First, it’s a pimple. You don’t give much attention to it. But, after a while, you notice it doesn’t disappear. Instead, it turns into a mushroom-like spot on your knee or elbow. The skin cracks and sometimes it itches like a fresh scab waiting to be picked off. But scratching only makes things worse. And soon, the diagnosis is obvious: you have psoriasis – a life-long companion you must learn to keep under control, just like over 8 million Americans do every single day.
Plaque psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder that makes the skin multiply faster than it should. The white patches are, in fact, dead skin cells. With topic treatments, most patients manage to make the bumps fade away. After a while, though, eczema-like lesions start reappearing on other body parts. The knees and elbows are the first affected, but it spreads to the scalp, belly, back, as well as to the calf and arms. Even though psoriasis is not contagious, it has a significant impact on the social life of those affected by it. The first reaction? You want to hide yourself and to cover up — no more sunbathing, no more swimming, and no short pants in your wardrobe. And so, staycations become the ideal vacation.
What triggers psoriasis?
While genetics do take some credit for it, stress is the main culprit. In a study conducted by Érida Silva Leovigildo et al. at a hospital in Brazil, all the patients with psoriasis had high levels of stress. Most patients are unaware that they are caught in a hamster wheel. First, the inaesthetic spots on their skin stress them out. Then, the stress keeps altering the immune system and worsens the psoriasis flare. And so on. So they are trapped in this yo-yo effect until they take action and address the cause.
Psoriasis in the workplace
Everybody complains about feeling overwhelmed with responsibilities and overworked. Stress seems to be the disease of the modern world. But if your job is stressful, does it mean that you should quit? Not at all. A few small adjustments to your lifestyle can go a long way.
Employers must also pay attention to their employees with autoimmune diseases. Do you agree? All efforts should be made towards a calm workplace. Psoriasis demands flexibility and regular staycations, as well. Employees with psoriasis will appreciate the possibility to work from home since most of them have quite a fixed daily routine.
John has had psoriasis since he was 12 years old. He has changed several treatment schemes over the years, and the last treatment that gave good results is supposed to be applied two times a day – in the morning and in the evening. Sometimes, when John arrives home late in the evening, he is too tired to apply the cream. After a few days of skipping the treatment, the plaque is back in place, so he has to start over. In this way, he has to spend more money to obtain the desired results.
You probably understand John’s frustrations, but his employers may not. Fortunately, August is Psoriasis Awareness Month, so take advantage of it, discuss with your employer (and with your spouse, too!) and find ways to make your life easier and less stressful.
Staycations – the art to de-stress at home
Once you understand how psoriasis works, you know that you need more breaks than others. Sometimes, you have to give up a second job. Night shifts don’t have a positive effect on your health either. So, until you figure out how to get more leisure time, here is how to prepare for your next staycation:
You need to slow down and allow your body time to relax every week. So, start the week by planning for the weekend. Knowing that you will have time for yourself soon should help you cope better with stress during the week. Use that time to spoil your skin! Take a long bath, cook something nutritious, and engage in a relaxing hobby. Also, make sure you get plenty of sleep.
Make some small home improvements
DIY projects like the ones suggested on RealEstateAgent.com can make any staycation more rewarding. This month, you may repaint your living room. Certain colors are more relaxing than others, so try to find what works best for you. Next month, you can work on a bathroom remodel. Small changes in your home can give you a lot of satisfaction. Besides, shopping is also therapeutic.
Get a pet!
Spending time caressing a dog or a cat is a great way to de-stress. A pet can bring so much joy in your life! Interacting with a dog increases the secretion of oxytocin – the antidote for the stress hormone cortisol. So, your pet can keep you active, making your staycations more fun and entertaining.
Install a swimming pool
When you have a psoriasis flare, you don’t feel comfortable exposing your skin in a public space. You know that the disease is not contagious, but most people don’t. And the last thing you want is someone to stare at you waiting for an explanation. You have the right to have fun without excusing yourself. So, consider installing an in-ground swimming pool or even an above-ground pool. Saltwater is beneficial for your skin, though it can make it dry. Use a moisturizing cream and a sunscreen made for sensitive skin.
Do what you love!
Stress often comes from the fact that you are not doing what you want, but what others want you to do. Staycations can provide that much-needed time of freedom when you can do whatever you want and whatever makes you happy: read, paint, sing, and bake your favorite cake! After working so hard to make others happy, it’s time to make sure you are happy, too. Indulge in your neglected passions and revive them.
Staycations are an affordable way to de-stress at home without feeling embarrassed or uncomfortable. At home, everybody loves and understands you. And the family time you spend together is strengthening the bonds between you, making your marriage stronger, day after day.