Autumn Anxiety & Psoriasis
Every October, I think of my friend Russ. His running joke is this month is when he cashes in on his timeshare at Salford Royal Hospital. Meaning - this month is when he sees his psoriasis flare.
Personally, I do find myself flaring as we move into autumn, but usually, my flares are worse in the transition from winter into spring. There are lots of reasons to flare as we transition into winter - and I realize some of the triggers may not be as apparent as I suspected. I'm talking about stress.
The anxiety that comes with goals
If you're self-employed or living in a non-corporate environment, the concept of quarter 4 anxiety may not affect you. Quarter 4 is the last three months of the year.
I have felt this anxiety quite a few times as we move towards autumn. I'm faced with the realization that my annual goals are terribly off. Spending time with my thoughts and facing reality, helped me make peace with this notable 'lack of progress'. I have had significant health challenges this year, so I found myself rewriting my goals which now orientate more around baking puddings than banking British pounds and US dollars.
It's time to focus on health
Do you know what I don't need right now? People making me feel like the little progress I made this year isn't good enough. So I have taken a digital detox.
No more Instagram or Facebook for a few weeks. I am unsubscribing from anyone who is selling me anything for quarter 4. I've decided to journal about the things I am grateful for this year and how excited I am to be focusing on learning to develop healthy recipes instead of making more money. It's easy to forget how much control we have over what stressors we allow in.
Making the most of the season
It's common to feel down as the mornings grow darker and the nights come in sooner. I know I should get a special 'sunshine imitating' lamp for my bedside table - but I don't want to. I want to sleep more. I know I should go outside. As real daylight helps with the reset of circadian rhythms, but c'mon, it's windy and rainy outside.
Inside I have a kettle, some biscuits, and half a packet of rainbow skittles. It's easier to stay inside. Inside is safe and warm and fueled with sugar and caffeine. This creates conflict. Conflict increases my stress levels. The solution here is that I should drink my tea outside. And stop buying skittles.
The impact of financial stress
This is the first Christmas my children are all old enough to ask for what they want. They wrote their first draft Christmas lists this year and each child asked for a whopping $300 worth of toys. Once I read this list, I promptly told them they could only write down three things.
I am increasingly concerned about our hoard of waste and plastic toys. The ones that get thrown out within weeks of being opened. This, in addition to the sheer vulgarity of my children's wishes, has increased my stress levels.
The solution: I explained Santa didn't have enough of the expensive toys for everyone to have one each. If a toy is over $70 it needs to be the only one on the list. If it's over $100, then they won't get any other presents. Also that they will need to give away some of their current toys.
Stress & psoriasis flares
It's not your fault that your stress levels rise at this time of year. The fact that a lot of our stresses are culturally induced does help. It means that we can change the way we do things, the way we approach things and practice our skills at saying no. These approaches can help manage the changes to our skin.
If you're struggling in the same places as I am, I hope some of my experiences can help you think of some solutions of your own.
Does your psoriasis skin feel out of control? How are you managing?