2020 has been a crazy year for everyone. With the coronavirus global pandemic, the world is currently upside down with lots of uncertainties ahead of us. I am currently living in Toronto where the city has declared a municipal emergency on March 23rd. Everyone is advised to stay home and only essential businesses are open with shortening hours. Restaurants are only doing take-outs and small businesses are struggling to make a living. My family all lives in Hong Kong and I am currently financially independent. Therefore, I can’t be more grateful that I can work from home as a health coach/nutritionist and be able to provide for myself. I had a skin complication on March 12th and was prescribed with a high dosage of antihistamine – which suppresses the immune system. It was nerve-wracking to take the crowded public transit because of my compromised immune system. Luckily, my skin was able to recover and I stopped the medication on March 19th. I have been practicing social distancing and working from home for two weeks. Since I don’t need to spend 2 hours daily in commuting, I am devoting more time to focus on myself. Here is what I have been doing daily to heal and strengthen the immune system:
13 Months Topical steroid withdrawal (TSW)
I have come a long way, and fortunately, my condition is getting more stable. I am feeling more like myself and getting less self-conscious. To people who want to start TSW but have been contemplating, this is the perfect time to start. With self-isolation, you would be able to focus on your health and healing. The start of TSW is extremely difficult with red skin syndrome, oozing, pain and intense itchiness that can disrupt your sleeping and daily schedule and put you at a vulnerable state – both physically and mentally. I understand how it would be a tough decision to start when you need to go to work and school every day. When I first started TSW – which I didn’t know it was TSW until month 2, I was in the last semester of university and skipped most of the classes. Then, I spent 5 months in Hong Kong mostly staying at home with my family. I truly admire people who have the strength and endurance to fight TSW while carrying on with their usual life. Taking the time off to combat TSW and heal my skin naturally was the best decision I have made. Therefore, if you have been thinking about getting rid of your topical steroids and medications, make today your day 1 and do it for your future self.
No Moisturizing Treatment (NMT)
No Moisturizing Treatment was founded by Dr. Kenji Sato in Japan. This treatment was specifically designed for people who are diagnosed with eczema or TSW. I came across this term from other fellow TSW warriors and decided to give it a try in June 2019. I stopped in October 2019 because winter in Toronto made it tough to continue the treatment. With self-isolation, I decided to start NMT again. I stopped using moisturizers and limited showering to 2-3 times a week. My skin wasn’t as itchy, swollen and tight as last time doing NMT. The main idea is to let your skin and ooze dry and allow your skin to regain its healing and self-moisturizing power. To learn more about NMT, you can check out Tokuku’s blog here or this blog post from AtopicDermatitis.net.
I have been on a dairy and gluten-free diet for a year. I became gluten-free in 2019 because I developed a life-threatening allergy to wheat that brought me near-death experience. I have always been allergic to shellfish and nuts but not wheat, so eliminating all gluten in my life was tremendously painful. I didn’t take the IgE result seriously at the beginning and learned it the hard way for numerous times that trace amount of gluten can still fuck me up (excuse me for my language). There is only a limited options for eating out which is why I cook for myself most of the time. I have found a way to make my food allergens-free, clean, balanced and healthy yet delicious. Gluten-free but doesn’t taste gluten-free. Besides my never-ending list of food allergies, I also avoid inflammatory foods in my diet. I have been trying to perfect my gluten-free pancake recipe, and hopefully, I would be able to upload it for you guys soon.
For supplementation, I am still taking prebiotics (raw unmodified potato starch), probiotics (50 billion CFU) and omega-3 (contains vitamin D) daily. Lately, I have also been taking Chaga mushroom extract and turmeric ginger extract from Botanica for extra immune support.
*This blog post is not sponsored by Bontanica*
For the last 3 months, I have been getting into meditation and it is absolutely life-changing to me. It changes my perspectives and belief system and helps me to heal my body, mind and soul. Meditation is not only beneficial to our mental health but studies also suggest that mindfulness has profound effects on lowering stress and hence improving immune function. To fully heal our body, we need to heal our soul. Prolonged self-isolation can have detrimental effects on our mental health so taking care of our mental and physical health is equally important. I practice gratitude in the morning daily by thinking about 3 things I’m thankful for today. Social distancing doesn’t mean emotional distancing, so don’t forget to spend time with friends or family virtually. Also, focus on a positive mindset – be with people who uplift our energy. Click here to see my 1-year TSW blog post for more inspiration on practicing gratitude and changing our old belief system.
I have also been doing sleep hypnosis by Michael Sealey every day before bed and getting to know more about the energy field and manifestation. What you think about, you bring about. I am on my journey to manifest clear skin – starting by loving my skin despite how bad it is and writing down positive affirmations. To those who are interested in spirituality, I would love to talk more about meditation in a separate blog post and share my experience with you in the future.
Some music I enjoy listening to calm my mind:
Physical activity can help manage stress, promote sleep quality and strengthen the immune system. I haven’t been active for more than a year due to my skin condition. A few months before TSW, I started getting hives, rashes and breathing issues when I exercised. The idea of being active again gave me anxiety. Now that my skin is recovering, I know I am capable of exercising again. I have been procrastinating for months to get the membership of the gym located right below my workplace. With all the free time at home, I started working out again and my body is feeling better than ever.
I started Chloe Ting’s 30-day challenge which involved 30-40 minutes of HIIT training daily. Here is the link: https://www.chloeting.com/program/2019/booty-challenge.html?fbclid=IwAR28Lf5gTkSzBwluqC7KYVsOhnYHTld7fSGxzNA2PfIimn_EiKc-lUGOQ34
Since I am coaching people who are overweight or obese and elderly, I have been recommending some of them to try out yoga at home during self-isolation. This motivates me to get into yoga in the coming week so I can gain more experience and benefit from it as well. Not to mention, yoga nurtures our body, mind and soul, enhances our energy flow and stimulates the body’s natural healing power. Yoga with Adriene is an amazing Youtube channel I came across:
Thank you for reading the whole post. I hope that this post can inspire you to stay positive, healthy and active during self-isolation. Remember – life is tough, but so are you. You are not alone on this journey. If you have any questions about TSW or need support, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or the TSW community.