Things change when you get sick. You can't exercise the way that you used to, your clothing doesn't fit the way it used to (usually from fluctuating weight), and your skin shows every tired wrinkle & dark circle. And that's because when you have an illness it literally can suck the life out of you. When you are in so much pain and going through so many things day in and day out, you become stressed and it shows on every single part of your body. This comes full circle when you look tired and beaten-down and it makes you feel even more tired and beaten down.
So, I thought I would share some rituals I started when I moved home that really helped me feel a lot better. Because if I had to look at brittle hair, unkempt nails, and grey clogged skin, I would have already had a meltdown by now. I know its just not possible for me to handle that when I was so used to always getting pampered before. In general, as women, we probably all used to have oodles of beauty rituals & services we did to keep ourselves looking fresh & glowing (pre-Lyme). Now, however I moved these things to a DIY home setting that is easy, relaxing, and doesn't use much energy at all (that we already don't have).
Some people like to have a spa day, but usually I don't have the energy to do everything in one day. Also, spreading it out helps give you more things to look forward to. Sometimes I will do 1 or 2 at a time, other times just do 1. You have to find what works for you. The highlighted links go to the products I use as well as the DIY tutorials if you are interested! Okay.. so to begin.
1. Hair Masks: I splurged on a few fancy ones with Keratin & silk proteins, and a great Moisturizing Kerastase one. However, I also love to do DIY hot oil treatments (from oils most of us have in the pantry). You can also make your own DIY protein pack mask with eggs, yogurt, and avocado's. Whichever route you choose, I love to put on a good hair mask under a shower cap & a warm towel. I usually let it sit for an hour or so while I relax (some you can do overnight), and when I wash it out my hair feels silky and full of body and life. It's like a recharge button for your hair. I do quick 10 minute ones in the shower weekly, and try to do a longer more intensive one at least once every few weeks.
2. Face Masks: Back in my healthy days I would religiously get facials & microdermabrasions. My skin would glow, and it was wonderful. However, 1. They were crazy expensive 2. I didn't take great care of my skin in between services, so I relied solely on those (not the smartest idea). I actually find it much better to invest in (or make) a few great face masks and do one weekly. I actually have 2 masks. One is a Clay Mud Mask that I let sit for about 20 minutes, and the other I use right after is an Intensive Moisturizing Mask which you actually just leave on (the skin soaks it in over time). Honestly I have been doing weekly masks for a long time and it's been as good if not better than my old expensive habits. I have friends tell me I look healthy, and that my skin looks great. Sometimes people even think I am wearing makeup, which I really never am. Now don't get me wrong, my skin will still rebel time to time because I'm still 25 and my endocrine system is crazy from Lyme & co's. But, I can only imagine how it would be without this.. yikes. Anyway, face masks are really low energy, you just wash your face, put it on, and then lay back down until it's ready to be washed off. The best part is that there are lots of DIY masks you can make from items in your pantry/fridge. So this beauty habit doesn't even have to be expensive, and personally I think it makes you feel pampered and fresh.
3. Manicure/Pedicure: Mani/Pedi's take a little more effort, but I like to make the soaking part relaxing. I have a Conair foot bath which vibrates & heats the water so it's like having a little spa right in your home. You can put this on your bed, put your feet in, and lay back and relax. Added bonus is to put some epsom salt in the foot bath (to detox), and put one of those cooling eye masks on while your resting. This gives you a good 30 minutes of bliss. When you're done you just have to do the usual cuticles, trimming, and filing to your nails. If you chose to, you can also paint your nails, or just toss on a clear coat for shine. (You can repeat this for your finger nails). I would say going to get this done professionally will always trump DIY, but for the sake of us who have limited income to spend on these things, or those of us who can't go out for a mani/pedi every other week, it works great. And personally it makes me feel much better when my nails are kept up & shiny.
4. Bubble bath: A bubble bath with the lights turned down low is honestly one of the most relaxing things you can do. Put on some music that is soothing, or listen to a book on tape while you soak. When you are finished with the bubble bath portion you can add in a full body sugar scrub. Exfoliating the skin after a bath is the best way to buff off old skin cells and it helps to make your skin on the body glow as well. A bubble bath ever week or every few weeks is a good way to decompress. There are a lot of DIY sugar scrubs which you can add essential oils into (added bonus). Also, these make great gift for any Lymie/chronic illness warrior. You can make a scrub, package it up in a mason jar, and add a bubble bath on the side :)
There are lots of other things you can do outside of this. Browse catalogs and magazines and make a vision book where you rip out ideas or clothes you want for when you get better. Start collecting ideas of everything you want to do, or trends you want to try, and put them into this book. This can even span into recipes you want to make when your diet changes, etc. This idea isn't quite a beauty/appearance type thing, however I find it can help to boost how you feel by daydreaming about life post Lyme. You will get there, we will ALL get there. Until then, some pampering and browsing never did any harm :)