Stress is an unavoidable reality in everyday life, but too much stress without healthy ways to release it has a tendency to make many physical conditions worse. This, unfortunately, is all too often the case with people suffering from eczema.
Stress Leads to Scratching
When things are humming along and going smoothly, it’s easier to resist the urge to scratch your eczema. After all, scratching rarely provides anything more than temporary relief from the itch, and it ultimately makes things worse, both in terms of itchiness and irritation. But when excessive stress enters the picture, logic and willpower can quickly go out the window, and a vicious cycle of scratching/itching can begin, making your eczema stress rash worse and even spread. And, as the Psoriasis Eczema Clinic observes, the “vicious cycle” leads to sleeplessness in over 65% of [atopic dermatitis] sufferers, which in turn leads to sleep deprivation and snowballing symptoms like tiredness, anxiety, mood changes and impaired psycho-social functioning for both the sufferer and those close to them!
5 Tips for Dealing With Stress in Everyday Life
- Practice Mindfulness Meditation – In recent years, mindfulness meditation has gained popularity as a way to slow down and savor the moment. Interestingly, it may be one of the best stress-relieving techniques for anyone suffering with eczema since its effects on disease outcomes have been observed “in diseases where stress is known to trigger the onset or the exacerbation of symptoms”.
- Organise Your Time – According to the Australian Psychological Society, good time management practices can decrease stress, increase work and life satisfaction, and improve health. Feeling overwhelmed by too many commitments and too little time can be a major contributor to stress, so starting today, prioritize your most important tasks and let the not so crucial ones fall by the wayside for now.
- Identify Your Triggers – What causes stress in one person may not affect another person at all. When you feel stressed, see if you can identify exactly what circumstances are causing the feeling. Just knowing what your triggers are is the first step in dealing with them.
- Practise Yoga – Take a class, buy a video or two, or get instruction from a book or a magazine, but make a yoga practise part of your routine. Because its effects are cumulative, yoga must be approached as a practise because its benefits in terms of lessening the effects of stress build over time. Here’s a simple pose called “Legs up the Wall”. This pose triggers the parasympathetic nervous system to promote deep relaxation.
- Make “Balance” Your New Mantra – Because it’s your source of income, it’s easy to let work/career concerns take over your life. Remember though, that life is made up of other important things as well, such as friends, family, hobbies, sports, and quiet pastimes like reading or watching a favorite movie. Consider all the aspects of your life and try to create more balance between work, home life and enjoyment. Doing so will help you to keep things in perspective and ultimately, help decrease stress in a natural way.