Right now it’s hard to imagine that any good can come out of COVID-19. But I am confident that positive change is already in motion. And as always if you can’t see the change – be the change.
In September 2017 I lived through the chaos that was hurricane Irma. It was the most powerful Atlantic hurricane in recorded history. A Category 5 with winds at the speed of 185 miles per hour for 37 hours. Our little island home and all neighbouring islands were destroyed. For some time it felt like there was no end in sight. And we would have been completely cut off from the world if not for one temperamental satellite phone.
As the months slowly passed and bathing in the sea became normal, new leaves sprang to life on the trees. All around us nature was giving one final burst of life. As exhaustion faded, people started laughing again. We took each day as it came and no longer felt the pressures of emails and social media. The stress of ops reviews and budget meetings had all been replaced with the primal instinct to just survive.
Two years on we are faced with a different type of storm. Our physical isolation from the rest of the world protected us for a time but now, like everyone else we are social distancing and more recently self isolating. If you have experienced life with acne, you are no stranger to either of these tactics to stay away from other people. In fact I would go as far to say as I am a bit of an island myself! While I know some people are really struggling with the concept of not being sociable, that aspect of my life hasn’t really changed. Don’t get me wrong, this virus has completely changed the future that I had planned for myself but I can handle the social distancing bit!
In the same way that this virus is keeping us from living our normal lives, acne has the same affect on people world-wide. They don’t choose to self isolate. They usually believe that no other option is available to them. Acne is not contagious? No. But it is deemed socially unacceptable. (This is changing with the acne positivity movement on social media). And the only way to fit into society, get a job, make friends and live a normal life is to conceal that skin condition.
The last time I was isolated like this because of another reason other than my acne was hurricane Irma. I found myself without a job and the future I had planned for myself was ruined. But what I did have was time. And wasn’t I always saying how little time I had to do things for myself? If you follow my social media account, have a LYS journal or find my blogs helpful, you don’t know it but you have hurricane Irma to thank for it. It was during this really unsettling period of my life that I created Beautiful by Breakfast. I couldn’t see a positive change in my future. I was looking around at the devastation of Irma and felt only despair. So… I decided I would have to be the change.
Of course it is only natural that we should all be worried about the aftermath of this current storm. Life as we know it will be different. But as I said at the beginning – it doesn’t necessarily mean the change has to be all bad. It is not the virus that is shaping our future. But our response to crisis will.
If isolation means you are at home obsessing over your skin, squeezing more than usual or shaming yourself more often because of more mirror time – be the change.
FIND THE CAUSE OF YOUR BREAKOUTS
It was after hurricane Irma when I realised it was the perfect time to understand why I had acne. I spent my days researching about the skin condition itself, joining forums and learning how to eat well for my skin. I was learning so much and with all this new information buzzing around my head I knew I needed to document what I was doing. That’s when I decided to write a blog and use journaling to measure my progress. You might not have considered this yet but the positive of all this social distancing right now, is that you can dedicate this time to yourself. And if nothing else actually use those face masks that you bought with good intentions but never got round to using!
START YOUR IDEAL ROUTINE TODAY
Creating positive change isn’t easy if you don’t have time. I’m always saying that I would love to do something but can’t see where I would fit it into my current day-to-day. But what about now? For example if you’ve always wanted to start your day with yoga or meditation… do it now! If you’ve always wanted to be barefaced… do it now!
If you start implementing these changes today, you will find that your old life will have to fit into your new life and not the other way around. Use this time to ease yourself into a new routine at your own pace in your own home with all this energy that you don’t usually have after a long day at work!
KEEP WORKING ON YOUR CONFIDENCE
You might think because you’re at home you don’t need to work on your confidence. You’re not seeing anyone – no need for social anxiety. But hopefully, sooner rather than later we will be able to see our colleagues, friends and family again! And during this isolation period your skin may of stayed the same, got better or got worse. Or, during this isolation period your mental health may of stayed the same, got better or got worse. Either way at the end of isolation you might feel anxious about seeing people again if the way you feel about your skin hasn’t improved.
GO BARE FACED
Is there a better time to work towards going barefaced? Granted you may still live with people who you don’t feel comfortable exposing your acne to… but take it one step at a time! If you can master feeling comfortable in your own skin at home you will be better prepared going barefaced outside the house! This is not to say that makeup is wrong. It’s about having the choice to cover up rather than feeling like you have to. That being said, some of you might benefit from applying makeup during isolation. Whether it be to prevent you from squeezing or to help you feel more yourself at this unsettling time.
Journaling completely changed my history with acne. I had been struggling with it for thirteen years before I finally found the time and motivation to journal. I’d been told for years about the benefits by professionals yet always dismissed it as a waste of time. But with this new purpose to discover the cause of my breakouts on my own, I finally valued the practicalities of writing things down. Before I had always convinced myself that a new product wasn’t working and gave up before really giving it a chance. I was also going from one thing to another without being able to measure which product/treatment was giving me results. Now when I’m reviewing my progress I can flick through months of data and find patterns that I had never been able to track before.
If you’re thinking of giving journaling a try, take a look at my non-profit acne journal for help getting started.
SHARE YOUR STORY
Part of my acne healing was psycological. And sharing my story kick started the process. It sounds terrifying. And it was initially. But it was also the single most liberating thing I have ever done. I decided to share my story online first. I posted a picture of myself half concealed and half exposing my acne. For some reason I was more comfortable sharing my skin insecurities with the world all at once rather than individuals face to face. I think the main reason is because it spared me their shocked expressions. And the few people that I did see after my post felt able to bring it up in conversation and commend me on my bravery. It felt good. It also didn’t feel like a big deal or the drama that I had built up in my head. People were kind. And it gave them the opportunity to share with me their own insecurities. (A conversation that would never of happened if I hadn’t shared my story first.) I can’t think of a better time to reinvent your online presence – if you want to show the real you.