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Mental Health Awareness

Now you may be wondering - mental health? But I thought this was a beauty blog for Hawkins Clinic? Well, I’ll tell you why I have chosen mental health as my topic this week.

As you all know, it was mental health awareness week a couple of weeks ago, I chose not to do my blog then as I am sure there was enough for you all to read about on this topic. Looking after your mental health is always important and should always be top on your priority list - but now, this is more important than ever.

We have all had to lock ourselves away from the world over the last couple of months - from work, the people we love and the things that we love and take for granted. We are all so busy worrying about the virus, the numbers, people breaking the rules, how all of our loved ones are and more importantly, what will life after lockdown be like, that we have forgotten to check if we are okay ... really okay.

Since this is a beauty blog, after doing plenty of research, I am able to tell you how the shutdown of beauty and cosmetic treatments has impacted on some individuals mental health. However, I do not want to dwell on this too much as my main focus in this blog is to help you, out clients and anybody else reading this blog, look after your mental health so that once this is all over, you feel comfortable and happy with who you are.

For many, the Coronavirus pandemic has caused an increase in anxiety, as well as increased feelings of loneliness, vulnerability, fear and a decrease in feelings of self-worth and self-confidence.

The full extent of Coronavirus on mental health is unknown, especially due to our lack of knowledge and the fear of the unknown; however, UK charity Zero Suicide Allowance have warned that “the stress and worry of Coronavirus is bound to have impacted on people’s mental health.” I also believe that the added stress of this pandemic and being locked away from the rest of the world, accentuates the few things we may already be worried about. I personally have noticed, due to the extra time that I have and also constantly seeing myself while on FaceTime, that I am starting to nit-pick as the way I look.

The shutdown of beauty and cosmetic treatments is thought to be a trigger for the deterioration of some individuals mental health. It may be a small trigger, or a large trigger but it is still a trigger and therefore needs to be addressed.

Similar to getting your hair cut or wearing make-up, cosmetic procedures (particularly the non-invasive ones such as Botox and dermal fillers), and general beauty treatments you would receive in a beauty salon, are becoming very much a corner stone of our beauty regime. By removing the ability to receive treatments, some individuals may experience higher levels of stress and anxiety due to the possible impact that not having a treatment may have on their appearance.

UK lockdown has also seen a huge surge in video calls (whether they be on FaceTime, WhatsApp, Skype or Zoom), which is increasing individual feelings of being self-conscious. We spend a lot of our time video calling the ones that we love. Being able to look at ourselves in that little box for long periods of time, gives us a chance to provide ourselves with extensive self-critique.

Extensive research has shown that cameras do not show ones true self. They are inverted images that can be unflattering, and can lead us to see things that we do not like about ourselves - things so small that in reality we would not normally notice them.

It is not just treatments that clients are missing out on, but it is also the lack of interaction that we have with the people we may see on a fairly regular basis. I know I am missing the good old natters I have with not just my clients, but my wonderful colleagues too.

Some individuals are more comfortable talking about things that bother them with those they are not as close with. Missing out on therapist-client interactions removes the chance to vent which may be mentally draining for some of us.

So how can you look after your mental health from home? The Coronavirus outbreak is an unprecedented time for everybody. Measures we must take to limit the spread of the virus lead to big changes in the way we have to live our lives. We all react differently to situations, but it is important that you look after your mental health as well as your physical health during this time. After looking into mental health a bit more and doing necessary research, I have some top tips to help you look after yourselves mentally.

1. Keep connected with others. Maintaining relationships with the people you trust is important for maintaining your mental well-being. This could be via video chat, text messages, phone calls, e-mail or even writing letters if you so wish! Whichever way you feel most comfortable with, use it to keep connected with your loved ones.

2. Help and support others. Helping others could make a huge difference to them and how they are feeling and can make you feel better too. We all know how good we feel when we make somebody else feel better or do something nice for them.

3. Talk about your worries. This is a difficult time for everyone and sharing how you are feeling and the things you are doing to cope with family and friends can help. If you feel as though you are unable to do this, remember we are still here if you wish to vent (even if the salon is not open yet) and there are lots of online resources you can use too. You are not on your own.

4. Look after your physical well-being. Your physical health can have a big impact on how you are feeling. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink plenty of water and exercise inside where possible or outside (while keeping in line with social distancing of course). I personally, have found that more exercise and healthy eating has really made me feel better both mentally and physically.

5. Get plenty of sleep. Try to maintain regular sleeping patterns and keep good sleep practices. Good sleeping practices can include; no screens before bed, reducing your intake of caffeine and creating a restful environment. I like to have a bath before bed, adding lavender Epsom bath salts to help me relax and unwind.

6. Try to manage difficult feelings. Focus on the things you can control, including where you get your information from. For me, I can not control this outbreak, the only thing I can do is do my part in keeping infections down. However, I can control the amount of time I spend reading about it. I t try to stay off of social media as much as possible to avoid getting myself worked up over the things that I have no control over.

7. Do things you enjoy. Focusing on your favourite hobby, learning something new or simply taking some time out for YOU, so that you can relax can give some relief from anxious thoughts and feelings and boost your mood.

8. Set goals. Setting goals and achieving them gives a sense of control and purpose - think about things that you want or need to do to keep you going while stuck at home.

Thank you once again for reading our weekly blog. Please remember none of you are alone, we are all in this together. Before I leave you all be until next Monday I would just like to say that Hawkins Clinic are following strict guidelines given by the government. At the moment it has been said that hair and beauty salons can open from 4th July (as long as things continue to go to plan). As of yet, we do not have an exact opening date. I can assure you that we are already preparing to reopen while ensuring the safety of both yourselves and us. Safety measures are being put in place and while we are still discussing the best and safest way to reopen, we are looking forward to seeing you  all again very much. We will keep you all updated on our process of reopening the salon and in the words of Vera Lynn, we’ll meet again. Xo

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