After being unable to get out of bed for months, a 16 year-old teenager battling depression heads to the hairdresser expecting to shave her matted hair. Filled with compassion, hairdresser Haley spends hours untangling the teen’s hair, ultimately showing the teen that she matters. The results speak for themselves. 13 hours later, the teen walked out of the salon with beautiful curls and a major boost in self-confidence, right in time for her yearbook photos.
What can we learn from this?
Small gestures matter. Haley, the hairdresser, could have obliged the teen’s wishes and shaved the tangled hair, saving her hours of hard work. Yet, by taking the time to untangle the teen’s hair, Haley showed her that she matters and that she’s worth the time and effort. Something so commonplace as a haircut can mean the world to someone battling depression. We can all spare a few moments in the day to show care and compassion.
Anyone can make a difference. We don’t need to be a therapist to make an impact on someone’s life. Haley had essentially no relationship with the teen before her appointment, yet she made a difference in her life on that fateful day. Whether it’s in the workplace, at home, or anywhere else, there is always an opportunity to change someone’s life. Not being professionally qualified is no longer an excuse to not be the most supportive to our abilities.
Self-care is important. Depression is an illness when it can feel impossible to even get out of bed in the morning. To combat the immobilization from a lack of motivation, we should strive to take small actions on the day to day to take care and remind ourselves that we are worthwhile. Taking care of ourselves can serve as a much needed reminder that we matter.