Reduce Stress When You Can
Though you canâ€™t always avoid stress, try limiting highly-charged situations when you can for better stress management. â€œIf you know every time you go see Aunt Suzy that itâ€™s really stressful, then maybe you donâ€™t do that this year,â€ Dr. Evans says. When you canâ€™t completely avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it. Perhaps you can ask Aunt Suzy to visit you at your home, where you can surround yourself with friends and family who are supportive and understand how your psoriasis can affect you. If you must do something stressful, plan to keep it short.
Become an Expert
Learn all you can about psoriasis and your symptoms. Knowledge can give you a sense of control over your psoriasis, which can often be unpredictable. By understanding what happens during a flare, youâ€™ll be better prepared to manage it â€” youâ€™ll know what to expect and not be as stressed over what might come next. By learning about triggers, you may help prevent psoriasis flares and the stress they can cause. And by being aware of new psoriasis treatments, youâ€™ll be better prepared to discuss options with your doctor and feel more relaxed knowing youâ€™re taking positive steps.
Look at your daily schedule and prioritize what matters most to you, like psoriasis skin care. Eliminate activities that arenâ€™t necessary. Having too much on your plate, especially when you need to make time to manage psoriasis symptoms, is a sure-fire way to stress yourself out. As part of stress management, learn to say â€œnoâ€ to tasks or responsibilities at work and at home that are just too much to handle. If you canâ€™t say â€œnoâ€ outright, at least ask for help in completing stressful tasks.
Get Enough Sleep
â€œI donâ€™t know of any studies of sleep and psoriasis, but sleep deprivation is an incredibly stressful state, and if youâ€™re not getting enough quality sleep it can make any condition worse,â€ Evans says. To get more quality sleep and better manage psoriasis and stress, stick to a schedule â€” go to sleep and wake up about the same time every day. Keep your bedroom dark and cool. Use your bed for sleeping, not for working or watching TV.
Take Care of Your Skin
To break the cycle of psoriasis and stress, always apply the creams and lotions your doctor prescribes, even if it takes considerable time to do so. And donâ€™t forget to take any other medications as prescribed as well. â€œEvery person with psoriasis is different, as is every personâ€™s severity,â€ Evans says, â€œbut many medical treatments are available for psoriasis, and you and your dermatologist should be able to find one that works for you.â€ Taking good care of your skin can reduce your chances of having psoriasis flares.
Having the opportunity to voice your feelings and frustrations can be a helpful part of stress management. Try joining a support group â€” you can choose one that meets in your community or opt for one online. Either option lets you know youâ€™re not alone, Evans says. â€œAnd youâ€™re not â€” about 4 percent of the population or approximately 7 million Americans, have psoriasis.â€ People in support groups often have good ideas about how to handle the stress that goes hand-in-hand with psoriasis.
â€œRegular exercise is an excellent stress management technique,â€ Evans says. Make time for at least 30 minutes of exercise three times a week. Aerobic exercise, such as walking, bicycling, or swimming, is one of the best ways to release pent-up stress and tension. Donâ€™t let your psoriasis symptoms keep you from the gym or swimming pool â€” exercise is too important to your mental and physical well-being.
Yoga, Meditation, and Massage
Engage in relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, or massage, to help reduce the stress of psoriasis. Some people with psoriatic arthritis report yoga not only reduces stress, but also eases pain and improves range of motion. Finding a massage therapist who understands psoriasis can help you relax, says Evans. However, be sure to avoid some of the more aggressive massage therapies, such as hot stone, because they might irritate your skin, cautions Evans.
Trust Your Dermatologist
You and your doctor must work together to find the best treatment plan for your psoriasis. Itâ€™s important to have faith and confidence in your doctor so you wonâ€™t be constantly wondering if thereâ€™s a better treatment option out there for you. If youâ€™re following your doctorâ€™s instructions for managing psoriasis symptoms and your plan isnâ€™t working, ask about trying a more aggressive treatment plan. If you try new psoriasis treatments and they still donâ€™t help, donâ€™t be afraid to seek another opinion.
Avoid Unhealthy Habits
You may be tempted to turn to drinking or smoking for stress management. But remember that the relief they provide is only temporary, and these unhealthy habits could actually make your psoriasis symptoms worse. Smoking has been shown to trigger a form of psoriasis called palmar plantar pustulosis. Alcohol may prevent your medications from being as effective as they could be. In addition, these habits can contribute to other medical conditions that people with psoriasis are already at higher risk for, such as cancer and depression. Be sure to choose positive stress management ideas that donâ€™t come with a downside.
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