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Mindfulness and Managing Stress-Related Flare Ups

Stress is an inevitable part of life. Unfortunately, stress is also one of my eczema triggers. It’s probably the most difficult one for me to manage. I think that is because stress is a many-headed beast as it can come from many different sources. It can occur at the most inconvenient times. Sometimes we are aware of it, and sometimes we aren’t.

Now, there is no “one size fits all” approach to addressing and managing stress. However, if you’re like me and stress can flare up your atopic dermatitis, you can never have too many coping strategies. I’m going to share with you today some of my go-to coping strategies I use when stress is getting the better of me.

Tip #1

So the first, and probably most important, strategy is finding out exactly what your stressors are. Then, once you have identified your stressors the next step is to begin examining why exactly you are feeling stressed during these times. I have found mindfulness body scan meditations especially helpful with this.

How do I do my mindfulness body scan meditation?

When I notice my body and thoughts are getting caught up in stress I start by taking deep breaths. Then, once I have established my breathing, I begin by examining where in my body I am feeling the stress. For myself, tension is one of the biggest indicators of where in my body I am holding my stress.

How does my body respond to different types of stress?

I have found that I hold different types of stress in different areas of my body. For example, when I am feeling stressed about something that is out of my control entirely, I feel it in my stomach. When I am stressed about money, I tend to feel stress in my neck and shoulders. Finding out the origin of my stress can often be helpful in not only bringing my awareness to something bothering me within my life, but it can also be a reminder to start focusing on solutions.

Tip #2

Another mindfulness-inspired stress tip I use is being realistic with my goals and abilities. I would love to be the “Pinterest-perfect” mum/partner/daughter but sometimes my ideals of perfect are just not attainable.

It has been quite a difficult journey trying to teach myself the difference between realistic and unrealistic goals as they pertain to me specifically. Cause that’s the thing! For each of us, those things are different. For most people, I reckon the line between realistic and unrealistic goals shifts daily. At least I know for myself it does.

Tip #3

The last stress reduction tip I will share with you today is about being empathetic. With ourselves, with other people - it doesn’t really matter. There is no detriment in practicing empathy as much as possible. I think that the more we practice empathy with others the more we’re able to show empathy to ourselves.

How do I practice self-empathy?

I have a bad habit of putting a lot of expectations on myself and when I fall short, I am quite the drill sergeant with myself. Empathy directed towards the self can look like taking time for things we enjoy, setting boundaries, or even just making a point to be more loving to the people around you. All of these kinds of actions can reduce stress.

Stress is one of my biggest triggers for atopic dermatitis flare-ups. Over the years I have had to find practical and free ways to cope and reduce the incidents of stress-related flare-ups. Mindfulness-based practices have helped reduce the occurrence and severity of my eczema flares.

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