I wrote my post, Living with Alopecia: On Self-Care in Academia, because I felt it was important for me to share my story. Academia can make you feel so lonely and insecure, to the point that you try to hide your mental and physical issues from everyone for fear of appearing weak. But you know what? Sharing openly what you are going through, well that’s being strong and powerful.
I received so many messages of friends, colleagues, people I had never met, who are going through similar issues, sharing with me how stress has affected their lives, and thanking me for writing my post. You are welcome and thanks to everyone for being so open as well. I am not alone, you are not alone, and together we can strive to take better care of ourselves.
I also received a few suggestions on how to deal with stress-related issues. For instance, some make sure to sleep for 8-9 hours a night while others focus on having hard limits to their work day and leaving work out the door once home. Some don’t work on the weekends and instead focus on their families, outside activities, activism, etc… Others practice yoga or meditate every night before going to bed. Personally, I went back to working out a few times a week (I really like the free videos at Popsugar) and to cooking. I have also started this membership at a spa where I can either get a massage or a facial every month. I LOVE this. And my cat is the queen of being relaxed so I try to follow her example! Everyone is different so find something that works for YOU.
Am I cured all of a sudden? No. I have not become the least stressed person in the universe. And my hair has not regrown magically yet either. But I do enjoy my work and my life more. I am less bothered by the little things over which I have no control. I am happier. While I still suffer from the imposter syndrome and I am still a stressed-out person, I do find I am making progress towards a better work-life balance. So thanks “Alopecia on my head” because you helped me realize how important taking care of myself is.