a woman grips her head, uses a megaphone, talks to a friend and starts a project

How to Quickly Unwind After a Flare

Ever wake up in the morning, and before you even look at your skin, you know… like you just KNOW your eczema is bad?

I recently had one of those days.

Eczema flare

Before I even bothered to lift up the long sleeve shirt I was sleeping in, I felt defeated. My heart sunk into my stomach and I sighed and prepared myself for the damage that lied ahead.

My reaction

I slowly pulled back my left sleeve and it was just what I had anticipated – my skin was cracked, extremely dry, and flaking off. My eyes welled up with tears and my emotions went from one extreme to the other - defeated to sad to frustration to resilience to motivated to inspired to committed to making a difference.

Expressing myself

I immediately shared an Instagram post with a picture of my eczema-filled skin and a caption on how I felt. This helped me to express myself verbally, share with the world how I was authentically feeling, and create an opportunity for other warriors to see that they are not alone.

The Instagram post

“This morning I am feeling a bit emotional. I am feeling our pain and struggle as a collective. I am feeling what millions of eczema warriors go through every single day…This isn’t 'just' dry skin we can put lotion on. This isn’t 'just' try coconut oil. This isn’t 'just' a skin condition that affects us physically. This is eczema. This is a CHRONIC condition. This affects us mentally and socially. This is what others are limited by! This is what holds us back from sharing who we are with others. This is what creates insecurities and 'I’m not beautiful' conversations. This is me living with eczema. This is US living with eczema.”

Avoiding stress

These types of days can and may already have occurred for you. But even in moments where we wake up feeling defeated and hopeless, there are ways to ensure you don’t get emotionally sucked into the stress of eczema. As you may already know, this can make the situation worse.

Instead of allowing myself to get stuck in this downward spiral and allowing my day to be ruined, I went through a range of emotions and action steps to support me in feeling good and up on my feet for the day:

1.) Let yourself experience the emotions

What you resist, persists. Give yourself permission to feel the emotions that are coming up for you at that moment. You’re feeling frustrated? Clench your fists and stomp your feet. You’re feeling sad? Cry it out. Do whatever you need to do to feel what is coming up for you. If you’re tight on time, challenge yourself to feel your emotions for a certain period of time. I like to give myself anywhere between 5 to 10 minutes to simply feel my emotions.

2.) Express how you feel

This action is one of the most important steps for me. When you verbalize or write down how you are feeling, you are releasing the power it has over you. Talk to a friend or close family member about how you’re feeling. Tell them you just want them to listen so you can express how you feel. I personally like to journal and write out all of my thoughts – the good and the bad. Once I am done, I always feel like I am in control again versus my eczema and emotions controlling me.

3.) Know you are not alone

Understand that there is at least one person in the world who is experiencing what you’re going through. You don’t have to go through the healing process alone. Research, find a fellow warrior, message them and exchange tips and experiences. There are also organizations and online groups to support you.

4.) Go back to your goals

Having a goal or things to accomplish is vital in the healing process. It is your ‘why’ in moments of distress and flare-ups. Whether it’s reading a book, writing a script, or creating a project, having something else to focus on other than your eczema is essential. This will not only create a distraction from your eczema, but also leave you feeling purposeful and excited for something greater than your current situation.

If you're looking for further tools, check out my previous blog on Healing Mindset!

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