The holidays are a special time of year filled with twinkly lights, friends, family, and typically, some added stress. Whether due to family conflict or increased money spending, extra stress can lead to an unwanted holiday gift: increased hair shedding.
Hair loss due to stress, referred to as telogen effluvium, typically appears three to six months after a stressful period. That means that hair loss from holiday stress might not appear until spring or summer.
The good news is that stress-related hair loss is temporary. Once the stressors are removed, your hair will eventually resume its normal growth cycle. While that’s comforting information, you might be wondering what you can do to prevent hair shedding from holiday stress in the first place.
We’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll be sharing our top tips for preventing hair shedding from holiday stress. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Find ways to manage your holiday stress
Since telogen effluvium is caused by stress, it’s not surprising that the number one way to fight holiday hair shedding is to reduce your stress levels during the festive season. Some top holiday stress busters to try include:
- Relaxation techniques: Find time to weave relaxation techniques into your days. These might include yoga, meditation, deep breathing, or massage.
- Take time for yourself: Between holiday shopping, caring for children, and preparing holiday meals, it’s easy to feel stretched thin during the holidays. It’s essential to make time for yourself, even if that means hiring a babysitter or delegating tasks to other family members. During your “you” time, engage in things that relax you and bring you joy, perhaps gardening, taking a warm bath, going on a hike, painting, reading, or watching your favourite TV show.
- Exercise: Exercising is a great way to release pent-up tension. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week.
- Set boundaries: While spending time with family can be lovely, there might be times over the holiday season when you feel you need some space to yourself, especially when dealing with difficult relatives. Don’t feel guilty about excusing yourself for some alone time. This will give you time to decompress and recharge, allowing you to rejoin your family with more presence and joy.
- Get enough sleep: Sleep is essential to maintaining your health and mitigating your stress. Aim to get seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
2. Curb your holiday eating and drinking
When your body lacks certain nutrients, some bodily functions may not work optimally. This can include hair growth and hair regeneration.
While you can still enjoy some traditional holiday fare, make an effort to reduce your consumption of foods like refined carbohydrates, sugary baked goods, vegetable oils, and alcohol. In their place, add lots of nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, eggs, nuts, seeds, fish, and lean protein. These healthy foods will provide your body with all the nutrients your hair needs to stay in top shape over the holidays.
Here are some hair-healthy vegan/vegetarian recipes to give you ideas and inspiration:
- Veggie-Packed Paleo Quiche
- Spiced Cauliflower with Chickpeas, Herbs, & Pine Nuts
- Sweet Potato Bisque with Crispy White Beans
- Lentil Loaf with Mushrooms and Sage
- Holiday Roasted Vegetables
- Vegan Mushroom Risotto
- Cheesy Vegan Veggie Bake
- Roasted Green Beans and Red Peppers
- Holiday Stuffed Butternut Squash
- Vegan Scalloped Potatoes
3. Avoid heat and chemicals
When your stress levels are high, it’s important to give your hair a break from additional forms of stress like chemical dyes or heat-based treatments, such as blow drying, curling, or flat ironing. These styling treatments can be hard on the hair and lead to excess breakage and shedding. As much as possible, try to save these treatments for when your stress levels recede after the holidays.
4. Add supportive supplements
While eating a healthy diet is key, it’s not always easy to get all the nutrients your hair needs from diet alone. To cover your nutritional blind spots, consider adding in a high-quality hair supplement. A good hair vitamin provides you with vitamins and nutrients that promote hair quality and growth, ensuring that you’re receiving all the nutrients your hair needs to thrive under stress.
The bottom line
If your stress levels tend to increase over the holidays leading to increased hair shedding, try applying the tips in this article to mitigate your holiday stress and support your hair wellness.
Stock up on healthy foods, draw yourself a bath, and don’t forget to take long, deep breaths—you just might find that your hair isn’t the only thing that’s healthier in a few months’ time!