Person walking through a park with birds surrounding them.

How Do You Practice Self-Care?

Stress has been a contributing factor in causing my eczema flares. Stress as a cause for eczema may perhaps be anecdotal, or perhaps there’s some science behind it. I just know that if I don’t practice self-care and treat my body well, I can see the consequences. My stress level is reflected by the intensity of the eczema flare on my face.

What is self-care?

The World Health Organization defines self-care as “the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.” However, I like the more simplified definition by the Oxford Languages dictionary, which states that self-care is “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.”

How do I practice self-care?

Keeping your stress in check is beneficial for many reasons, both mentally and physically. Self-care can include meditation or moments of quiet reflection on your life’s events, or it can include an adrenaline rush on a beautiful spring day. Whatever yours may be, your body needs it!

Most days, I’m working at my desk hours on end, trying to make deadlines. During those times, the only thing running is my mind – a mile a minute. Not only do we juggle work, but personal responsibilities and the inevitable question of the day, “What’s for dinner?” Though not quite a mile a minute, I like to run to take my mind off those lingering questions. If only for 30 minutes, I like to surround myself with nature. You can usually find me on a trail run focusing only on the few steps ahead of me. That is why I like trail running so much. I am required to keep my mind focused on the present. A misstep may mean tripping or slipping.

Some days I can’t carve out time to make it to the trail, so I will take a walk in the neighborhood. I still get a chance to change my surroundings and breath some fresh air. However, let’s face it, there are days when our bodies just can’t do more than the minimum requirement that day. On those days, destressing may mean binge-watching a new show. We’ve all been there, and that’s OK too.

Listen to your body

I try my best to listen to my body’s ways of telling me what it needs. Sometimes it’s a run by the beach, or a long game of tag at the playground with the kids, or maybe just taking a break and watching reel after reel of cat videos. We are not machines. My eczema is reflected in how well I take care of my body and my mental well-being. When I’m feeling good all-around, I get the benefit of no flares and itch-free days. Remember to take care of yourself. Your body will thank you.

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