My health, my nails … my nails, my health

In high school, one of my best friends always had her nails painted.  I think she did her nails every Sunday night, and then on Monday, she had a new color, freshly applied.  The color was chosen intentionally and set the tone for what color family of clothes she would wear for the week.  I always admired her for being the planner, the one that knew exactly what her life was going to look like the next ten years ahead, i.e. college, law school, husband, babies, law firm, house, dog, partner, retire, etc.  I recognized in myself that, in contrast to her, my nails were rarely painted, and I didn’t know that there were even options of filing round or filing square.  I noticed that when I was doing well and feeling good in life, my hands reflected the same.  When I was in a mood, a funk, a stage … I would hide my hands, privately picking at my own hangnails.  I had heard of people biting and/or chewing their nails, but for me, I picked the hangnails on the sides, ripped off longer nails, and fidgeted one nail back and forth with another.  This was my private stimming, and it gave me a sensory return that I was seeking.

On my own at college in NYC, I was suddenly exposed to the convenience and multitude of nail salons.  I started to get into the mood for nice nails in efforts to be attractive to others, and to play the part of the female singer I was trying to be professionally.  When I was feeling it, my hands were manicured.  It’s hard to know which came before the other…feeling good equals go get a manicure, or I got a manicure, and now I feel good?

My nails have settled into a pattern that I now recognize, after many years of self-growth and self-wear and tear.  During my first pregnancy, my nails were strong and growing each week with the baby.  I treated myself regularly to manicures and pedicures, as when I looked down, past my bumped-out stomach, and saw clean, pretty and polished nails, I felt pretty, and polished, and of course, still very pregnant.  After pregnancy, I was exhausted, and depressed, and my nails changed.  The outside pre-baby nail routine slowed down, because of my time, my energy, caring for my little (fussy) one, and the cost.  Having polished finger nails was not conducive as a busy working parent, constantly washing dishes, and changing diapers.  Two miscarriages later, I finally returned to the nail salon, and established a new routine, as a mother to only one, not the planned three, but back in the chair, focused on self-care.  I got my cuticles and nails cut, nails filed, buffed, and shined, and then I was on my way ready to live my active life.  No time or preference for polish on my hands, and perhaps, gradually, less and less time or preference for polish in my own physical appearance.

As a professional pleaser for many years, clicking away at my keyboard, longer nails clicked and clacked, driving me nuts in an auditory annoyance way, and serving as a physical barrier between my thoughts, my fingers and the keys.  What is the point of all this nail talk?  Through reflection, I have discovered that the appearance of my hands and feet reflect what is going on for me internally, and or affecting me in my environment.  During emotional episodes, I fidget, trace, and pick my nails.  During calm moments, my fingers are calm, my nails are smooth, and hang nails are dormant.  The best part about my nails, and nails in general, is that I can break a nail (accidently or intentionally), and even though there will be temporary disruption and pain, the nail will regenerate and come back again, offering me another chance for smooth, filed harmony.  I am in forever awe and gratitude for my body breaking, repairing, and regenerating.

Has anyone else noticed a correlation between the health of their nails and their physical and mental health?  Care to share regarding your current nail care routine, or lack thereof?

Take care,


Alyssa nails

Self Care Self Wear and Tear Uncategorized


Alyssa Castro View All →

Isn’t this what the blog is for? ;)

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