hey y’all, kim here currently in tokyo holed up in my tiny airbnb apartment safely sheltering in place. i hope you are holding it down, staying healthy and sane.
a couple of clients emailed to ask about how to deal with life as it is right now, and what to do about mask-ne (acne you’re getting from wearing masks!). here are the thoughts i jot down and sent them, and hope you find them helpful too.
basically everything we’ve ever taught you about living a low-inflammatory, acne-safe lifestyle are the same things that should bring stability and calm in your life during this stressful time. sleeping and eating at regular times, exercising daily, managing your stress in whatever ways work best for you, etc etc – no magic silver bullet, all the same shit. 🙂
i’ve been incorporating all of these while trying to practice extra compassion for myself which i think has been working – along with cooking all of my meals, i’ve finally gotten to a place where i’m razor-focused on (finally) finishing up the acne book! (i’m two weeks in, and i hope to have it all finished by the end of may. wish me luck!)
hoping these resources help you out, let me know if you have other ideas to share, want me to cover more areas or find more resources for you.
SHELTER IN PLACE LIFESTYLE
- @lalahdelia – author of ‘vibrate higher daily’, a beautiful black woman author, spiritual writer and wellness educator
- @the.holistic.psychologist – queer psychologist nicole lepera tells it like it is, speaks truths you didn’t even know you needed to disseminate and process; boundaries, trauma, addiction, ego, self-betrayal, all of it. really really deep work that i’m so grateful for her making so accessible and easy to understand.
- @repairing_the_nervous_system – jessica macguire out of australia (i think?), she speaks specifically how to self-regulate the nervous system through trauma and the body
- @kanpobliss – dr. jun negoro, an acupuncturist i have been following for years on IG and finally got to meet while in singapore earlier this year. she breaks down TCM into easy to understand (and cute!!) posts, and her app is impressively amazing and free! a great tool to easily integrate some TCM knowledge and practice into your life.
- my favorite 30-minute cardio workout videos
- ambient + instrumental music that allows me to drop into a focused work-from-home-state
- music to cook and eat and relax to
- cooking videos of things i’ve tried or want to! (the 2 ingredient sweet potato rotis have been my fave! and can use any flour you have on hand, and even do 2 parts potato and 1 part flour vs the video’s 1:1)
ALL THOSE MUNCHIES YOU ARE EATING
- try eating only sweets that you make. this is how i’ve been getting through it (especially since i don’t want to go out, and food made by others you don’t know what’s in them, and refined sugar is high). michael pollan in one of his books wrote, it’s ok to eat junk food if you make it yourself; chances are you will just eat less of it, appreciate it more, and use better quality ingredients
- try eating fruit as a sweet instead of something that has straight-up sugar in it
- try using low glycemic sugars like coconut sugar, jaggery or treacle to replace regular cane sugar in your recipes. jaggery or treacle you can find at ethnic food markets so you’ll be supporting small local biz while avoiding crowded big box stores too 🙂 (ps, you can usually reduce sugar in recipes by half, and the finished thing will come out totally ok!)
- i personally also make it a rule to eat savory food first and eat a sweet afterward (or as an isolated afternoon snack) as a treat, to keep my (usually high) blood sugar stable.
- lastly, a tip that i got from my mama: brush your teeth immediately after eating. this for some reason helps me not crave sweets after getting my mouth all minty fresh. i’d say it works about 95% of the time – but maybe moreso because i’m just too lazy to brush my teeth again 🙂
MOVE YA BODY
- man this is tough for me too, always has been. but, i have been doing 20-30 minute workouts (here’s my youtube list) and on @popsugarfitness ‘ IGTV, because when you think about it, 20-30 minutes really isn’t that much time. you can do anything for 20 mins. or maybe even 10! anything to start, you’ll likely keep going once you get started and get over the hump. with that in mind, i’m more motivated to get a short but effective workout in before i eat breakfast. it also helps me concentrate better, and be in a much better and healthier mood. (tip: you can watch IG TV on your desktop, just go to their profile and click the IGTV icon underneath their highlights; makes for much easier viewing while following along)
- try to exercise without thinking about it. just do it first thing when you wake up and put your workout clothes on. the 30 mins you’d take waffling back and forth about it will be over and you’d have already been done with your workout!
- if you can get outside while social distancing safely, getting out into nature or just outside for a walk in fresh air (with a mask) counts too. now (or ever) is not the time to guilt yourself for not training for a crazy marathon. just getting out of the house (even just sitting on your stoop or on the roof) for some direct exposure to natural weather elements definitely counts for something.
- keeping a daily schedule is helpful just so there is some structured flow in your day. this can include showering first thing in the am, putting on an “outside” outfit even if working from home, and then changing back into pj’s after a nice nighttime bath to prepare for bed.
GENERAL PHYSICAL HEALTH STUFF:
- eating enough at regular times is really important. there’s a huge tendency to snack all day and that can mess with the digestion, not giving the stomach enough time in between digesting meals to create more of the digestive juices needed for your guts to break down and assimilate the food we eat. finding an activity or hobby to keep you occupied will help boredom munchies 😉
- keeping a regular bedtime is also super important; i get into bed at 10, read a book and aim to sleep by 11 latest.
- ok so a client emailed about drinking “several matcha teas a day” – maybe you can relate to caffeine consumption or any other excessive thing you’re doing now that you don’t do “normally”. and so i wrote: hopefully you are making them and not drinking bottled sugary/dairy stuff. can you think about what you are compensating for in drinking so much caffeine? is it just something you’re doing without thinking about it, or are you super tired because your sleep schedule is wonky? in any case, these are things to think about, evaluate and adjust. personally,i alternate between matcha, golden milk, ginger and chocolate drinks i make myself with water, nut milks and a tiny bit of coconut sugar.
- it’s a great time to google recipes to try! i’ve bookmarked a ton of recipes i always wanted to try and never got to do them til now, like a 2 ingredient sweet potato roti, 2 ingredient paleo banana pancake, banana oatmeal cookies and savory recipes from all over the world – think of your favorite dishes to order when you go to eat thai or chinese for example.
- or support your local small businesses for new food ideas – think bodegas, ethnic grocery stores, or restaurants that are offering pickup. there are tons of gems out there if you take the time to try out a new spice mix or tamale joint.
GENERAL GET YOUR MIND RIGHT MENTAL HEALTH STUFF:
- you all know by now that i love using the‘simple habit’ meditation app; there are soooo many well-curated gems in there and this app has helped me so much through my last several stressful years. the link will give you 2 weeks for free.
- journaling / writing things down / lists help me get my thoughts, frustrations, fears, dreams and ideas out of my head, which helps my mind settle for bedtime / be generally less stressed out throughout the day
- make sure to get some laughs in your day; @thedailyshow and @sarahcpr on IG have been keeping me informed but in a way that emits laughs. oh man. classic stand-up shows are also really good.
- keep in touch with folks, staying in touch with your community and those you love can make or break your day. this is a PERFECT opportunity to catch up with people you’ve been meaning to get to know better, or spend more time with, like elders in your neighborhood
- i’ve personally been very triggered by the current events in the us (political, racial violence), so i try to limit my exposure/reading of that stressful media AND do what i can to act on the cause; to me this means raising awareness and writing emails to government offices, signing petitions. seeing the shit and not doing anything about it makes me feel powerless and defeated, so doing even one small thing helps me feel more empowered and less depressed about the world.
- it helps to get friends on board, or at least know what you’re up to. if you have roommates you can let them know that you want to work in healthier habits and maybe they can join in with you, or at least morally support you.
MASK-NE: if you’re breaking out from wearing all these damn masks
- ice as per usual, maybe even more. it’s definitely meditative so will do double duty in calming your nerves by taking your mind off everything else except the freezing cold
- consider taking the supplements optizinc or zyflamend for systemic inflammatory support; a nurse client has done this for years and it’s helped (we stopped selling them but you can easily find them online)
- if you can wear a new clean fabric mask that you switch out every day vs those paper n95 type / breath-restricting kinds every day that would be better for breathability and skin friction but if you can’t there’s not much room to work with 🙁 i ordered a mask and matching headwrap from this lovely nigerian-born-in-italy-scientist-turned-designer iffy of olive ankara i met in singapore that allows you to tuck a surgical mask inside the washable cloth mask, so finding or making something like this could be good. those clear plastic face shields are good too, but aren’t to replace masks. (ALSO scroll down to see sS’er marissa making masks by hand in the bay for donations or free!)
- try to stay inside safe spaces where you don’t need to wear masks as much as you can ie at home and when alone in your car
- wash your face and ice as soon as you get home and if you can, tolerate toner / exfoliate
- manage other inflammatory factors as much as possible incorporating stress management, emotional support, self-compassion, low glycemic diet, regular sleep habits, hydration etc etc. all the healthy things we teach you is to keep inflammation down
- at this point it is what it is and this all we can do. stay strong and rest in the fact you know what your acne is from and know what to do to get rid of it as soon as you’re able (to stop wearing the masks!)
- come for treatment when the clinic opens back up, but know that repeated wearing of the masks will still pose the same irritations
IF YOU’RE BREAKING OUT IN GENERAL
- tone – probably 5% if you can tolerate that twice a day. if not, then 2.5% once then twice til you run out then 5%
- hydrating gel or rejuvenation serum if you have/need it
- spf in the day and hydrating cream at night
SHAMELESS sS’er PLUGS:
a couple of our fab clients are doing great things for the community and i want to share them with you! check these ladies out and give them a shout. and please let me know if you’re doing something awesome you’d like me to share too 🙂
sS’er marissa (@marissadpoulin) has been getting crafty and is making masks for donations (and for free if you can’t donate). she’s got several fabrics to choose from – check her out on IG if you are interested 🙂
AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, KERRY’S NEW INSTAGRAM!