a woman stands in a shower with light shining on her happy face while she holds a cup of coffee

Self-Care Takes Time with Atopic Dermatitis

Last updated: July 2022

Are you being kind to yourself? What are you doing for yourself today? In spite of or because of your atopic dermatitis. Just for you, today. Because you matter.

Are you paying attention to your own physical and psychological health? Or is your personal goal for the day just to make it through?

We don't prioritize ourselves

So many times, we put our own needs last. Perhaps you need to deal with some stresses in your life, knowing how stress contributes to your skin problems. But if you’re a parent, your family comes first. If you’re a conscientious worker, whether you’re the CEO or the newest hire on the ground floor, you often put work before yourself. Do you find yourself making time for everyone and everything else - the report that’s due, the club that needs help only you can seem to give, the soccer game - and put your needs last? Do you tell yourself you’ll get to it later - it’s not as important - and perhaps it never makes it to the top of the list? But aren’t we just as important?

I put others' needs first

Even living alone, I find I put myself last much of the time. A neighbor requires a drive, a friend needs help with a program on her iPad, and a club feels you have plenty of free time since you’re retired and don’t have a family to look after. Even a long chat on the phone can feel intrusive on a busy day. But I’m learning.

How can we help others if we don't help ourselves?

Maybe it’s time to accept the idea that we count. If we don’t look after ourselves mentally and physically, how can we be of any use to anyone else? If we take that extra time that our skin requires, do we feel guilty? Perhaps we need to take the time when it is necessary to save time later. To make us able to enjoy the small things that are happening in our lives right now. Things we may not notice are happening as we fight the itch, the pain, the sleepless nights.

Caring for our eczema takes too much time

I know we can all get frustrated, or even resentful, with the amount of time it takes to look after our skin. Being so tired, we think it can wait till tomorrow. Then that meeting creeps up; you want to shower first. But how long do showers take when caring for dry, itchy, flaring skin that requires two coatings of cream or lotion and extra attention on the flares? It is frustrating when others can hop in the shower five minutes before needing to leave the house while you require at least a good half hour just to care for your skin.

It's time to take time for ourselves

Have we become so accustomed to the hectic pace of our lives that it’s become normal? Perhaps it’s time to slow down, to realize life goes on whether we accomplish every goal for the day or not. Take a nice walk in the park. Get lost in a good book for a while. Go for that run on the beach without worrying about what’s happening in the rest of your world. Time to be able to look back at the end of the day, the month, the year with a smile, knowing both you and the people who matter in your life enjoyed it.

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