If there’s anything I’ve learned from having a progressive chronic condition and disabilities, it’s that focusing on the things we can’t control is pointless and downright depressing. We will get through this together by staying positive and focusing on the things we can do right now for ourselves and each other.
To say these are unprecedented & scary times is an understatement. Like most of you, I’m trying my best to stay positive with all of the daily changes, temporary losses, and unknowns.
We have no idea what’s gonna happen tomorrow, but one of the things we can control is how we take care of ourselves while social distancing for however long we need to.
When going to the grocery store or pharmacy is your only outing for the week, you may feel less than motivated to put any effort towards your appearance. I get it. It takes a lot of effort to change out of last night’s pajamas in order to begin yet another day that feels like a 2020 nightmare remake of Groundhog Day.
But this is not a free pass to stress eat Oreos all day (although they are really good ) while binge watching CNN. Slacking on all the things that help us feel good about ourselves will make this harder in the here & now. It will ultimately take a long-term toll on our self-esteem & health post quarantine.
You’ve probably seen the Giphy illustrating how we’ll all look in a month. It show unruly eyebrows, gray hair, weight gain, long fingernails etc. It’s funny and also somewhat accurate for those of us who rely on our gyms, blow-dry bars, aestheticians, hair colorists, and manicurists for help with self-maintenance.
I know, play the violins – Please know that this post is not at all meant to minimize or forget the fact that thousands of people are on ventilators fighting for their lives, and others are terrified about how they will literally pay their bills and put food on their table with no weekly paycheck coming in.
Personally, I’m choosing to look at this social distancing time as a 30 day challenge to get into the best physical, emotional, and mental shape I can. With my 50th birthday coming up (omg) in September, I’m working on both my inside and out. Once this thing ends (and it will), I’ll come out of it looking & feeling like the best me ever.
Do you want to join me? Here are some disability friendly self care products, websites, and tips I’m using to look and feel my best at home.
FOR YOUR HAIR
This inexpensive blow-dryer/straightener/brush is surprisingly lightweight and easy to hold with my funky CMT hands. I have really thick hair that would normally take me hours to blow-dry smooth which is why I normally get weekly blow-drys by a professional. It took me 15 minutes (no exaggeration) total using the tool below and my hair was as straight and smooth as if I had gone to a salon.
If I attempted to color my own hair, it would be disastrous! Hopefully, the quarantine will end before I’m 100% gray. If not, I’ll be stocking up on my favorite root touch up spray. I’ve tried other brands, but this one lasts longest and doesn’t leave stains on my fingers and everywhere else.
I’m putting my hair in a lot of ponytails these days. These elastic hair ties are the best! They are extremely flexible and don’t break even with the thickest of hair. If you have fine motor difficulties, you’ll especially love them as they are easy to stretch without breaking.
FOR YOUR FACE
I wouldn’t even attempt to use tweezers as I have no pincher grip. If you are like many of us over 40 who wake up with random stray chin hairs, this electric facial hair remover is da bomb!
This one is for exfoliating the skin.
With no facials or Botox appointments in the near future, there are a few higher end skin care tools I’m using while I have the time. I did some homework before purchasing. I spent hours reading reviews & results from clinical trials, etc. I’m really excited to see the results & hopefully will save money in the long run with no need for Botox or expensive spa treatments. I’ll make sure to report back.
This one is for cleansing and exfoliating the skin:
This one is to get rid of fine lines, wrinkles and tighten the jawline:
I’ve also been using Beautycounter’s entire anti-aging skincare line for almost 6 months now and I’m obsessed with it. In this Post I go into detail about why Beautycounter products are fabulous for all types of skin.
FOR YOUR BODY
In my, Best Apps for People With Disabilities Post, I list several free Apps I use regularly when I can’t get to the gym and grocery store. Also, there are some for mindful eating and stress release.
With all this at home time, boredom snacking is a reality. To prevent calorie overload & weight gain, I’m trying to be diligent about tracking what I eat using the free version of Myfitnesspal. I’m also taking advantage of the free 90 day offer from Pelaton and modifying some of their bike, strength training, and TRX workouts. Btw, if you don’t already own a TRX, it’s a great workout for people with disabilities as you can hold on to the straps for balance when doing squats and many other exercises requiring balance. I have mine attached to the ceiling, but you can also attach it to a door.
As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of Pilates for people with neuromuscular disorders and credit my practice of it with helping to slow down the progression of my Charcot Marie Tooth Disorder.
Since I can’t go to my Pilates studio, I’m loving the Coreplus Reformer below because it’s a substitute (and an inexpensive one) for the Pilates reformer classes I can’t take right now. You can use the included DVD, or I found a ton of classes on YouTube with full body Pilates workouts using this product. Definitely check it out:
To prevent callous build-up on my funky CMT feet, I use an electric callous remover religiously.
Also, if you can afford it (it’s not cheap), I’m using the NuBody toning device on a daily basis. It’s the only FDA approved at home device for the body that uses microcurrent technology to tighten the skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite anywhere on your body. I’ve been using it on my thighs since the quarantine started. I’ll let you know how this goes as well.
And if you don’t want your shower to look like a crime scene from CSI…
FOR YOUR MIND
One of the silver linings of this pandemic, is the number of amazing classes and resources that companies have made available for us to use remotely. If you want to learn Spanish or to play the guitar, there’s an app for that. There’s basically a website or app available now for almost everything you can think of.
I downloaded Coursera, and I’m excited to begin Yale University’s free college course called The Science of Well Being which they are offering free for 90 days. Also, Penn University’s class called, Positive Psychology: Reslience Skills is another one on my list (only free for 7 days) and is pretty apropos given our current reality.
If you want to learn a new skill (literally anything), the app Skillshare is fabulous. Many classes are currently free of charge here too.
If you don’t already subscribe to Audible, this is a great time as they are currently offering free audio books for kids. I just listened to an amazing book (the kind you can’t put down and cry when it ends) by Lori Gottlieb called You Should Talk To Someone. My book group is actually gonna try to discuss it via video conferencing tonight. I’m excited to be connecting with my group this way!
EVEN MORE FREE STUFF TO KEEP YOU SMILING
- Watch the animals via webcams at places like Smithsonian’s National Zoo or the San Diego Zoo
- Watch penguins take a field trip to visit other animals at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium via Facebook.
- Take virtual tours of some of the world’s finest museums and art galleries.
- Take virtual Disney rides
- Take a Street Art virtual walking tour
- Go on a virtual nature walk. (The National Parks Service partnered with Google to follow park rangers through some of America’s most stunning and challenging terrains, from the Alaskan Glaciers to Utah’s Bryce Canyon.)
- Go under the sea on a virtual dive, thanks to National Marine Sanctuaries.
We will get through this together and it will end. It’s crucial for both your emotional, mental, and physical well-being to remain active and strong. Remember: This will end! I hope the above self-care websites and apps and products are helpful. I would love to hear what you think of them and what you’re using to look and feel your best at home. Please let me know in the comment box below.
PS. If you’re still bored, you can always shop my pics for the best spring shoes for afos.