I never liked going to the hairdresser. There’s something about being in that chair with the little cape on that makes me feel trapped. I can usually handle a haircut or color when the salon is not too busy, but if the salon is crowded, I get a severe case of haircut anxiety.
Haircut anxiety is a big deal. Lots of people with social anxiety have a hard time going to salons and getting haircuts.
Yesterday I finally got a haircut for the first time since July. I know that’s not really a big deal, and it’s something people usually do with no problem, but it’s one of the things that S.A. gets in the way of for me. People tell me it looks fine, but when I look in the mirror it bothers me alot. Now, since I got it cut I feel a little better about myself.
Before I was actively trying to recover from panic attacks and anxiety, I absolutely dreaded going to the hairdresser. I never enjoyed making the requisite small talk with the hairdresser.
Hair stylists can be really chatty, and I used to not like the personal questions. Then if I got a stylist who wasn’t as talkative, I’d wonder if something was wrong.
In the crowded salon on a busy Saturday, sometimes I’d be “trapped” in the chair and a neighbor or acquaintance would walk in. I remember having lots of panic attacks in hair salons over the years.
Haircuts are super tough for me as well. Generally I am on edge for weeks afterwards. I’m getting one for the first time in a couple months next week and I am already starting to get nervous.
When my agoraphobia and social anxiety were at their worst, I even cut my hair at home a few times. It looked horrible, but I couldn’t make myself go into a beauty salon. Picturing the bright lights, the chatty girls, and being trapped in the chair for an hour or more (for a color and cut) were too much for me. I didn’t know what the heck to do about haircut anxiety at this time.
I have a hair appointment today and i’m dreading it. Hair salons always make me really nervous and anxious. Ugh! I get sick just thinking about it.
I’ve used these tips to make haircut anxiety more manageable for me. As you practice getting more comfortable going to the hairdresser, hopefully they can help you too:
1. Schedule your haircut or color when the salon is not too busy. If you don’t know when this is, call the salon and ask. This is a good way to practice sitting in the chair without feeling the pressure of a lot of social activity going on around you. Asking for the last appointment of the day is a good idea because you know the stylists want to get home at that point-not sure if that would affect the quality of the haircut though, lol 😉
2. Say no to the blow dry. This can take 15 minutes or more and the heat of the dryer could also make me feel jittery. I never minded leaving the beauty shop with wet hair, even in the winter. It definitely got me out much faster. Just knowing your time in the chair will be cut short (no pun intended) can make the whole experience much more manageable for you.
3. Remember to check your breathing. Make it a point to breathe slowly and from the belly- using your diaphragm. Diaphragmatic breathing diminishes anxiety symptoms and makes you feel all relaxed and cozy. It also corrects the oxygen carbon dioxide imbalance that makes anxiety symptoms worse.
4. Prepare yourself before the appointment. This might sound obvious, but it wasn’t for me. I had to learn to prepare myself and psyche myself up before going into the salon. Visualizations and positive affirmations work great. I visualize myself having a calm and successful time and say positive affirmations for anxiety. This helps ensure that I will have a positive and uneventful experience.
Or, if I am in a rush I can just do a quick session of hypnosis for anxiety.
Since I am actively working on beating my panic attacks and anxiety every day, I have made progress in baby steps. Today I don’t dread going to the salon like I used to.
I still don’t love getting my hair done but my haircut anxiety is not nearly as bad as it used to be. And my hair looks a lot better too. 😉
I wish you peace,
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