Dealing with the vicious red itchy rash can be emotionally challenging on your wellbeing. Especially when anxiety and stress is a common trigger for eczema. But what is the scientific link between the two?
When we are in a stressful situation our body goes into fight mode causing it to retaliate by increasing the production of stress hormones called adrenaline and cortisol. However, if the body produces too much cortisol it creates an inflammatory response in our body, causing inflammation on our skin, such as the dreaded eczema rash. People who suffer from eczema are much more susceptible to an inflammatory response.
Although it is much easier said than done to eliminate the stress from our life, we can definitely implement some strategies to help deal with anxiety and stress when living with the disease.
Ask for help
An obvious one but a very important thing to do! If you suffer from mental health, you should never feel ashamed or scared to ask for help. Eczema can put us in stressful situations that we don’t always know how to deal with them, so seeking help from professional health workers or your close friends and family can help break that vicious cycle of feeling helpless and alone.
Implementing relaxation strategies
As mentioned above, stress plays a massive role in your skin. Luckily there are many relaxation techniques we can implement into our everyday lives that can help relieve some of the stress we find ourselves surrounded by. Some of these include downloading guided meditation apps to help relax the mind, enrolling in a community yoga class, go for long nature walks or try distracting your mind of negative thoughts and hands by painting, drawing, knitting, baking and board games.
The thought of exercising when you have a flare up might sound ridiculous, but it can actually have some great benefits! Research has shown that exercising triggers certain neurotransmitters and hormones that can boost your mood dramatically! Whether it's walking, running, playing tennis or playing a team sport, they all have great benefits for your health and mental health! If your skin reacts badly to sweat, make sure to shower right after doing physical activity.
The importance of sleep
While we sleep, this is when our body repairs itself. Unfortunately for eczema sufferers, sleeping can be the worst part of the day as there are lots of sleepless, painful nights. Although easier said than done, try talking to your doctor or health care professional about some strategies that might help ease the symptoms. Some we suggest include, taking a drowsy antihistamine before bed as this helps fight allergies and lets your body sleep for a little longer. You can also take warm baths infused with oils that will help relax the body and mind for a more peaceful sleep. Apply your moisturiser all over your body after or if you can, get someone to massage it in for you.
Dealing with stress can be a stress factor itself. That is why really focusing on your mental health during that time can have a massive impact on not only yourself but your eczema as well! Remember to always ask for help, find some great relaxation activities that you enjoy, get out and exercise and focus on your sleep routine! These might just be the life saving techniques that could help you greatly!