Isolation: an eczema sufferer's dream

COVID-19 eczema eczema and isolation

By Bonnie...

Feeling very overwhelmed? It seems inconceivable that a little over a month ago, my main focus was planning for my oversea adventure to Canada! At this time it is essential to gather resilience, show the best of human nature and breathe deeply as much as needed. These anxious and unsettling times bring on unforeseen challenges, however the best of human nature is rising to this challenge.

As an eczema sufferer, I have reflected on what self-isolation can mean for us eczema warriors. Being an introvert and former (current in these times of stress) eczema sufferer, time of self-isolation in some way allows me to replenish, relax, to take slow, deep breaths and be present. Of course, at the same time totally acknowledging the current global impacts as a result of COVID-19. But we must respect these guidelines of social-isolation and strive to focus on positivity and gratitude - core ingredients in the recipe of successful coping for our physical and mental health in these unprecedented times. Evidence shows positive emotions help us undo the negative effects of stress and as we know stress can play a large role in triggering an eczema flare.

 

When my eczema was at its worst, mostly in my teenage years, the idea of isolating myself and retreating from the outside world was what I truly craved. No environmental threats, no scratching in public, avoiding people who casual comments on my skin were so hurtful. Time hidden away in my dark air-conditioned bedroom, I would wrap myself in moist bandages and soothing creams with no one from the outer world seeing me, snuggled up in my 100% cotton sheets and feel comforted that my itch was soothed. I was allowed to watch whatever Disney movie I wanted!  My inner negative voice would quieten. Sound familiar? Speaking to many fellow eczema warriors it is clear that I am not alone in this.

So, as our enforced self-isolation continues (so necessary to project the vulnerable in our population) let us use this time to regroup and give our skin, body and mind a bit of extra special attention.

So as an eczema warrior how can this time of isolation be turned into a positive experience?

Dedicating more time to YOU!

Whether you’ve started or are about to begin your eczema healing journey, now is the perfect time to prioritise YOU. Begin the eczema diet, have long relaxing baths with Skin Friend Oat and Zinc bath powder, cook nourishing food, give your skin a chance to breathe by walking around naked, practise mindfulness, do full body cream wraps, read that book you’ve always wanted to or start a new Netflix show. All these positive actions complement healing for your skin and mind. Who knows, maybe a little alone time is exactly what your skin needs.

A few recommendations

  • Watermelon by Marion Keys- an all-time classic that makes me laugh out loud
  • Love Sick on Netflix- a beautiful heart-warming love story
  • Mama Mia Out loud Podcast- Three weekly podcasts that are smart, often silly and sometimes surprising. Absolutely everything is up for discussion: from pop culture to politics, body image to motherhood, feminism to fashion. 
  • Our new Skin Friend playlist 'Eczema Warrior Songs' on Spotify. It's packed with positive tunes that are sure to have you smiling. 

Reach out to others

Schedule your day. This will provide a framework – otherwise I would still be in my pjs at lunchtime!  Schedule Facetime, phone, text or snapchat friends, family and work colleagues.  My family have joined a new app called ‘houseparty’ and it is a wonderful way to have a family conversation with my overseers’ siblings. We have even taught my Nanna how to Facetime! She is great at this except keeps putting her thumb over the camera. It is very important to remain connected.

Cooking 

While I’ve been stuck in my home, cooking and baking has become a great outlet to channel some anxieties, and I highly recommend it. Home cooking and baking functions as a great way to pass the extra hours and feel productive. It’s an excellent form of entertainment when many other activities — the movies, bars, concerts and beaches are closed or cancelled. 

If you have an Instagram page and have been inspired to create eczema friendly recipes, tag us (@eczema.life ) and use the hashtag #eczemafriendlyfood in your creations. Let’s share the eczema love. I would love to see what you whip up!

While you're cooking and eating give our newest Spotify playlist a listen- "Dance in the Kitchen." It will provide cheerful vibes to get you dancing and help switch your body into rest and DIGEST mode. {Yep, you need to be relaxed for the body to digest food properly.}

You can find the Spotify playlist "Dance in the Kitchen" here. If you do not have a Spotify account, you will need to search the app store (on your smart phone) and download the Spotify app. Search "Dance in the Kitchen" when on the Spotify app and find the playlist by Skin Friend.

Alternatively, if you are on your computer you can sign up to Spotify online here if you haven't already got an account. It's free to listen to. 

Exercise

During this isolation period having more time at home means greater opportunity for gentle home workouts. We all know how important physical activity is for physical and mental health but sometimes when you have eczema it can leave your skin red, sensitive and itchy…but that’s no reason to skip the exercise! Exercise can actually help your eczema because it lowers stress and stress can trigger flare-ups. So, keep moving. Just tweak your routine so it’s kinder to your skin.

A good exercise routine with eczema should include staying relatively cool and not exercising to the point of overheating your body. When you exercise, your body heats up, and heat can make your eczema worse. You can’t stop that completely, but some things will help.

  • Take breaks. Split up your workouts. Stop and give your body a chance to cool down. Then start again.
  • Drink lots of water Always have a bottle handy. Some have a mister that allows you to spray your skin, too.
  • Don’t overdo it. If it’s hot out in your garden, stay in an air-conditioned or cool spot indoors. Stick to less strenuous workouts and do it before 11 a.m. or after 5 when it’s cooler.
  • Guard against sweat- The salt and acidity in perspiration can dry out your skin and make it sting. Minimise it by wiping off sweat as you work out. 

If you’re looking for some good, gentle homework outs with eczema I recommend Madfits low impact workout found here or the Yoga with Adriana videos found here.

 Laugh

In this time of heightened anxiety, I know for me often humour serves as a much-needed commodity. So, I thought I’d share some of the top ‘HA HA’ moments from the web to lighten the mood.

 

Stay positive and healthy xx

Lots of love Bonnie 

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