kim’s bug bite (and heat rash) hack

i love camping and the outdoors, nature and grassy wooded areas. being bug bite prone though, is a surefire way for me to become a debbie downer. as a kid spending a summer in the philippines, i remember once that my legs were so eaten up and raw that my aunt took me to a dermatologist to check out my poor limbs; they gave me a cortisone cream,¬†which didn’t do a damn thing. most conventional bug bite creams on the market are cortisone based which still don’t do a thing for me (and are toxic to boot). my skin is so sensitive to these bites that they usually quickly turn into huge bumps that make me look deformed (no joke), and are sooooo itchy that they distract me from enjoying myself in said nature, putting me in a cranky mood. ūüôĀ

over the years, with extensive research and travel, i think i’ve figured out my magic combination of bug bite prevention and relief! and they are, for the most part, non-toxic. different bugs exist in different places, so these may not be as effective in one locale than another, depending on your own skin and where in the world you are. but if you have to use DEET, use it. it’s better to be safe and not get malaria than to try and be all hippy with your natural remedies, imo.

BEFORE YOU GET BIT – PREVENT
so you know an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure bla bla bla. in this case, it’s totally true. i am not above putting on a hat with a bug net on it, and in most cases find that diligently applying and reapplying my anti-mosquito potions are enough for me.

KNOW THE BUGGERS’ TIME + PLACE
mosquitoes are notorious for being the most active at dawn, dusk, and around still water + swampy areas. they also like to get our ankles and feet while sitting at dining tables. being mindful of these times and locales have been helpful for me to know when i should stay on guard, inside or perhaps take the seat at the end of the table vs in the corner against a wall.

FOR THE LOWER BODY – PICARIDIN LOTION
i like the sawyer picaridin insect repellent lotion to put on my legs and find that once i put this on before going out for the day, i don’t need to reapply, so long as i don’t get wet.¬†it’s important to speak on lotion vs spray because applying lotion with your hands ensures a more thorough application, thus making it stay on the skin better, last longer, and won’t easily sweat or rub off like a water-based spray (the same can be said about any other spray product, SPF included). picaridin is an ingredient that is synthesized in a lab (as most skincare ingredients are) that is modeled after an extract from the chrysanthemum flower, and also has been shown to be just as effective as DEET, without the toxicity or fragrance (check out the EWG’s stance on it here).

FOR THE UPPER BODY AND FACE – GREENERWAYS ORGANIC BUG SPRAY
i am not a fan of chemicals in general (toxicity, smell, general grossness and support of those industries), and will use chemicals only when i have to (like using the picaridin lotion above). i much prefer using natural products as much as possible and in the realm of bug spray, will stick to using a natural one on my upper body, to avoid inhaling or ingesting said toxins. if you eat with your fingers, are doing any smooching or are handling babies/kids, it’s best to be exposed to a natural bug spray than a toxic and bitter tasting one.

for years i have loved using the greenerways organic bug spray, the only one on the market i’ve found to be water-based AND organic. most natural ones on the market are in a base of cloggy ass soybean oil and are just oily, sticky and gross. plus, it’s a small family out of pennsylvania that makes this stuff, so all the more i am happy to support another small biz. i’ll decant this into a smaller spray bottle to take with me for reapplications, since natural products work best with repeated usage over time.

the way i apply this is to spray it onto my hands, and then rub it onto the areas affected. remember, actually massaging product into your skin is going to yield a much more effective and long lasting application.. as well as prevent the product from 1. being wasted, and 2. being sprayed onto surfaces other than your skin, including rivers, lakes and oceans. (i have seen people put on spray sunscreen while standing in freshwater lakes and it is disgusting how much ends up in the water.)

note: i find that their 4oz bottle is difficult to handle, so decanting the liquid into their smaller 1oz (or a different shaped spray bottle, muji and rainbow grocery has great ones) is necessary for me.

AFTER YOU GET BIT – TREAT

DON’T SCRATCH OR PICK AT IT (sound familiar?)
the key is to preventing more itching, scarring and swelling is to RESIST SCRATCHING. the less you scratch, the less annoying it will be, the less scarring will occur (from scratching the skin open, leaving you with scabs) and the faster it will heal, i promise! the same can be said for acne ūüôā here are some things you can do instead:

SLAP IT
some hard, heavy slaps on the bumps as they appear may be enough to numb the nerve endings that make it start itching.. this is a quick fix until you can get access to the following:

ICE!
just as you would to relieve inflammation for acne, icing is one of the best remedies to employ. it numbs the nerve endings and instantly relieves the itching – with relief lasting (for me, usually) at least a couple of hours afterward. also, if you are getting bug bites you’re probably in a hot place, so getting ice cubes – or just something cold at least – should (theoretically) be easy. i have no shame in digging an ice cube out of my water glass at a restaurant and icing the bumps on my legs, arms, etc for relief. i’ll just wrap it with a napkin to soak up the dripping water as best i can.

MUSCLE RUB
anything that’s got camphor or menthol or peppermint is going to have that cooling sensation that’s great for numbing down itching. when i was in thailand, every convenience store i went to had some kind of a tiger-balm thing, be it a salve in a jar or an oil in a roller stick. i am a big fan of the oil roller sticks because it makes for a mess-free application, and is multi-purpose. i used them to relieve headaches, shoulder pains, sore feet and legs from standing around for hours (like i did when mom and i were in bangkok for the late rama 9’s cremation ceremonies). know that it can take a few minutes for the itching to go away after applying these oils, so have patience to allow them to work their way into the skin, calming those itch nerves. this is why i like to ice first to quickly numb, then apply these oils to prolong the itch relief.

when i get heat rash, this also helps immensely with managing the itching associated with it, speeding up healing. for my own skin, i find washing the affected skin with an anti-bacterial soap, keeping the skin as dry as possible (no applying oils or lotions, even aloe gel!) and relieving the itching with a muscle oil rub stuck is the speediest way to recovery.

in the US, you can find saje’s peppermint halo. i LOVE this stuff and use it everyday. i¬†roll it onto my head, temples, neck and shoulders to help keep me calm in a busy day of work, in traffic or when i’m bored. it has that minty effect to help calm down any itchiness from bites!

TRUTHPASTE
i went camping at the south yuba river a year or two ago and totally forgot all my bug bite stuff. and of course, our campsite was buzzing with skeeters and were having at it on my face. so i went on a hunt to a “natural” store in town and thought to look for a bug bite salve. one lady behind the counter suggested i mix up some clay and essential oils to apply, but the other lady remembered an all-natural toothpaste they had which was basically the same thing, just fancier (plus already mixed up and ready to use). i was skeptical but desperate so i bought the stuff and lo and behold it worked.¬† so well in fact, that it’s actually changed my life.

preventing bug bites can be tough, but so long as you have the right tools to manage the itching, it’s not that bad at all. a little of this paste goes a long way, leaves no residue or stain, and is soooo effective. for me, just a dab of this pretty instantly calms down itching. i forget about the bite, and get on with enjoying my nature experience. it’s really been amazing how much quality of life enhancement and sense of relief this little product has given me. it comes in a glass 2oz jar, so i scoop some out into a smaller plastic jar to keep in my day bag and reapply as needed. one jar has literally lasted me years, and i freak out if i can’t find or forget it on my travels.

24 HOUR RULE (?)
so maybe¬†i’m making this up, but it seems for me that most bites – so long as i don’t go crazy waking up those itch nerves by scratching them as soon as i get them – itch only once in a 12- or 24-hour cycle. i get bit, i employ any or all of the above post-bite tactics, and then i’m not bothered by them for another 12 or 24 hours. then after a few days, the itching subsides completely and the bites heal up and away. observing and knowing this has somehow calmed my nerves whenever i get into an itching frenzy.

THE AFTERMATH – PIGMENTATION
so hopefully you didn’t scratch the hell out of your skin, creating a wound and thus scarring. but if you did, you can still employ the tricks above and if you must, gently rub-and-not-quite-but-kinda-scratch around the bite/wound to relieve any itching as it heals. if there is pigmentation left behind, it will likely go away on its own, or you can use any of your active sS skin products (like your mandelic toner, skin brightener or vitamin a serum) to speed up the brightening of the spots left behind once the scab heals and falls off.

i hope these tips help you out and make natural outdoor time less miserable. these discoveries were a serious game changer for me and i hope it helps others too!

founder’s letter – next chapters for sS in 2017

celebrating 9 years. not pictured is blakely at the front desk who’s joined team sS just last week ūüôā

GRATITUDE.
i’ve got to always start with gratitude. we live such good lives. we are amazingly fortunate to have access to most everything we could ever want or need here in the bay. it’s easy to forget to honor ourselves, and so i’d like to..
THANK YOU so much for choosing to invest in yourself! the time, resources, and hard work you put in everyday for your self-care and wellbeing is a really big deal.
THANK YOU choosing sS to partner with in helping you on that journey for over 9 years!
THANK YOU for your support in my business, the intelligent and wonderful women running it, our local economy, and by extension, me!
our single clinic in SF has helped thousands of people clear up for good, and hundreds more remotely. this past spring we celebrated 9 years of doing this work, and you are a part of making that happen.
gratitude + love + light to YOU!

feeling happy and healthy, with wild elephants in sri lanka

KIM’S OOO. date of return, TBD…
after 9 years, i’ve officially moved away from the day-to-day operations of sS SF (!!!).¬†i’ve been given the opportunity to¬†make progress with sS in different inspiring locations, and the SF location of sS will be in the hands of general and assistant managers, liesse jones and lacey mons.
liesse is a licensed esthetician overseeing the entire clinic with the help of lacey, who runs the operations side of sS. ¬†L2 (as i like to call them) + our amazing team are upholding the high standards upon which i’ve built sS, and are building it to be bigger and better than i ever could on my own. i am grateful and fortunate to have these women on my team to take good care of you!
as i concentrate solely on self care + the growth of sS:
  • i have retired from the treatment room and am no longer administering treatments.¬†you are honestly in great hands with any of my estheticians – we have trained them to be the best of the best in SF! (ask about our training process the next time you’re in for treatment)
  • all client related inquiries will be managed by L2 on my behalf, and¬†i will contribute as i am able.

 

i thank you so much your continued trust and support of sS with this exciting transition. ūüôā
sS’s NEW THINGS TO COME
sS is now in this really exciting growth phase. all of these are works in progress and we’ll let you know when they launch. some of what’s launching in 2017:
  • MORE NATUROPATHIC DOCTORS!¬†i’ve been meeting with and getting to know several in the¬†bay area to widen our network of experts to help our clients that need it. more on this on our blog as we complete our research ūüôā
  • NEW ONLINE STUFF.¬†in our¬†shop, we’ve got new product photos up and will soon implement a subscription option for your favorite sS essentials (thanks to sS’er JN for the nudge!). on our site, we’ll be adding some video content and on our¬†IG, lacey’s stepping up our visuals while continuing to preach the lifestyle gospel with practical, everyday acne-safe life hacks.
  • LOYALTY PROGRAM.¬†as gesture of appreciation to our most loyal clients, we’re launching a loyalty program so you can earn credits towards future sS purchases!
  • REPLICATION.¬†liesse and the SF clinic team are working hard to standardize our clinic model so that we can empower others to open up sS clinics of their own all over the world.
  • THE BOOK.¬†once i leave SF and have my workflow sorted, i’ll be able to finally finish up the book that will empower people and change lives beyond the walls of our clinic in SF.
be sure to follow us on instagram, our blog and these same emails for updates.
thank you for your support and patience as our lean team makes small biz magic happen!

had to get a photo of this woman hustling behind me – on her bike, laptop AND cell phone. she could very well be getting her sS on, remotely!

GET REMOTE CARE + SUPPORT.
book your consult or follow-up appointment by phone or skype if you can’t get into our SF office! just book online, and notate it’s a remote session. (we are soon piloting a 1 hour remote consult appointment format, yay!)
and a bonus for all sS clients! if you’ve ever come in or bought anything from us:¬†we are piloting a remote client-support program to see how we can better care for our clients.¬†email us to schedule a free 15 minute phone call with one of our expert estheticians for skincare product counsel.we want to make sure you are using the right products for your skin, optimized for travel, seasonal, climate, hormonal changes.

follow me on instagram: @kimsthecoolest

K.I.T.
stay informed. link up with us on IG (@skinsalvationacneclinic), our blog or these emails and be the first to know of all our new launches. (we also post last minute appointment openings & clinic closures for team building events/meetings/trainings on IG)
see what i’m up to, and the world through my lens. follow my personal account on¬†IG¬†at @kimsthecoolest and keep in touch with me that way.
real talk:¬†all of your support has got me this far (9+ years!), and the real, raw feedback you provide directly informs how i will choose to grow sS’s outreach to empower everyone, everywhere.¬†please¬†email me¬†any and all thoughts you have about my company. your opinions are my gold!
cheers to positive growth, exploration and discovery into new chapters of life, and thank you again for your love and support!

FINDING FULFILLMENT IN CHANGING LIVES

 

team sS volunteering at dress for success – we are women, for women empowerment!

hey sS’ers, kim here. ¬†long time since i’ve written a post – i’ve been busy with quite¬†a few big game changing projects in the works! ¬†more announcements about this about all that to come soon, but i wanted to share a little bit about something we’ve been doing at sS that i’m very excited about, and how will inspire you in some way. ūüôā

HOW ACNE GAVE ME A SENSE OF PURPOSE IN LIFE
many of you may¬†know my story, that i founded sS after finding the regular ‘spa’ facial world boring. when i was part of the opening team at remede spa (within san francisco’s st. regis hotel) all the way back in 2005, i was at the highest end, 5-star luxury hotel spa in the city. it was beautiful, we had thorough training and regularly had high profile clients. i also had a great work/life flow: my workweek consisted of¬†wednesday to sunday like this: i’d take bikram class at funky door yoga on new montgomery st. at 12noon, get into work by 2pm to have a leisurely homemade lunch, before starting my 3-9pm work shift.

however, i felt unfulfilled with my work.

after i found acne, and saw, with time, how well the work worked, i felt inspired, of service to my community, and finally, TRULY FULFILLED.. because what i was actually slanging now was empowerment to the people –¬†not just short-lived relaxation, a feel good¬†face rub¬†or expensive diamond creams.

fast forward 12 years later (!), it’s now 2017 and i’ve had skinSALVATION for 9 years now. i know that our work is truly life changing and amazing, and i’m ready to layer on the¬†next level of fulfillment, in service to our¬†community.

FULLFILLMENT : THE NEXT LEVEL
in order to do that,¬†i’ve committed¬†to donating a portion of our clinic profits¬†to legit, charitable organizations every month. in years past, my donations were random, but since this january, with the help of my team at sS SF, we’ve been making it a regular + structured thing.

we are also doing our best to create the time and space to physically volunteer individually or as a group, whenever we can.  check out the photo above, of team sS at dress for success just last friday!

HOW WE’VE BEEN WALKING OUR TALK
so far this year, we’ve supported the following charities. ¬†we’ll promise to write more¬†in depth about why we’ve chosen these particular ones, and our personal connection to them.

EMPACT NORTHWEST (international medical crisis support – my best friend, tamara, used to run this org, and is still involved)

PLANNED PARENTHOOD (in honor of mike pence – duh)

ACLU (in honor of donald trump – duh)

DRESS FOR SUCCESS (the team volunteered there this friday, it was super fun!)

UNITED WAY OF GENESEE COUNTY (in support of the flint, michigan water crisis)

AMERICARES

COLEMAN ADVOCATES FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

AIDS LIFECYCLE (in support of many friends doing the ride AS I TYPE, like RIGHT NOW!)

RIDE FOR A REASON (to support oakland’s public schools)

LA CASA DE LAS MADRES (a local + kick ass org that provides shelter, advocacy and support services to women, teens, and children exposed to and at risk of abuse and domestic violence)

DALY CITY YOUTH HEALTH CENTER (i grew up partly within the daly city school system, and have very good friends that have served as marriage + family therapists there)

GRATITUDE TO YOU
with your continued support of my business – buying products, coming in for treatments, tipping your sS estheticians (to be closer in line¬†with the hourly compensation rate they’d normally make¬†at¬†standard spas & salons), doing what we tell you to do to clear up and telling all your friends about us – ¬†we can continue supporting our acne-prone community to be healthier and happier – and on a larger, more impactful humanitarian level – these¬†charities, for years to come.

THE BIKE PHOTO

ok so you may have stumbled upon this blog piece from our instagram post, and want to know what’s up with these super pro looking bikers. ¬†they are 3 friends of friends of sS that we’ve allocated our june donations to, to ride the grueling, uber challenging AIDS lifecycle¬†for us, so we don’t have to train like crazy, haha. (if you don’t know about it, participants ride a bicycle from SF to LA over the course of a week to raise money for AIDS research + support). they are now on day 5 of 7, but¬†it’s never¬†too late to send some $$ love their way!

if anything, i’m happy to just raise awareness about this amazing cause, and shine the spotlight on some of the real-life brave riders i know that are doing it. ¬†one of them is an sS’ers sibling, another¬†is an sS’ers best friend, and the other a cool strong-legged friend of theirs! ¬†feel free to support each one of them with this link here, here and here ūüėÄ

OUR (acne-safe) THANK YOU, TO YOU!
i like to think that our sS’ers are on the same wavelength as us on these kinds of things,¬†so if you donate your time OR money to any of the charities we tell you about, show us your confirmation¬†(even it’s just one hour, or $5!)¬†and we’ll give you an sS gift as our (acne-safe) high-five to you!

SO MUCH GRATITUDE TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU¬†for putting your faith into our process, and allowing us to do the important, life-changing and fulfilling work we love to do. ¬†we very much appreciate the opportunity to make this our everyday, giving us purpose in life ūüôā

 

celebrate skinSALVATION’s 9th birthday with us!

skinSALVATION is celebrating 9 years of helping empower people with the tools that they need to get, and keep, clear skin FOR LIFE. we would love for you to join us in our celebration on march 25th from 3pm – 6pm. we will have cocktails, an acne-safe and soy-free noodle bar from mau¬†vietnamese restaurant, and hundreds of dollars of gifts from skinSALVATION, kabuki spa, mateo’s taqueria and more. come hang out with kim¬†and the entire skinSALVATION crew and let’s have a great time!

 

part 5: kim’s adrenals – success! (so far – it’s a lifestyle thing)

quick disclaimer: all the stuff i write about in my adrenal blog posts are relative to my own personal experience and recommendations.  what was recommended to and worked for me may not work for you, so please proceed with caution and enlist the help of a naturopathic doctor in your area for the best + safest results!

after seeing dr. day for my consultation on 11/20/15, she ordered some tests Рone of them, in particular, that would find out what kind (and levels) of brain chemicals were running in my body.  we thought for sure that i was low on dopamine and seratonin, which would make sense of my low moods and irritability.  but, when we got the results back late december 2015, we were both surprised.

TEST RESULTS

it turned out that out of the 12 hormones that were tested, 2 were on the high end of normal, 2 were just over the high end of normal, and 5 were just about double what the high end of normal should be.  a total of 9 out of 12 hormones were high (or way higher) than what they should have been!

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 10.26.22 PM

my visit notes with dr. day said:

Overall I’m seeing that your nervous system is quite flared up, but is trying to compensate with high levels of Serotonin and GABA to calm things. Your adrenals/cortisol are overall high, but with a strange dip at 6pm that we’ll need to discuss. Assuming this was a Day 21, your sex hormones actually look quite good, and your melatonin is rocking so I hope you are sleeping well ūüôā¬†

i also got some bloodwork testing done at kaiser, and the results showed:

Blood sugar improving but still high (stress plays a role, also diet/exercise), Ferritin (iron) high end Рorgan meats, oysters and cast iron are factors.  D and B12 levels ok but could be higher, cholesterol ok but keep up the good fats, thyroid is ok (primary focus is adrenals).
HOMEWORK
dr. day gave me some homework, with lots of supplements. ¬†i straight up told her that my max was going to be¬†4 supplements a day, and she respected my boundary, but of course encouraged me to build upon my limit of 4,¬†for best results. ¬†ūüôā
supplements aside, she emphasized the lifestyle changes i¬†needed to make were going to have the biggest impact on my success (read: stress management. sound familiar, sSer’s?). ¬†she thought that the stress of the strict dietary restrictions was a bigger deal than i thought and surprisingly, also said that food reactions weren’t necessarily the first place she looked when addressing her patients imbalances – which was a great relief to me.
here is/was dr. day’s rx for me:
ACTIVITY:
  • More vigorous exercise in the mornings – try this and see how it feels, may help to burn off the excess, and feel more calm and alert through the day. ¬†(ps – for some who are super energy depleted, vigorous exercise may not be the best course of action – restorative yoga or walking may be a better choice; consult a professional for the best + safest results!)
    • done! i got a personal trainer because there was no way i was going to self-start exercise torture.. but¬†am really enjoying the strong empowered feelings from sweating and breathing heavily after said torture ūüôā
  • Calming, centering activities in the evening
    • still hard to get off the electronics, but doing the ny times crosswords (albeit on my phone) and putting on brainwave sleep music via youtube videos with the screen face down works wonders, and gets me snoozing in less than 10 minutes, every time)

JPEG image-79C126880C8D-1

AM SUPPLEMENTS:

  • Probiotics approx 20 billion, away from meals, shelf stable for travel
    • i was already doing this first thing in the AM on on empty stomach so no big deal; but the amount of probiotic bacteria is much higher than what i was taking, a blog post about this should be up soon! ¬†i got these from jarrow. ¬†the kyodophilus that sS carries is shelf-stable, but only has 1-2 billion count bacteria; the jarrow ones i picked up have 25 billion each capsule, plus an enteric coating which helps make sure the bacteria get into the small intestine where it needs to get¬†to to be effective, vs dying the stomach’s acids.)
  • Adrenal ADAPTOGEN for day time, try one of the following:
    • Herbs like Ashwaganda, Holy Basil, Maca, Eleuthero (Rhodiola good option, but caution if too stimulating)
    • Adaptogen Blends sent in Healthwave (dr. day’s online herbal dispensary): HPA Adapt or Gaia Adrenal Support (Caution milky oats allergy) – take 2 AM and another 2 between noon-2pm.
    • L-Theanine – test this out as a single ingredient supplement, start with 100mg – take up to 400mg spread out over the day (200mg twice per day for example)
      • i ended up getting new chapter’s holy basil and took this for the month of january – seemed to work well as i was less stressed and felt more centered, but i was also on vacation for three weeks at the same time so, hard to tell what really did it. ¬†i’ve since run out and bought a tincture instead, but am having trouble keeping up with it.
PM SUPPLEMENTS:
  • Adrenal CALMING for bedtime:
    • Cortisol Manager – take 1, 30-60min before bed (aka “Sleep Tonight!” over the counter)
      • this i take on and off – i hate waking in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, but dr. day said i could take it 1-2 hours before bed. ¬†for some reason though, i feel like this gives me more active dreams (thus not as restful sleep) when i take it, versus when i don’t. ¬†still experimenting with it.
AND WITH MEALS, for GI SUPPORT Рcontinue (And notice what it takes to maintain the relief from the swelling that was happening before)
  • Pure Encapsulations Digestive Enzymes with HCl – 2 or more as needed, with each meal
    • taking this is definitely helpful in my digesting of foods = less bloating, but what really helps the most is if i just avoid the inflammatory foods (for me, it’s wheat, corn, rice, dairy.. eggs i still avoid, but am not sure if they bloat me up; i tested highly negatively to all these foods with dr. fig so dr. day thought it best to keep avoiding, especially since i could feel the negative effects from eating them)
After you get back from Japan, add these as a foundational routine…
  • Vit D – 5,000iu total (2 in multi, 1 in fish oil so take 2 drops of the liquid), take it with a meal that contains fat/oil – retest at Kaiser in about 3 months
  • The Big One Plus – 1 per day, WITH food – contains 2,000iu of Vit D
  • B complex – 1 per day, WITH food – more B12 to help with stress/energy
  • ProOmegaD (caps) – 2 per day WITH food (we didn’t discuss this but please add along with the multi and B complex as a foundational supplement for you… source of good fats and anti-inflammatory and helps calm the adrenals – plus many other long term health benefits.)
    • i was in japan¬†for a few weeks in january and i have to admit, i have not added these yet. ¬†i know, i know! ¬†but will be more accountable since i am back on writing out my experience for the world to hold me accountable!
ALSO:
  • Stop using the cast iron pots and retest ferritin in 3 months
  • Stay off caffeine
  • Continue to avoid/minimize any known/suspected allergens
  • Turn computer screens (and brain) off in the evenings, allow 2 hours (or at least 1 hour) of peaceful and calm time before bed.
    • for the most part, all this was no prob. ¬†i switched out my cast iron for stainless, and an enamel coated aluminum one i got at rainbow grocery. (apparently the enamel makes¬†it safe, since the aluminum is never in direct contact with food).
    • i’m great¬†at avoiding caffeine, except for the VERY rare¬†almond-milk tea tapioca drink from boba guys! ¬†i’ve never been a coffee drinker so this is¬†was easy.
    • allergies have actually been non-existent¬†this year, even with an accidental eye-rubbing-after-a-cat-hair-covered-sofa exposure. ¬†2015 was the worst allergy season i could remember in all my life (likely¬†because my body was already so stressed out, physically and mentally).¬† i got a series or two of treatments at advanced allergy clinics in hayes valley. ¬†yes, it was super expensive, and the technology + science is really out there, but i had tried everything else over the years, and this totally worked for me. ¬†
    • the reactive foods for the most part i am doing ok with, and am occasionally cheating with a bite of the BF’s morning buttered toast, or a few corn chips at lunch. ¬†ūüėČ ¬†and when i do cheat, i definitely feel bloated, and sometimes i’ll even get a headache – so after feeling shitty, that i’m good for a week or two until my¬†next time of weakness. ¬†sigh. ¬†it’s a work in progress.
    • a little bit of crossword and finding my sleep track on my phone, but am trying to catch up on my new yorker + afar magazine back issues more and staying off the blue screens. ¬†i also tried using f.lux for a while, an app designed to eliminate the blue-rays from electronic screens. ¬†i’m not sure if it helped, but it did let me know when it was getting close to bedtime, and drained my battery, which i suppose both help to support the cause?

HOW I’M FEELING NOW

i have to say that since switching over to working with dr. day, i have been feeling much better, and stress has been easier for me to deal with.  stress management was and still is the biggest part of my wellness plan.

i accredit many things to the stress relief i’ve gotten since the first meeting with dr. day. ¬†she opened up my eyes to the possibility of making some drastic moves, in search of greatly improving my quality of life:

  • i (drastically) simplified my work day before it had even started. ¬†i moved from oakland back to san francisco, and traded in my SUPER¬†stressful +¬†ridiculous 1 hour commute (each way, during non-rush hours mind you) to 10 minutes, to work each day. ¬†those traffic days had me arriving to work furious and annoyed, which was not a healthy nor productive way to be, especially as a leader for an awesome team!
  • i asked for, and received, awesome help + support. ¬†liesse really stepped up into her clinic manager role, which has¬†immensely helped¬†unload a lot of the day to day things that kept me from working on the higher-level projects – ones that i was always frustrated about never being able to complete. ¬†and now that lacey is on our management team, she’s been able to help liesse with her duties so that we can all work together to tackle larger projects. ¬†my partner, family and friends also know that i am keeping it low-key and am avoiding certain foods, and support me through the process. ¬†prioritizing relationships that matter the most to me has helped as well; i didn’t want to years to fly by without my seeing my closest girlfriends and their babies grow up! ¬†so i am more, now than ever, putting¬†more effort into keeping in touch with my peeps. ¬†being more active in my professional colleague networks also is great; i can let off steam and share stories of tough times and questionable sanity with a community i can relate to, learn from and laugh with!
  • i started working out. ¬†i bit the bullet and hired a personal trainer. ¬†an accountability buddy would work too, or a strong STRONG sense of willpower. ¬†i needed to get my body moving (aside from walking to the car, and walking from the car to work) and needed someone to motivate me and hold me accountable. ¬†nyrene garces of n-training has been great, supportive, and inspiring. ¬†she comes directly to my house, so i have no excuse to not work out. ¬†it’s a luxury, but hopefully i’ll get myself to a point where i will self-motivate everyday (fingers crossed!). ¬†PLUS, my physical and mental health is not something i can put a price on. ¬†now, when i leave town, i do my best to work out because 1. i miss feeling that positive-attitude and empowered-strength-high from working out, 2. i would like to be buff, fit and fly at some point in my life and 3. i don’t want to eat it hard when i get back into town – nyrene kicks my butt with her action-packed 45-minute¬†exercise routines!
  • i took time off alone¬†to rest, rejuvenate.. and work. ¬†i was fortunate enough to score a black friday deal on those tickets to japan, so i took advantage and went for three weeks, on my own. ¬†with liesse at the helm, i could relax in knowing sS would be ok without me physically being in the office. ¬†being in a space where i didn’t have the distractions of my day to day life at work and home (laundry! ¬†cooking! ¬†cleaning! ¬†social life!) helped me regain some energy and motivation to take care of myself. ¬†i was able to get more¬†fresh air and sunshine, be alone with myself, take my supplements, eat well.. ¬†and since i felt much better overall, i was able to get down to the nitty gritty of some WAY overdue projects i had been putting off, along with keeping up on emails without getting stressed out (or distracted by) the day-to-day happenings in the clinic. ¬†when taking that much time away or finances don’t allow for that long a¬†getaway, going camping, heading to kabuki hot springs or imperial spa for an afternoon, and/or getting massages or taking walk listening to spa music are also great + accessible ways to do you.

i have to honestly say, that i am feeling the best i ever have in the last handful of years, and am doing, thinking, and feeling positively about the future. ¬†the stress of the last several years had definitely turned me down the path of thinking all would be better if i just shut sS down and sold donuts at the mall. ¬†but with all the support and work i am doing on/for myself everyday, i am back on the train to growing sS’s reach, and achieving total world domination ūüôā

i’lll check back after i’ve started taking the recommended supplements and retest to see if my blood work and hormone levels have changed at all, and any other tricks and tips i’ve picked up along the way to help and inspire those who may be affected the same way i was before i got better!