This content reflects the views of the individual blogger and is not intended to advise you about your health. Always seek advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professionals.
Stress is a trigger for me and my psoriasis. Currently working from home, completing a post grad uni course, being mummy to a 3-year-old and trying to juggle life in general all whilst under strict restrictions due to COVID-19. If you are finding things tough, know that you are not alone. I have had a few messages on Instagram from fellow psoriasis warriors who are finding lockdown hard and on top of winter and being indoors more with the central heating blasting and also recovering from the excess of the festive season.
Many of us are going through tough periods right now and this can have an adverse effect on our mental health and also our skin. Here are just a few ways to try and help give you a positive outlook in these uncertain times.
When things are feeling tough or you are feeling isolated it is so important to reach out to others and ask for help and talk through your worries and problems. As the old saying goes ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. You may have friends or family members you can speak to. Let them know what your expectations are, are you asking for their advice or are you wanting to just rant? Tell them how you are feeling by call or text, or if you can meet up while sticking to current guidelines, even better.
If you feel there is no one in your close circle you feel comfortable to talk to, remember there are plenty of charities to reach out to with help lines and online advice. Remember there is also a supportive online community on all of the social media platforms and using hashtags such as #psoriasis and #psoriasiswarrior is a great way to find like-minded accounts and people to reach out to.
Box your worries away
Writing down your thoughts and feelings can sometimes help to clear your mind a little and allow you to focus on the things that really matter. When you have a particular worry or recurring negative thought pattern you appear to be stuck with, write it down and place it in a box, and place that worry box on a high shelf or in a cupboard. The physical act of writing it down, reading it back, putting it away and shelving it should go some way to help you let go of those feelings and to separate your thoughts from your present moment.
Move, move, move
Daily movement can help improve your mood and flood your body with necessary endorphins which can make you feel better. If you can get outdoors this will give the added benefit of Vitamin D and fresh air. It may be as simple as going for a walk, a brisk 15-minute walk around the block or a 5k hike in the countryside if walking is your choice of exercise. Or if you prefer a guided exercise class there are plenty online but let’s not forget your local gyms and PTs who may be needing your support and offering outdoor, socially distanced classes or workouts online too. Any movement can help though, dancing while waiting for the kettle to boil, run up and down the stairs as you tidy up or playing tag with the kids may not feel like purposeful exercise, but if you’re moving that’s all that matters.
A wish jar
Every time you wish you could go somewhere or do something specific, write it down on a slip of paper and pop your wish somewhere safe like a jar. The jar is a way of keeping track of all the things you would like to do when restrictions are eased without dwelling on them or having the kids bombard you with the same request day in day out. It may be big things like a dream holiday destination, smaller things like a trip to the cinema or seeing a special someone they can’t wait to visit like baking with Auntie Sue. I decorated an empty jar with my daughter, which made it special and looked pretty for keeping it in a prominent place in our kitchen. Then when things go back to normal you can open the jar and read through all the wonderful things you added and get planning and putting events and dates in your diary.
Tidy space, tidy mind
Decluttering helps me make my daily routines smoother and life feel a lot calmer by organising spaces and rooms and getting rid of things which no longer serve a purpose. Sometimes jobs that need doing in your home or bedroom can add to that feeling of overwhelm, especially as most of us are spending a lot more time at home and it’s hard to ignore that junk drawer or ‘cupboard of doom’ taunting you with the clutter.
Remember you can’t do everything, so take a small project at a time, plan to perhaps do one a day or at the weekend and tackle it then. It doesn’t have to be a huge job, it could simply be going through your skincare drawer to organise everything or clearing out that storage in your bathroom cabinet. Take everything out, clean the inside, find a home for all the stuff you want to keep, bin anything that is out of date or needs to go and anything that can be donated or offered to friends or family, will help to give you more space, less clutter and make things flow a little smoother.
Make a gratitude list at the end of each day. It could be as simple as running through a list in your head, or perhaps keeping a note in your phone or even writing down your thoughts in a notebook beside your bed. I tend to run through a mental list, and I find this works best for me to help me unwind and relax before I sleep. When I am feeling overwhelmed and my mind is running through a negative cycle of ‘what if’s, it helps me to focus my mind on things I am grateful for in my life.
As a Mum I know how hard it can be to get a minute to yourself. You may not have kids but for you it may be a full-on job or a really busy house. It is still important to have some me-time without kids or others demanding your attention. Mindfulness doesn’t have to be sitting cross legged, meditating, that may help some people but instead, finding out what brings you joy in your quiet moments. It may be a bath before bed; an uninterrupted, hot cuppa reading a book or just time to scroll through social media without feeling guilty. Plan for those little moments in your day, maybe during the kid’s nap time or once everyone else is in your house is in bed or even before they all get up. Give yourself time you deserve to have a calm, mindful moment.
I hope a few of these tips can help you get through the darker days, most importantly be kind to yourself. We are all doing the best we can.
Blog post developed in partnership with LEO Pharma.
UK/IE MAT- 42538 January 2021