12 hour workdays (especially two in a row) do not agree with my skin at all. I probably should have taken stress-level into consideration when I was choosing a career in advertising. The whole industry is deadline driven and completely reactionary. There’s always an “emergency,” and what’s considered an emergency would be silly to people looking in. Don’t let Mad Men fool you, there’s nothing sexy anymore about advertising agencies! When I’m stressing I do quite a few negative things to my body without realizing it at the time: scratching my spots during the day and grinding my teeth at night (plus drinking too much coffee + wine, skipping meals + runs, scowling + cursing, etc.). So now the scratch marks and the irritated spots stress me out and I’m stuck with headaches and sore gums. Nice job Joni!
Studies show that stress + psoriasis go hand in hand. Stress can trigger a flare up, but having psoriasis can make you stress even more. I haven’t found any concrete explanations from the experts on what exactly is happening in your body that causes stress to make psoriasis worse. For example: “Scientists have found that the hormone cortisol, which alters the immune system responses and is released at times of physical or emotional stress, tends to be found at higher levels in people with psoriasis. Conversely, a 2008 study in the International Journal of Dermatology reported that three-quarters of those with psoriasis experience significant drops in cortisol levels during remissions of the disease.” (About.com)
On this journey, I’ve been really focused on getting to know my skin and understanding my body’s triggers. It’s really hard to stay focused on that when work & life gets in the way, but making time for myself actually makes me a better person and worker. Writing, in a journal and on this blog, has really helped me organize my thoughts and feelings so that I’m able to understand the true root of my stress and frustration. Documenting changes in mood, diet, routine & exercise has allowed me to focus on finding what triggers my psoriasis flares. My hope is that controlling my psoriasis will contribute to overall stress reduction, because I get enough at work!
So the moral of the story is that we’re all different, with different triggers and stresses, but please find time for yourself everyday! I swear a few moments a day will go a long way and your skin will thank you 🙂