collapsed in another fit of weariness.

Monday (a holiday here in the States) I did the bare minimums for weekly housekeeping that I normally do on Sundays, and we had dinner with the BIL for his birthday. By that time, we were so worn out from running all weekend we were not very sociable company, I’m afraid.

We ate out once on Saturday and ordered in, then ate out again on Sunday and ate the leftover Chinese from Saturday, and then Monday ate out for BIL’s dinner. Way, way too much restaurant food, which didn’t help at all, even though it tasted good. My body is more than ready to get back to healthier, home-prepared meals without all that added salt and far lower carb counts.

And all throughout, I was monitoring my work problem, taking notes, finding patterns, making discoveries and trying new things to fix it (none of which worked) all while checking my email at intervals due to someone asking me to be available in case needed (special situation). I’m glad I did all that, because I have a good idea of where the problem is and what to work on next to fix it, but it did take a lot of time and energy that I don’t normally put into work stuff on the weekends.

It was a lot all in one fairly small time frame, and I may take Friday off this week just to sort of relax and recalibrate for a day. We’ll see. That would make an already short week even shorter, which isn’t always a good thing, but it may be exactly what I need to keep the mind and body both healthy. So, I’m keeping it as a possibility.

When was the last time you “checked in” with yourself, as far as health and self-care priorities go? Are you doing okay, or is it time to step back and revisit some of those goals you have/had to be healthier, no matter how small?


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