I wanted to write about how this global pandemic is affecting my life; living with asthma, eczema and in the throes of topical steroid withdrawal. I am very anxious and worrying about how soon I should make the decision to self isolate. I’m scared of getting ill while living alone and no one knowing…
But I also wanted to focus on the positives that are coming out of this unprecedented situation we find ourselves in and how my experiences recently have prepared me for it. Finally I have collated all the best Covid-19 posts that I’ve found helpful to me.
Covid-19 survival with asthma, eczema and TSW
The advice we are given to help us all stay safe is not great for anyone with eczema, topical steroid withdrawal and asthma…
- Avoid touching your face – are you kidding me? If I’m in an itch implosion that’s impossible. Touching my skin where it itches or hurts is one of my coping mechanisms, it helps me to avoid scratching if I just touch the itch. This works well, but obviously isn’t great news as this is how Covid-19 spreads! So this isn’t an option for me. I mean I am trying not to, but I can’t… I can’t succeed at this one. I hate to think how many times I actually do touch my face… can you count how many times I touch my face in the 20 second video above? Multiply that up and I’m a super face toucher!
- Wash your hands – of course I do this anyway, but I’m doing it a lot more now. Using the alcohol gel in public places where no water and soap is available is like a torture, it stings and exacerbates the already damaged skin. This takes a terrible toll on fragile eczema hands. Mine have been bleeding and it’s not going to get any better. Finding a good moisturiser is paramount. I’ve been using Lyonsleaf calendula and marshmallow and Balmonds Skin Salvation. I have pots of the stuff available in every room to encourage me to keep my hands moisturised. It is helping but it’s not enough…
- People with existing conditions are at risk – Asthma, my old friend. I have decided to pretty much self isolate as much as I can because I know this virus works by attacking the lungs. Having asthma puts me at a far higher risk than others my age. My asthma is controlled but has got worse lately due to stress, external allergens, hay fever and some DIY going on in my house. I’m taking all the precautions and using the preventative inhaler but I’m still scared. I was also really lucky to win a Smart Peak Flow so am using that to daily check my breathing. This clever gadget connects to my phone and tracks my peak flow scores so I can see the pattern of asthma health.
And don’t get my started about peri-menopausal flushes which make me think I’m getting a fever…
Expert in self isolation
If you’ve got any experience of chronic eczema and/or topical steroid withdrawal you will be an expert in self isolation. Even when you are amongst friends and family you feel different, other, apart… because it’s such a difficult condition to live with. Over the months, and now just over a year, I’ve become a pro at self isolation. There are some amazing benefits of doing this.
Obviously it can be very lonely, but I’m finding myself relaxing and letting out a little sigh of relief. I’m powering through my recovery so well but I’m not better; I still wake with eyes glued shut, crusty sore skin, blocked ears etc. I am still deep into time consuming self care, long baths and gratitude, yoga and meditation.
As I’ve healed I’ve been forcing myself to face the world, go running with my club and get out more and it’s been good for me. But it’s also been exhausting and mentally taxing. I know I’m beautiful and I know I shouldn’t care but I do crave clear skin and a day when I can wake, get up and go out without any of that self doubt and lack of confidence in my appearance.
So this enforced slowing down, retreating and isolation is actually a bit of a blessing, as well as a curse. I am missing my friends, my running group and all the social things I do, but I am a pro at self care, using time wisely and self motivation. I have so many things I want to do with this extra time and positives to share about time alone. Here’s just a few:
- Daily meditation
- Go for a walk / run every day
- Work on self care more, using more natural products
- Clear out my office
- Work on updating and upgrading my blog
- Finish all the edits and chase contributors for the book I’m writing
- Start writing the next book, I have so many ideas.
- Not feeling guilty about being still in my dressing gown and PJs at midday because I’m self isolating!
- Sort out the house, unpack the final boxes and do some decorating
- Write letters – real ones
- Baking and cooking fresh, natural, healthy food that will nourish my skin
- DIY – there are loads of jobs I need to do and even though my hands are not great I can wear gloves and get some of it done. I’m actually looking forward to ticking them off the list.
Make sure you get a balance between rest and relaxation, activity and getting stuff done! Through self isolation and social distancing you can find inner calm, peace and silence. A slowing down that has helped me immensely with anxiety, fear and panic attacks.
12 weeks seems like a long time but we’ll get through this together.
The good things…
And on a positive note, this situation has had some really positive outcomes.
- Family Facetime – My lovely brother who let’s be honest, is a typical bloke and rarely phones me has been Facetiming me every evening this week and we will try to keep this going while we are staying inside. He and his family are self isolating as they live with his wife’s mother who is 80+ years old. I am also Facetiming my sister and her family. So what I’m hoping is that this situation will bring out family and other closer together.
- Support from friends – All my lovely friends who have been in touch, even just on Whatsapp for a chat has been heart warming and it really means a lot. Reach out to people, especially those who you know live alone or face particular struggles with their current situation, mental health, physical health etc.
- Innovation from my clients – I have some lovely clients but being freelance this is a worrying time. I’m so lucky that most of my work is continuing, even if I have to completely reorganise a lot of events. It has to be done. I have lost some work but financially I can just about pay my bills. I am very fortunate and think I can get through this. Other businesses may not be so lucky. Many of my clients are moving with the situation to offer services virtually and also support to those who need it.
- Virtual yoga classes – I’m doing my first virtual yoga class on Facebook tonight and am really looking forward to that. I hope that my other yoga classes will be able to do similar things and it will mean that I and others can stay active and get motivation we get from group sports.
- My road has a Whatsapp – and I am hearing from people I’ve never met before. I have lived in this house now for 1.5 years and only met a handful of people. Maybe not it’s time to start getting to know my neighbours. I have been checking in on the elderly lady who lives in the flat below mine and really should have been doing this before covid-19 but she is very well supported by her family which is good to see. People are all supporting each other, doing shopping, popping in to see people who live alone. Together we have got this!
21 day meditation challenge
I am also doing Deepa Chopra’s 21 day abundance challenge. This involves daily activities such as gratitude journaling, positive affirmations etc. You also commit to doing a 15 minute guided meditation with Deepak, either before or after you’ve done the activity.
I’ve only done day one so far but found it very relaxing, calming and in such uncertain times, very grounding. Thanks to my friend Tanith for inviting me to a small Whatsapp group for this challenge. We are so fortunate, we have so much and hopefully, we will make it to the other side.
My favourite coronavirus blogs
- Allergy Living shares a very good article about asthma and the risk from coronavirus. You can read it here: Coronavirus and Asthma: how to cut risks and keep control
- Lindi of My Allergy Table talks about how she looks after her skin and other tips, hints and musings in My Eczema Story – How I look after my skin.
- From the lovely Micki Rose of Pure Health – Keep Calm and boost your immune system
- If you’re on Instagram, check Dr Ruth’s Skin Journey – she posts no nonsense sound advice and is also going through topical steroid withdrawal herself as a GP!
- And finally from Michelle’s Blog, Covid-19 – some interesting facts
So how are you coping? How are you feeling? stay safe everyone and I’d love to hear your positive stories here