It’s a part of getting older. Or a fight against genetics. Some people try to hold on as long as they can (Lebron James and Tiger Woods), while others let go of it early on– like in their 20s. Personally, I’m trying to hold on to mine as long as I can. I even make sure I only go to one professional, because he knows how picky I am about it. He has also learned how to preserve it without me coaching him (that’s a process that deserves a post of its own). That’s right…I’m referring to my hairline.
Many men do everything they can to preserve their precious hairline because once it’s gone, the inevitable bald head approaches after. Not saying there’s anything wrong with a baldie…I just don’t want one right now.
Men consider their hairline to be a key part of themselves, and so we do certain things to protect it.
We recognize when there’s a problem. Of course we all look in the mirror at least once a day and can see when we have areas where hair no longer grows. Sometimes we are in denial, but we know it’s happening and hope it is not noticeable to others.
- We choose the right professional. I used to travel 2 hours one way, once a week to get my haircut by one particular barber. He knew exactly how I wanted my haircut, he knew my sensitive areas (thin spots where hair rarely grows), and I was comfortable with him. This level of trust developed throughout my years in college and his quality of care coincided with my needs (Laughs).
- We perform self (hair) maintenance in between professional visits. This includes using trimmers, hair grease, and/or a brush. I also use a durag. These small things done in between visits allow us to maintain until we are able to make it to the barbershop.
Men need to think about preserving our mental health in the same manner that we work to preserve our hairline. Especially since a decline in health is something that is hard to recover from and in some cases impossible to regain. Being as preventative as possible is crucial to living your best life.
Understanding the root of mental health issues can be very helpful in helping you get the proper care you need. Just like with hair…it can be genetic. Some mental health challenges are results of a chemical imbalance in our genetic makeup. We have no control over this. But, that doesn’t keep us from attempting to save what we can of our hairlines, and it shouldn’t stop us from working to protecting our mental health. Stress can also be a big factor. Whether from work, family, relationship, health or financial issues, stress can make your hair fall out and it can greatly affect your mental health.
What if we treated our mental health like we do our hairline/hair? Here are some things we can do to be proactive and take better care of ourselves:
- Recognize when there is a problem.
This is easier said than done but it is essential.
- Seek professional help.
Keep in mind that—just like your barber, each therapist is not for you and it may take time to find the right one.
- Do your part.
Even when you get to the point of seeing a professional…actual change requires some work from you in-between visits. If you want waves, the barber can teach you how to brush your hair or what products to use, but he can’t be there to make sure you do what you’re supposed to. Similarly, during phases of depression, a counselor can provide options to help you change your mood, but It’s up to you to implement them. You have to do your part.
- Understand the root of your problem.
Whether it’s genetics or environmental stimuli, understanding why you’re experiencing issues with your mental health can help you take the proper steps to getting better.
Maintaining your health requires effort and sometimes you have to experiment with things to see what works for you. This premise is not limited to hair, it also includes your mental health as well. Don’t be afraid to put just as much, if not more, effort towards being mentally fit.
Photos by Craig Cochrane and Rwenshaun Miller