Whether you have psoriasis or eczema you’ll find that stress can exacerbate your condition and now that December has arrived along with all the obligations that follow, it can be hard to keep up the good routines you normally have to manage symptoms and avoid flare-ups.
Following up on last week’s post on stress and flare-ups during Christmas time, we’ve created a list of 10 beneficial ways to stay in control of your mind, body and hopefully your skin. Avoiding a flare-up during Christmas can be a challenge but by giving these 10 tips a go, you’ll be giving your skin a fighting chance to beat the Christmas blues.
We mentioned in last week’s post that your state of mind can have a big impact on your skin. Give yourself the gift of focusing your energy on the positives and don’t dwell on the negatives. If there is something you’re not able to change, embrace it. Perhaps go for a walk when the weather is especially beautiful, or take time to watch your favorite Christmas movie in order to relax and build up some energy for the more challenging days. The happier your mind, the happier your skin, so in essence: remember to do you!
Do things that give you energy
You probably recognize the sensation of feeling relaxed and calm after having a good laugh? Giggling and laughing is an amazing stress relief and enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulating your heart, lungs and muscles while releasing those endorphins our brains love so much. It also improves your immune system as laughter actually causes the release of neuropeptides that help fight illnesses. Have a laugh with your friends or maybe even go watch a show with your favorite comedian, then things might just feel a little lighter!
Plan your month! If you’re not usually a planner, this December might be the time to get a calendar! Having a busy month is stressful in itself and a stressful mind tends to be more forgetful which will only makes matters worse. A calendar will help you create an overview of your time, so you don’t miss out on appointments. If you’re using the calendar on your smartphone try and add an alarm a few days in advance, and as a bonus, why not use it to book in some time for yourself as well?
During Christmas, you’ll get a lot of invites to social events, not just by friends but by family and work as well. Prioritize the gatherings that are important to you, and don’t feel obligated – nobody will thank you for coming if you’re sitting in a corner all stressed out an unhappy. Make sure you do what’s right for you. You’ll make a better friend, co-worker and family member if you're happy and able to take part in the festivities on your own terms.
A good workout is an excellent way to manage stress. It will not only increase your health and sense of well-being, but it also releases endorphins, leaving you feeling good, and maybe even a little high! Exercising improves sleep as well, and has been found to lower symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Find a fun activity you like, or maybe even a team sport, in order to stay motivated!
Sleep is essential in stress management as our bodies and brains replenish when we’re asleep. Unfortunately, sleep is also one of the first things we give up once we feel stressed – it’s a vicious cycle. Make sure to have a consistent routine of going to sleep and waking up at approximately the same time, even on days when you are off, as this will help you maintain a healthy sleep cycle. You’ll also benefit from avoiding coffee, alcohol and tobacco before going to bed.Also, if you regularly suffer from fatigue, the answer to this unexplained tiredness may lie in the gut, and you might need to use additional methods in order to regain energy - read more on that here.
If you find Christmas time difficult and you're feeling anxious, remember to speak up. People around you will be more understanding than you think, and having the support from family and friends is important in order for you to stay calm in situations where you can feel pressured. If you don’t feel like drinking or you’ve eliminated certain foods from your diet and you’re afraid to be a bother, you’ll get relief from being open and honest. Who knows, maybe you’ll find support in others, learning you’re not the only one trying to avoid falling into bad habits this Christmas.
Don’t forget your daily skincare routine! Whether it’s cleansing or emollient therapy, sticking to these routines are essential when trying to avoid flare-ups. Make sure you’re stocked up on products, especially if you are travelling home for the holidays where the household might use product that are not beneficial for your skin. If you’re afraid to neglect your routine or forget to buy products, remember that HelloSkin provides you with the opportunity to subscribe to your favorite products. We’ll make sure to bring them straight to your door right before your moment of need - find out more here
Stick to your routine
We mentioned this method in our previous blog post and because of it’s significant effects on psoriasis clearance we’ll mention it again.
Mindfulness and meditation is believed to have other beneficial effects on your mind and body, so try and find a few minutes during the day to meditate and create a space of your own. This will help your body manage its stress-responses thus helping both your mental and physical wellbeing. Apps like Headspace can be great to help with this.
Perhaps you didn’t get the right mulled wine and you don’t have time to set the table before your guest arrive? Or maybe you forgot that the Christmas party at work had a red dress code and now it’s too late? Don’t be hard on yourself. Nobody expects you to be perfect, and details will slip through the cracks for all of us this month. Try to shift your focus onto the company you’re with, and enjoy the people in your life instead of worrying about things that aren’t really important – being with others and having a lovely time is what Christmas is all about.
Remember that even though the holidays can feel a bit chaotic, it should also be a fun time. Following these tips will hopefully give you the freedom to be social and festive without having to worry about causing a reaction to your skin. Give it a go and it might just get you through Christmas care-free and flare-free.