This blog post will explore in depth how lifestyle; socialising and relationships can improve mental health and eczema. This includes adapting to life differently to manage a skin condition, taking part in activities, socialising and relationships both friendships and romantic relationships.
I’ve mentioned before that having eczema means living a slightly different lifestyle. It can be annoying and frustrating at times. I think the main thing to do in order to improve our mental health is to accept that we have to go above and beyond to care for our skin. In order to prevent flare-ups and discomfort, we need to remind ourselves that applying a different lifestyle will benefit us in the long run. It is also an example of self-care.
This does unfortunately include eating habits and working out what triggers our skin. Having a positive mindset and not dwelling on self-pity is also important. If you have loved ones that support you and help with your changed lifestyle or skincare routine then that’s also a bonus.
2. Social activities
Taking part in activities which will not affect your skin is best in order not to affect your skin physically or mentally. Activities which can trigger eczema may include sunbathing, being around pollen, swimming (chlorine pool), spas, paintballing etc. There are also other factors including dust, cleaning, smoking, drugs and alcohol.
From personal experience, I’ve been ok attending spas. With treatments as long as staff are aware that I have eczema and to only use sensitive and natural products, I have no problem. The main reason why I suggest taking spa days with caution is mainly due to swimming pools and jacuzzis. Staying in both of these for an extended period of time may affect your skin. I got around this by covering affected areas with Epaderm ointment so this can act as a barrier against the water/chlorine.
If you’re afraid of feeling left out by friends speak to them about your concerns. Make them aware that you’re not able to or don’t feel comfortable with certain activities. If they’re true friends they should understand and hopefully suggest something else.
3. Eczema connect groups
Having eczema can feel isolating and lonely at times. Connecting with others with similar skin conditions can also be beneficial. Using online support groups can boost self-esteem, learn new ways of managing eczema as well as make friends. There are also many eczema, TSW (topical steroid withdrawal) and other skin-related followers and influencers on Instagram which may be useful to follow. Some of them even have their own podcasts.
Spending time with friends can also be a great way of relaxing and reducing stress. Having that connection and being able to spend time doing fun things is great. However, there will be times when either you or your friends go through challenges. Being able to talk, and having someone to confide in is also important. Likewise, make sure you offer that same support back to your friend.
5. Issues in relationships
I wrote a blog two years ago about how I’ve allowed having eczema to reduce my confidence to the point where I didn’t have relationships or go on dates. This limited belief played in my mind for many years which started in adolescence. This is a shame because my thoughts and beliefs caused many blocks and missed opportunities of dating and going through experiences. Reflecting back on my 20s I was unable to embrace my weaknesses which was a major issue. This made dating difficult, however from blogging and by just maturing and becoming older I realised that it is a weakness and not my identity.
By not allowing eczema to be our identity it will enable us to open up. Being open may actually attract people not just in relationships but also friends and professional connections. It may lead to being recommended to something or referred to someone which can open networking opportunities.
Here we’ve been able to talk about how lifestyle can affect mental health and eczema because it involves more self-care and having a routine. We’ve also talked about how activities can affect mental health as well as friendships and relationships. I’ve written previously about not allowing eczema to become your identity and how I allowed it to affect dating which may be useful. Next, I will be summarising all 3 of these posts before moving on to a different topic.