My Top 3 Ways to Manage Stress
Stress can run amuck in our lives on a regular day. For me, stress is one of the main triggers of my psoriasis. I mean, the "simple" day-to-day anxieties of life, work, and kids manifest in the form of plaques. It's so crazy how the body can respond in a way that literally flips the switch on my skin.
Is managing stress even possible?
As I noticed over time, I would have terrible flare-ups during the times I was most anxious. I intentionally began focusing on finding ways to work on managing these stressful moments. Notice I say "work on" because it is constantly a practice, never a final destination.
I incorporated a lot of different things into my lifestyle, but the top three things I do to manage my stress have not only helped tame my flares but have helped me navigate through many different challenges, psoriasis, and non-psoriasis related.
Laughter is the best medicine
My absolute favorite thing to do on a daily basis is laugh! Who knew that laughing would actually be a way for me to manage my stressful moments? At my job, our Employee Advisory Service department invited a speaker to help staff incorporate more laughter into our lives in order to navigate through stress at work.
I work in the social work field, where you are subjected to many traumas and triggers daily. The speaker shared how she worked with many agencies and individual clients on laughter while sharing its many therapeutic benefits. During the presentation, we even had laughing exercises.
I was so intrigued by the presentation. I went down the rabbit hole of learning more. I learned from the speaker and my research that laughter could sometimes relieve stress and pain. I had nothing to lose, and laughter was free, which was beyond affordable.
Whenever I feel anxiety creeping, I watch a funny movie. I look at funny memes. I share funny moments with a friend or watch a funny show to get my mood to shift.
Dance like nobody's watching
Recently I participated in a virtual psoriasis summit. It honestly was one of the most incredible virtual events I have ever attended. One of the workshops involved dance. We were asked to blindfold ourselves and dance freely, letting our bodies guide our movements. I cannot describe how freeing it felt for me!
The facilitator explained the many benefits of movement and how dance was not only great for joint health but for destressing. Whenever I am in my feelings about anything, I turn on some music and dance away!
This is sometimes very comical to my children, but it's something that, again, is free and brings me joy where I would otherwise be focused on the negative. In my personal journey of life, I eventually became a cardio dance group fitness instructor, and I love dancing as a form of self-care and health.
Reading is fundamental
When I need a moment to decompress, my top thing to do is to read. I love escaping through different adventures or picking up a book to learn something new. Reading absolutely calms and centers me. It has helped me on several occasions calm my nerves, the ultimate goal in managing my flares.
I haven't limited myself to reading alone. I have joined a few book clubs, which have been absolutely amazing. Joining the book clubs has led me to interact with some great women who have also supported me in times when I have encountered stress or anxiety. It io purposeful in so many ways, another tool to help me manage my psoriasis.
You have to find what will work for you!
When my top three things are not enough, I know when to reach out to my circle of support. My family, friends and yes, my therapist! Everyone must learn what works for them as individuals when finding their way and taking care of their health.
Nothing will ever be perfect, and I can't always prevent a flare from happening. I can do my best to keep myself in a space where my stress levels are not creating havoc for my body. I am learning every day how to make positive changes for myself.
What are some things that you do to manage stress? I'd love to hear about them and may incorporate some for myself.
Do you anxiously anticipate a psoriasis relapse?