Living with a skin disease is not easy. In fact, that’s an understatement. It’s a nightmare! No one truly understands the impact eczema has on your life until you have experienced the severity of it. The constant scratching, sleepless nights, painful showers, the stress of finding what food triggers your skin, a restricted diet, losing your hair, depression, anxiety…the list could go on.
My health journey has had a massive impact on my mental health. Since people with skin diseases are more prone to mental illnesses, it’s essential to put measures in place that will encourage you to not give up. Being stressed all the time is not giving your body the energy it needs to recover. I try to prioritise my well-being because I know it will help with the healing process. Below I share 7 ways I practice self-care to cope with eczema.
How to Practice Self-Care
1) Be Positive As Often As You Can
You’re human so you’re not going to be positive all the time but this doesn’t mean you have to stay in a negative state. My counsellor made a good suggestion about managing negative thoughts. Rather than combating it with a positive thought which suppresses the negativity, try to find a balance by adding the word “BUT”.
- “I hate how restricted my diet is BUT at least I have food to eat”
- “Life’s shit right now BUT it will get better”
- “Having eczema sucks BUT I am going to heal”
It’s important to try to shift our focus from how bad our problem is to how much better it’s going to be. This is a great technique to practice optimism, what’s life without any hope anyway? Sometimes it seems impossible to escape our problems but obsessing over something you can’t change overnight is such a waste of energy. I need a constant reminder of this. Just take every day as it comes and try your best to get through it without worrying.
2) Repeat Affirmations
Start your day off by calling in what you want into life. In the morning, I say multiple affirmations for good health:
- “I am healing”
- “I am accepting myself as I am”
- “My skin does not define who I am”
- “I am letting go of any conflict I hold in my skin”
Remember manifestation is real!
3) Limit Your Time on Social Media:
When you’re going through a bad flare up with your skin, the last thing you want to see is everyone living their best lives. Don’t deliberately torment yourself by looking at everyone’s story on Snapchat and scrolling endlessly on Instagram. You’ll start comparing yourself which doesn’t help you at all. Spending time away from social media stops you from thinking about all the things you’re missing out on.
I made an Instagram account for my eczema journey and I never knew there was a huge community for eczema sufferers on there. I would suggest following people who are going through a similar experience because it’s nice to know you’re not alone.
4) Watch a really good comedy series or film
Having a good laugh helps! My go-to series right now is Black-ish which doesn’t fail to lighten up my mood. Finding a good comedy to watch can get you through a bad day.
5) Do Things You Enjoy
Most eczema sufferers reduce their sugar intake which inevitably impacts our moods. So no crisps, chocolate, sweets, cakes, ice cream, takeaways, etc. because they make us itch like crazy and it causes inflammation. We can’t get a quick dopamine shot from food which means we need to find other ways we can feel good about ourselves. Whether it’s reading, painting, listening to your favourite album on repeat for hours, do whatever you need to do that brings some joy into your life.
6) Practice Gratitude
Life’s hard but we still need to practice gratitude and be thankful for what we have. Wake up everyday grateful that you are able to see a new day. Your situation could be worse (even though it’s hard to believe!) but it’s not. This itself is something to be grateful for.
If you’re not sweating, the toxins are never going to be released from your body. Make sure you get your blood flowing to open your pores. Not only does exercise help your skin, it also does wonders for your mental health too. Sweat irritates eczema but there are light exercises you can find on YouTube, even a short jog or a long walk works.
Although I haven’t got rid of my eczema yet, I’m still trying to find the cause and find ways I can improve the state of my skin. Eczema sufferers are warriors and I commend anyone who has a skin condition because it’s really hard to deal with. If you are trying to heal, don’t give up hope and keep pushing. You are so strong!! Believe it’s temporary and it can only get better. As you patiently wait, make sure you take care of yourself and prioritise your well-being.
Instagram (eczema page): https://www.instagram.com/tsw_sheedah/
Instagram (main account): https://www.instagram.com/rashidahbeatson/