We are in full lockdown for the third time in a year. If you are anything like me, you will be feeling tired, scared and worn down by the never-ending cycle of everything shutting down and opening up again.
It has been an especially difficult year for me. I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in January and started neoadjuvant chemotherapy in February. I haven’t stepped foot in a shop since. In fact, I have hardly stepped anywhere – save for hospital. I’ve been frightened beyond belief throughout the pandemic – by the virus, not the cancer.
I underwent a total mastectomy and lymph node clearance in October, and am now waiting to have 15 days of radiotherapy. (I’m not in a hurry!) To say the past year has been thoroughly depressing would be an understatement. And that is why I value treats. Not of the chocolate kind, because steroids have given my features a distinctly more rounded appearance. I am talking about a good, old-fashioned pampering. Although, I do still hanker after a family-size bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk!
Chemotherapy drys out the skin, particularly on the hands, arms and feet. A good body lotion has been akin to a glass of ice cold Prosecco on a hot summer’s day, I can assure you.
If you are feeling weary, here are my tried and tested ways to beat the blues. I am determined to emerge from this nightmare looking and feeling utterly fantastic.
A Change Is As Good As A Rest
One of the biggest thrills I’ve had since the summer is trying out new skin care products – delivered to my door. I have bought trial-size gift sets, which have not just piqued my resolve to improve my skin but encouraged me to stick to a regime. I love unboxing the sets to take a closer look at what I’ve bought. There are lots of kits out there, some as cheap as £15! I’ve come across sets that promise dramatic results in as little as a month. This 30 Days Miracle Starter Kit is next on my must-buy list.
The important thing to remember about this type of pampering is that it encourages good habits. I am a firm believer in routine being the most beneficial aspect of skin care, regardless of the product. So ensuring that routine is fun is key to keeping it going.
If you want to go the extra mile, invest in some face masks or soothing balms. Ahh…
Press Your Reset Button In Lockdown
Rediscovering faintly-remembered fragrances can enhance the mood. Lavender and Honey spa sets often transform bath-time, leaving you smelling great and feeling thoroughly relaxed. I’ve gone for inexpensive, but beautifully presented, sets that have included everything from bubble bath and shower gel to body lotion, bath salts and luxurious sponges. (I hate those cheap synthetic things. They come with so many products these days but never get used in my house. I can’t stand the feel of them on my skin. Anyone else feel the same?)
Another way to pamper yourself is to gently massage essential oils into the arms and legs. It’s surprising how dry they can become when you are stuck indoors for days on end. I use a fragrance-free moisturising cream, as advised, on my mastectomy site.
Once you are happy with the condition of your skin, you may want to consider gently building a fake tan – so you will look as though you have spent weeks lazing on a beach, even if you haven’t ventured further than your garden shed.
To top things off, give your nails a good cut and shape, and choose a polish that will brighten up your hands as well as your spirits.
Here’s to better days to come. But, in the meantime, why not use the current lockdown period to give yourself the treats you deserve – so you re-enter the world feeling rejuvenated and fresh?
Tip: Take a look at what’s on offer in the Neal’s Yard Remedies range.