This year I am joining darling Franny and a big group of other bloggers
and Facebookers in Bat Fit. My ultimate goals are not clearly defined
but I have a list of changes I want to make during 2017.
What I really want is to get back to myself, to really feel like me,
and by finding some balance (inside and out) I am hoping to end up there.
The skin and hair care regime
I have very dry skin. I also have thin dry hair and brittle nails.
Everything on my outside (and inside - I drink gallons of water)
needs extreme hydration, and I have been using hydrocortisone
for blemishes for years. But I have finally read up on silicones and sulfates,
and for those who are still confused, here is the cliff-notes version:
Silicones in themselves are neither cleansing nor hydrating agents,
they are basically sealants used in almost every skin care product
and hair conditioner. But because most of them are non-water soluble
they demand harsh cleaning agents to wash out. Enter sulfates.
Sulfates are very effective cleaning agents used in everything
from industrialized cleaners to your shampoo. The problem is
they are as dehydrating to skin and hair as they are to everything else,
forcing us to re-hydrate (with silicone based products) once again.
I never use any soap on my face, and I only use a gentle soap
from the pharmacy for other chosen parts of the body. I stopped
using conditioner about a year ago, realizing it only made my hair flatter
and not actually better. If the ends are dry I rinse with apple cider vinegar,
or use a little oil. I switched to a shampoo without sulfates and decided
to only wash my hair once a week to see if it will make a difference.
When my parents came back from France last they brought me some
high-end olive oil, and I decided to use it for skin and hair care only.
I rub it all over after my bath (instead of a lotion with 30 ingredients)
and my skin actually feels different already - softer, younger.
My face, the driest and most sensitive part, will take longer to adjust
to the olive oil treatment. I can already see blemishes fading away,
and I have been using 100% natural baby oil together with my facial lotion
for many years, but at night my face is still crying out for its 'sealant'.
I have sleep-onset insomnia, which means I have difficulties falling asleep.
If I fall asleep I can usually sleep all night, if not straight through the night
(I wake up at the slightest cat noise). But it doesn't matter how tired I am
- sluggish brain and body, cranky mood, blurred vision - I just don't get sleepy.
I have been taking Zolpidem/Ambien for years. Without them I would
probably only sleep every 2 or 3 nights and my days would all be hell.
The problem with the drug is dependency; one needs to increase the dose
over time as the body gets used to it. Luckily I have been able to increase
it very little and only take 1½ per night but, since my insomnia is linked to my
chronic depression and anxiety, I don't know if I will ever be able to do without.
I have been trying to improve my sleep hygiene. I have put up black-out blinds,
gotten an electrical blanket (sleeping in a cool environment is not for me)
and I have increased the amount of pillows in the bed (to feel safe).
I have tried switching off the TV/laptop/phone an hour before bed, but for someone
like me the dark and quiet only kicks my thoughts into high gear. I have tried
different sleep noises (rain, waves etc) but I find them mostly annoying.
The last few months I have experienced some truly erratic sleep behavior
so what I am doing now is quitting the alcohol for a while (more on that
in part 2) and I am starting to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day.
The value of proper sleep cannot be over-estimated.
I have a longer list of things I want to change in 2017 so I will also
be posting a part 2 and 3 of my Bat Fit intentions during January
covering food, alcohol, meds/doctors/therapy and my new work situation.
Once February rolls around I am hoping to start seeing some changes.