Every August, Psoriasis Awareness Month occurs, which sheds light on the autoimmune skin condition that affects three percent of Americans each year. This common skin disease develops when healthy cells in the immune system are attacked. There are multiple variations of psoriasis but they all primarily present themselves as red patches of scaly and itchy plaques on areas of the skin. Individuals living with psoriasis experience periods of remission where their symptoms disappear for a while until an external factor triggers uncomfortable inflammation of the skin.
While there is no known cause of psoriasis, multiple triggers such as stress or poor diet can increase the chances of a flare-up. Motherhood can naturally be draining, so moms may be more prone to developing psoriasis because of high-stress levels. Anyone at any age can be prone to psoriasis, especially if it runs in your family health history. Keep reading to learn more about how stress can induce psoriasis flare-ups and management strategies that can aid with psoriasis prevention to kick off this Psoriasis Awareness Month.
How Does Stress Influence Psoriasis?
In general, stress can wreak havoc on your immune system if it’s not managed properly. The psoriasis stress cycle is described as the circular rotating connection between stress and psoriasis and how each one impacts the other.
When you’re stressed, the hormone known as cortisol increases. This stress hormone can cause the skin to produce excess amounts of oil on the skin, thus increasing the chances of a psoriasis flare-up because of clogged pores and skin irritation.
Alternatively, a psoriasis flare-up may induce stress because of the stigma of psoriasis plaques and the effects of decreased self-confidence. Thus, creating the never-ending cycle of the relationship between stress and psoriasis. However, with stress management, both sides of the cycle can be improved.
Common Triggers of Stress for Moms
- Kids’ schedules
- Financial hardships
- Balancing full-time work and motherhood
- Single parenting
- Health and wellness
- Family’s overall happiness
- Marriage struggles
There are so many other factors that contribute to the stress that comes with being a mom, and it’s different for everyone. It’s important to pinpoint what may be triggering your stress so that you can find a solution that works for you to feel less stressed.
How Can I Manage Stress To Prevent Psoriasis?
Now that you know about the never-ending cycle between psoriasis and stress, it’s important to know how to manage stress as a busy mom. It’s easy to slip into a routine of putting your kids first and neglecting your own health. However, it’s crucial to take care of yourself and manage your stress levels for both your health and happiness, and your family’s.
Here are a few ways you can relax and unwind to maintain a healthy amount of stress:
Create Your Village
Have you heard the saying “it takes a village” before? Well, it’s true, especially during motherhood. One of the best ways to manage stress while parenting is by delegating and leaning on your support system.
Sometimes mom just needs some alone time, and that’s okay! Contrary to popular belief, asking for help is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it’s brave to ask for help in high-stress times.
If you have a spouse or partner in this whole parenting adventure, don’t be afraid to communicate with them when you need support. Alternatively, extended family, close friends, and even trustworthy neighbors can help out when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Whether you need someone to watch your kids for a few minutes, pick up something from the grocery store for you while you’re feeling sick, or need someone to vent to, it’s important to have a strong support system to keep yourself sane and your household functioning.
Hydration Is Key
Staying hydrated and keeping your thirst quenched is an important tool when it comes to stress management. Dehydration contributes to higher cortisol levels, which is the stress hormone in the body. This is why it’s important to drink enough water daily so that your hormones are balanced and so that your skin stays hydrated.
It’s recommended that women should drink at least nine glasses of water each day, but this can vary depending on personal health, the weather, if a woman is pregnant, breastfeeding, or ill. Check with your doctor to determine the appropriate amount of water that you should consume daily.
If you need help staying on track, try setting reminders on your phone to take a sip of water when you’re in the middle of the hustle and bustle of being a mom. Not only will your hormones stay balanced, but your skin will stay hydrated— making a psoriasis breakout less likely.
Schedule Time For Self-Care
When it comes to stress management and preventing psoriasis, self-care is an important step in the process. Not only is self-care a great tool to lower stress levels for moms, but it can also help improve your skin health depending on what forms of self-care you enjoy.
Everyone’s self-care routine looks different so there’s no one size fits all. The most important component is that it’s a time for you to calm your mind and focus on your own wellbeing.
Whether it be a nightly skincare facemask, watching an episode of your favorite comfort show, lathering your skin with a hydrating moisturizer, or listening to a calming podcast, take time to unwind and rest from your motherhood responsibilities.
Find A Relaxing Activity
Activities that relax the mind can do wonders for stress management, especially when you’re in need of a break from mom duties. As a mom, there are so many things to remember and think about, so your brain can get overloaded with information. It’s important to take the time to back away for a minute and breathe. This is where a relaxing activity can come in handy.
Some suggested hobbies for relaxation include:
The possibilities are endless when it comes to mindful habits that bring inner peace and stress relief. The best thing you can do is try out different options and find the best one for you that makes you feel the most relaxed and stress-free.
A Final Thought
While August is deemed Psoriasis Awareness Month, it’s important to keep stress management a priority all year long to prevent breakouts. A day in the life as a mom doesn’t always need to be stressful when you take the time to care for yourself and your mental wellness. Setting aside time to relax at the end of each day is not selfish and your skin and family will thank you for taking care of yourself.
What else do you do to destress and avoid psoriasis flare-ups? Let us know in the comments!