As I write this, the door is open and I can hear the rain and the odd bit of bird song. Despite having effectively ‘wasted’ my day doing nothing remotely productive, and ingesting roughly the same amount of calories a polar bear needs to survive winter, I’m feeling pretty damn content. Like all is well in the world, or my world at least.
Want to know why? Today I went to the hairdressers. Whenever I talk about my hairdressers at work or with gal pals, they always say they know someone or somewhere that could do it cheaper. They are right too. I could get a home dye set for a fraction of the price, and know enough people who once did a NVQ in Hair and Beauty offering discount rates. With a holiday to book, a car to buy and a (fingers crossed) the cost of a Master’s course to fund, spending money on hair may not seem like the best use. But I’m here to tell you that it is.
In a world in which we are constantly busy, or feeling like we should be the hair dressers is a place of refuge. It’s the only place where you have to sit still and be largely uninterrupted for a few hours without items and people calling for your attention. Your phone can go off as many times as it likes, but if you’ve got two people painting strangely coloured sludge onto your roots you’re going to ignore it for the time being. Yes OK, you may glance at it and send the odd text; however I’m yet to see anyone sending emails or confirming plans whilst at the back wash.
A lot of people take the mick out of small talk used by hairdressers. Deep down we know they aren’t interested in who we are dating, where we are holidaying and how our pet faired on its recent visit to the vets. I kinda like it though; you can chat about the small things, the inconsequential things. It’s enough to keep you from being totally bored yet you’ve got to pay enough attention that you can’t think about your to do list or what your boss meant when they spoke in that tone of voice.
The pure noise from the hairdryers, either your own or your neighbours is another blessing. With so little chance for conversations or overhearing there is no need to wonder how that girl who is blatantly a few years younger has just managed to buy a holiday home, when you’ve yet to buy any home.
The hairdressers is a chance to fully switch off, a period of time where you physically cannot do much other than read gossip magazines and drink tea. It’s a moment of calm for the mind, when you exert it every other day. As more and more studies come out saying our generation is having a harder time mentally than almost any generation before; with financial stressors, social media and other mental-nasties, any time away from all that is important. Self care and mental health go hand in hand.
It’s easy to see going to the hairdressers as a luxury, but I don’t think that’s quite true. I mean, obviously food, housing and serious stuff comes first – but when it comes to disposable income beauty salons are an important factor. Time away, a calmer mind and a shiny new blow dry will serve you better than three glasses of wine in the long run. So go on, treat yourself.