Ever experience this scenario? You’ve got a big presentation for school or for work and you wake up and have an atopic dermatitis flare. You are not alone! Stress is a known trigger for atopic dermatitis flares. Stress can make symptoms worse or cause someone who is currently experiencing clearance to experience a flare-up. The body’s reaction to stress can make the inflammation associated with atopic dermatitis worse. While you may still have to give that big presentation, we rounded up some tips to help manage stress and keep atopic dermatitis symptoms at bay.
#1 Be sure to catch enough Zzzs
Sleep is the body’s way of helping keep everything in balance. Sleep can often be tricky when you have atopic dermatitis as the intense itching can keep you up at night. If you are struggling with sleep due to the itch associated with atopic dermatitis it is important to talk to your doctor about some ways to manage your symptoms so you can get some shut-eye. Antihistamines are sometimes used as a treatment option due to their ability to help ease the itching, they also tend to have a side effect of drowsiness, which can help some people to get to sleep. As always if you are considering trying a new treatment or medication it is best to discuss this with your medical provider.
#2 Seek out support
There are many of aspects of living with atopic dermatitis or caring for someone with AD that can cause additional stress. Whether it is dealing with difficult to manage symptoms, the burden of living with a visible skin condition, feeling anxious about avoiding irritants or triggers during your daily routines or carving out enough time to make sure you can apply all needed medications or over-the-counter treatments it can feel overwhelming. No one should feel alone in their journey, there are others who experience many of the same frustrations and are willing to provide support or a listening ear. You may even find out new tips or tricks that you haven’t tried yourself yet. You can find ways to connect with others through our community or find a local support group.
#3 Do something that puts a smile on your face
Find an activity you enjoy and can count on it putting a smile on your face and do it! Keep a list of things that you know will cheer you up on those super stressful days. You can have a range of things- some that are easy and quick, some that are free and some that might cost some money, some that require others help and some that you can do on your own. It could be as simple as taking a walk outside to enjoy nature or watching a favorite TV show! Doing something you like can take your mind off your stress and make you feel a little bit better.
#4 Zen out
So you don’t have to go sweat it out in an hour hot yoga class to get some stress relief. (If that’s your way of de-stressing though-
more power to you!) Finding ways when you feel that stress building up that help you calm down is important. This could be learning some deep breathing exercises, listening to a guided meditation or going to yoga or meditation class. There are lots of free apps you can download now that walk you through some simple breathing and meditation exercises!
#5 Sweat once a day
Exercise can be a powerful de-stressing tool. Everybody has their preferred way to exercise and it doesn’t have to mean you have to be covered in sweat at the end of the exercise, for the purpose of stress reduction find what will bring you enjoyment and not cause more stress! Maybe it is calling a friend to play tennis, or going on a light jog or walk, or going to a class with other people. If sweat triggers your AD taking a cool or lukewarm shower after exercising can help.
How do you manage stress to avoid atopic dermatitis flares? Is it knitting, crossword puzzles, reading, running, painting, video games, or dancing!? We want to hear from you!