In the hustle and bustle of life, it’s easy to forget yourself.
And in the month of Valentine’s Day when couples in love are buying each other chocolates and roses, it can seem counterintuitive to practice self-love and care.
But something as small as a haircut, mani-pedi, or walk in the park can be a game-changer when it comes to taking time for self-care and loving yourself. So, sit down, relax, and pamper yourself in this month of (self-)love.
Getting a new look
When you enter Scissors on Marlborough, the small white house at 1030 Marlborough Road, the atmosphere is like a modern-day Truvy’s salon in “Steel Magnolias” from its chandelier and fireplace to fun, trendy décor and staff ready to transform you into the best version of yourself.
Carla Bullington Myers, who bought the salon in 2006, loves doing hair for the fashion, beauty and all things glamorous that she says comes with it.
Transforming straight locks into a lustrous hot-rolled hairdo reminiscent of a 1990s Victoria’s Secret model, cutting face-framing layers for something different, or even adding a few lowlights can brighten anyone’s day.
A person’s outside appearance can change them inside as well, Myers says, especially when it comes to encouraging more love and acceptance for oneself.
“In some cultures, hair represents carrying your burdens and struggles,” Myers says. “One of the biggest changes is when you cut long hair to short. A lot of time people will want to change their hair when they are going through a breakup or something happens. It’s a way to regain control when you don’t have any. It makes you feel like a new person.”
Her friend and fellow hairstylist Sheri Liles says a good cut or color can be what you need to wash off the past.
“You can completely change a person’s mood, their day or how they are going out to face the world with scissors or some color,” Liles says.
Liles says one of the best things about the salon is what they dub “psycho-hair therapy,” where clients chat with and confide in the stylists.
“This salon is a wonderful social outlet,” Liles says. “Over the last 23 years, our clients have become extended family. … Our clients trust us to let us in when they need us the most.”
Getting a haircut, a shampoo or a blowout is only part of it too. For women who might have competing responsibilities with work and family obligations, Liles says the salon experience can be especially important.
“This is not only about treating yourself with your hair,” Liles says. “It is treating yourself to time with others where you are the focus.”
A little further down Raeford Road, is Bombshells Salon at 4145 Ferncreek Drive where owner Suzanne Williams also believes that a good salon experience can add to anyone’s confidence level.
“It’s in the atmosphere when you come in,” Williams says. “We have good coffee, good wine and snacks. It’s not always about getting your hair done.”
She says the lively salon with nine stylists can make anyone comfortable, just by being themselves and having a fun time.
“Most of our clients we’ve known for years so they can come in and talk with us,” Williams says.
If one of their clients comes in feeling a little down, Williams says the hairstylists will crank up the music, tell stories, and laugh with their clients, changing their entire mood — and hairstyle.
Plus, it’s instant gratification, according to Williams.
“When you look in the mirror and you feel good about the way you look, it’s a domino effect,” Williams says. “People leave the salon and want to buy a new bronzer or a new outfit. A haircut takes less than an hour. Hair color maybe two. And you leave feeling changed and revived.”
Alexis Fernandez, a 20-year-old student studying psychology at NC State, came home to Fayetteville to get a retouch on her highlights at Bombshells.
“All the stress that college puts on you doesn’t matter when I’m here,” Fernandez says. “Every time you leave the salon, you feel good about yourself. It’s absolutely self-care. It helps your mental well-being. When you feel good about how your hair looks and you pair it with a good outfit, maybe some makeup, it lifts your spirits completely.”
At HeadHunter Barbershop located at 4848 Cumberland Road in Hope Mills, owner Lee Strickland says his shop, which has been in his family since 1975, is all about pampering for men.
“We offer haircuts, beard shaving and steam towel treatment, beard trims, and a combination cut and shave,” Strickland says.
Strickland says that the patrons who come in just like to get away from what is going on in the world and enjoy coming to their mom-and-pop, old-fashioned barbershop.
The barbershop greets clients with church pews in the lobby, along with sketches of original patents hung on the wall, including a barber pole, a barber chair and clippers on the wall. A wood statue of a headhunter from the Philippines stands in one corner.
“It’s a little man cave to get away,” Strickland says of the barbershop. “Men come in and catch up on sports or the newest cars. It’s crazy what men come in and talk about, but it’s also interesting. We hear a lot of life lessons, and even the history of this area.”
Working alongside his mom Dail and his dad Roscoe, or “RL,” as most call him, Strickland says they have now seen generations of families come to the barbershop, with fathers bringing their sons, who then later bring their own sons.
“We have retired guys, Army generals, ditch diggers and doctors come in,” Strickland says. “They all want a bit of pampering and to look good when they leave.”
On a recent Friday, with the TV in the corner playing a game, Eddie Troy, a Hope Mills resident, sat in RL’s seat. As he got his hair cut, a group of school-aged boys slid into one of the church pews as they waited with their mom for their turns in the chair. “When I moved here, I was looking for a good barber,” Troy says. “I found one here. They treat you like family.”
One of the locations for relaxation, and well-known to locals, is the quiet room at Millenia Nails and Day Spa at 2423 Robeson St. in Fayetteville.
Walk in and ask manager Wendy Nguyen for the quiet room experience, which involves a zero-gravity massage chair, a heated blanket, and low lighting. Phone calls are not allowed and neither is talking to your neighbor.
For packages ranging $50 and up, clients receive a full pedicure while listening to spa music, getting a massage, and sipping on a soft drink — or even a glass of wine.
For customers coming with a friend, a great place to chat while having a mani-pedi appointment is the Candle Nail Bar, which opened in 2017 at 111 S. McPherson Church Road in Fayetteville.
With side-by-side chairs, staff greet patrons with a choice of beverage, including beer, wine and soft drinks, and a snack before choosing a service. Some pedicures include rubbing fresh grapefruit and oranges on the client’s feet and legs, and others include paraffin wax and hot stones.
Day spa treatments
For those looking for a little more than a mani-pedi, facials, waxing, and massages are available at the Day Spa located at The Spa Fitness and Wellness Center.
The Spa Fitness and Wellness Center also hosts hot yoga classes and has a whirlpool, sauna, and steam room to relax sore muscles, and in-house child care so customers can enjoy the experience uninterrupted.
While the experience of pampering is a treat every once in a while to stay motivated and feeling your best, there are also easy ways to practice self-care on a daily basis to process feelings of stress, depression, or unhappiness.
For example, exploring all of your senses through a brisk outdoor walk is a daily way to perk up and feel better along with reducing stress and tension, according to BenchMark Physical Therapy, located on Raeford Road in Fayetteville.
Walking can be a great way for you to disconnect from all of the things that may cause you underlying stress and give you that breath of fresh air you need, according to their website.
Getting healthy and improving your mood are two other benefits of getting outside, and Fayetteville has a lot of outdoor spaces to meet others or clear your head on your own.
The Cape Fear River Trail is a 7-mile trek along the Cape Fear River and is popular among bicyclists, runners, and those seeking an easy nature walk. Waterfalls, wetlands, and even a covered bridge are part of the experience.
Another fantastic way to be social and be outside is to walk the wide brick sidewalks of downtown Fayetteville. Lined with public art, shops, and patio restaurants, downtown keeps you active, from the Fayetteville Running Club in the early morning to the outdoor bands playing at Huske Hardware House Restaurant and Brewery in the evening.
And quite a few neighborhoods in Fayetteville include walking lanes and sidewalks if you prefer stepping outside your driveway and rounding the block with your earbuds in.
Journaling and reading
Writing daily in a gratitude journal is a great way to pamper yourself by being grateful for what you have in your life. Whether it is for a car that runs, a stranger who smiled at you on the sidewalk, family or friends who love you, knowing how to knit, or even for being able to make your favorite turkey sandwich for lunch, reading back through it is sure to help you measure milestones or simply remember the small things that add up day by day.
According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, practicing journaling helps deal with anxiety and depression and reduces stress.
“Journaling helps control your symptoms and improve your mood by: Helping you prioritize problems, fears, and concerns,” the Journaling for Emotional Wellness article says, “Tracking any symptoms day-to-day so that you can recognize triggers and learn ways to better control them; [and] providing an opportunity for positive self-talk and identifying negative thoughts and behaviors”
Finding a podcast or a good television series, or joining a book club can also help boost mental health. Keeping your brain full of fun facts and imagination is a good release from daily stressors, and research has shown that reading can lower heart rate and improve cognitive function, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health. Additionally, a night out pampering yourself with a play or concert ticket — whether you go by yourself or with friends — is always a treat.
Therapy is always helpful, too. There are psychologists, counselors, life coaches, pastors, and licensed therapists who want to see you live your best life. So if you need a change, find a professional to talk with. Having an objective third-party, trained mental health professional for extra support can be life-changing.
Whether you need a mood boost or a long-time good habit to form, self-care is healing and creates a good foundation of strength to combat stress, burnout, and whatever else comes your way.
The key is to take care of yourself — physically and mentally. A small change can make you braver to do more, and of course, who doesn’t love a little pampering in their life?