Finding Your Outlet

When I was younger, there were many activities I couldn’t participate in because of my eczema.

As my peers would disperse to after-school clubs or sport’s practice, I would go home and seclude myself. My eczema was simply too uncomfortable and too much of a distraction to engage in extracurricular activities.

...until I found dance.

Eczema limited me

From a young age, my day-to-day actions would revolve around my eczema. It was like my eczema was the parent and I had to check in with it every moment to ensure I could engage in certain activities.

If I wanted to wear a short sleeve shirt, I would check in with my arms to see if my eczema was showing too much. If I wanted to play outside, I had to check to see if my eczema could handle the sun beaming on it. If I wanted to go to a friend’s house, I had to ensure my eczema wouldn’t come into contact with carpets or pets. My eczema came first and what I truly desired to do came last.

Trying different things

It was not an easy task to find an activity that would balance out my interests and the restrictions eczema had on me.

For instance, I would have loved to play soccer and softball growing up. The only problem was that practice was outside, normally in the sun, and I was too afraid of triggering my eczema with sweat. The fear of how my skin would react was greater than the desire of wanting to play. From the sun to the heat to the sweat to the after-itch to the discomfort under my clothes… no, thank you!

Then there was piano. My mom wanted my brothers and me to learn the piano as she had heard it strengthens the brain. The only issue with that was I was bored (no offense to those who play) and was not distracted enough to overlook the itching and distress of my eczema while playing.

Then there was dance

My parents decided to put me into dance at a young age and I will forever thank them for it! Dance had a more controllable environment than soccer and softball did. For the most part, it was taught indoors, with air conditioning, and I could cover up my skin if need be. This meant that I could easily monitor my body temperature and control how much sweat I would perspire. A deal breaker indeed! It was also far from boring as I built a deep love and passion for it.

Dance as an outlet

Dancing was my escape. Because it was difficult to verbalize the impact eczema had on my life, dancing and creating movement was my way of expression. During practice and performances, it was as if my cracked skin was wrapped in silk and I was able to flow and move in unimaginable ways.

When the music would turn on and I would perform, it was as if for just a few minutes, my eczema was non-existent. It was the only time I was truly comfortable in my own skin. Bliss, serenity, and peace are all I felt.

Finding your outlet

I invite you to find your outlet and that 'thing' that brings you peace, as dance brings to me. Whether it be dancing, writing, painting, or yoga, find an activity that will silence the world and would make your eczema feel non-existent.

Here are some tips to support you in finding your outlet:

Explore different activities

Find an activity that brings you ultimate joy and peace. Something that makes you forget about your eczema even if it’s for a short period of time.

Be courageous

Jumping into physical activities can be scary, especially when your eczema can already be unpredictable. Be courageous anyways! You can’t find your outlet if you don't at least try.

Do it as often as you can

Once you find that “thing” that makes your eczema non-existent, commit to doing it as often as you can. Investing in your happiness is greater than the pain and headaches eczema can create in your life.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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