Several years ago I was sitting in my stylist chair getting my hair flat ironed and she said to me… “Angela, are you stressed?” and I thought to myself, “HELL YEAH!” but how in the world does she know that!?!?! So I said, “Yeah, I guess I am, why? And that’s when she showed me 3 bald spots the size of quarters. I was mortified, sad, embarrassed, nervous and scared shitless. But with her sweet demeanor she calmed me down and explained it was normal and insisted I go see a Dermatologist about my alopecia. So I did and he confirmed that it was indeed Alopecia. After getting several painful injection treatments of corticosteroids, the hair started to grow back and I started to feel better. Whew!
Now I’m certainly no expert on the subject but I do know there are so many factors that contribute to autoimmune diseases like allergies, infections, the environment, diet, stress, and lack of exercise. Since I’m not one for treating things with medication UNLESS it is absolutely necessary I knew I had to figure out what was going to work for me to grow my hair back like quick fast and in a hurry. And since there is no cure for Alopecia, the only thing that I knew was under my control was how I managed my stress and how I took care of my health and my body. With autoimmune diseases it’s really important to try to figure out the underlying causes otherwise, it’s easy to succumb to or ignore the symptoms and let them spiral out of control. So I tried to get my mind right, started exercising more, eating better, changing bad habits…and TRIED to eliminate stress as best as I could. It worked…for a while.
So flash forward to early 2015. I’m doing my hair and my daughter notices a bald spot and she freaked out. AND THEN I FREAKED OUT!!! Then she noticed another one and I said to myself, “OH SHIT NOT AGAIN!!”
I didn’t go back to the dermatologist but instead started on my journey to perfect health. Yup! PERFECT HEALTH. There is such a thing and it doesn’t have to include working out 7 days a week or becoming vegan, although that does work for some. For me, Perfect Health is placing the focus on the mind and body which is exactly what I need.
So here are a few things I have incorporated over the past year and a half to get back on track and to live a less stressed life:
Number 1: Treat the spots
I immediately started rubbing Black Jamaican Castor Oil on my bald spots hoping for a miracle. I wasn’t consistent in doing it every night but I did it often.
Number 2: Consider Supplements and Natural Alternatives instead of Medicine
I started taking supplements like Udo’s Oil 3 6 9 Blend, Flora’s Probiotic, Vitamin D, Zinc, and because I am an everyday coffee and red wine drinker, I incorporated Magnesium as well. I did switch to Organic coffee (cause I am just NOT giving that up) to eliminate the toxins and I started to incorporate aromatherapy with my essential oils.
Number 3: Move your body. Period.
I committed to my yoga practice because that is a simple, attainable way for me to bring peace and balance into my life. And I do exercise…just not as much as I would like to. Excuses excuses, I know but I’ll get there. But I make sure to do something so I will either do a 30 min HIIT workout, do a Power Flow yoga class or go for a run and I do about 75 squats in the morning while I’m brushing my teeth.
Number 4: Be Still
I used to think meditation was corny and could never quiet my mind longer than 2 minutes. But once I really understood the intent behind the practice and how it would help reduce my stress levels, I was all in. Letting go of negative thoughts and toxic people, practicing gratitude, opening up to the universe and being mindful has allowed me to live more consciously which definitely helps me manage my stress.
Number 5: Feed your body the Good Good
There’s no explanation needed. I cut out processed food, planted a vegetable and herb garden in my backyard and committed to cooking fresh, healthy meals. I eat pretty healthy and I don’t believe in depriving myself of things that I love so I just make sure to eat them in moderation.
One thing I know is that we are never alone in our struggles, although they may be different or harder or more complex, we are all doing our best to manage the every day stresses of life, period. I really struggled writing this post unsure and apprehensive about putting myself out there. Social media is filled with pictures of pretty naturalistas on beautiful beaches but everyone has a story. Alopecia a’int cute and certainly a’int a fun topic but the oh so inspiring Joanne Encarnacion reminded me today that we are all in this thing together, no matter what our struggles are, to uplift each other, validate one another and applaud the progress. Thanks god I have thick hair! Bald Spots are gone, I have a calmer mind and the journey continues. Always learning. Always growing.
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