Coping with Our Skin
The physical concerns of eczema are something we can see. So can everyone else. But what others do not see is what we go through on the inside. Our emotions and our mindset are equally affected by our eczema as our skin. It can feel overwhelming at times (or most times!) when a flare begins or lasts beyond measure.
What can we do to help ourselves through this tough time?
How do I get restful sleep?
Rest is easier said than done, but sleep is such a powerful tool. When we sleep, it gives our bodies a chance to heal and recuperate.
I have started being more obstinate with my sleeping schedule. It doesn't matter what is on the television or if I'm scrolling through my Instagram, I NEED to be in bed before 10 pm. If I wish to get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep (well, the itching gets in the way sometimes, doesn't it!), then I need to ensure it happens. I wake up at 6 am to begin my day, so my head must hit the pillow by 10 pm at the latest.
If you know you are a scratcher, shoot for even earlier if possible. And if naps are possible, take one! Naps in the afternoon after a long day of work or being a full-time parent can be excellent sources of healing. It can also interrupt any anxiety that has been building during the day.
Do hobbies really provide distraction?
Sometimes we need a distraction. We need to keep our minds off of our skin. I find that picking up a hobby can be the best treatment for our mental stability.
It can be an active hobby, like a sport or exercise program. Whether indoor or outdoor, I bet there is a local group you can join. Having company while you get to do something you love is such a plus.
It can also be a docile hobby, like crafting, reading, or binge-watching documentaries. I love to craft! From painting to knitting, to drawing, to coloring, to string art, the choices are endless. They also keep your hands stay busy, so you may even itch less (score!).
Reading, in and of itself, is by far the best. I know some find it tedious or boring, but it's a great way not only to relax and get away to a faraway land or in the head of someone else (memoirs are my favorite) but it can also give us strength. Knowledge is power, even if it's from a fictional novel. Words can heal.
Does meditation help?
There are SO many different meditation styles and mediums on the internet. From verbalizing affirmations to going deep in on a 30-minute guided practice, this special time with yourself can bring about healing. I am trying it out myself at the moment. It's not always easy to let go and focus on the present, but meditation is a powerful tool that can help facilitate this in our daily lives. Expectations, especially in our healing, can lead us down the path of worry, fear, and disappointment. Meditation to focus on positivity, gratitude, and abundance can help alter those detrimental expectations.
Does therapy work?
I've said it before, and I'll say it again - therapy is lifesaving. I know it can be costly, but there are some that take your insurance. Mine did. I saw a female therapist for about 5 months before leaving on a big journey this past summer (2022), and it was a sacred space of time. That one hour each week allowed me to work through barriers in my mind and gave me tools, customizable tools in order to make better decisions for myself and my future. And it was online! I didn't have to go anywhere! So, if that is a massive fear, it can be squashed.
In the end, everyone has different needs. Find what works for you and aids in your mental health.
Take the In America survey
If you’d like to help shed light on the realities of life with atopic dermatitis, take our most recent survey. About 10 percent of people in the U.S. have some form of atopic dermatitis. Every voice counts.
Life with atopic dermatitis can be frustrating. Will you help others understand by taking our survey (US only)?
Join the conversation