It seems this time of year I hear many patients conflicted with enjoying the beautiful weather with a couple of glasses of wine and great company. However, for many it can be a time of year where their psoriasis will flare up due to the increase stress, altered diet and family get togethers that are confronting at the best of times.
So how DO YOU manage the stressors of Christmas and enjoy the festive season while keeping your skin healthy?
1. Traffic chaos – it seems that there are more cars on the road this time of year and everyone is in a hurry. More people are driving recklessly and more rage on the roads.
QUICK TIP – ensure you have plenty of time to get where you need to go. Nothing is worth getting upset for and if people around you are feeling chaotic and stressed it doesn’t mean you need to. If a situation presents that you are confronted with reckless drivers just let it go. The frustration will soon past and will be totally forgotten.
2. Shopping centre chaos – with almost the entire world out there buying presents for all their loved ones for the exact same day there is no wonder the shopping centres are filled with people looking for gifts that are memorable and desired.
QUICK TIP – if you are stressed because finances get stretched with numerous gifts that need to be bought, suggest a Kris Kringle approach to Christmas. That way each member of the family gets a beautiful gift and also save your pennies as you can often spend a little more for one person and buy them something they will appreciate instead throwing in a cupboard and forgotten.
Perhaps opt to get up early now that many centres will open early and equip yourself with a list, comfortable shoes, water and some snacks. That way you will spend less time getting stressed, will keep hydrated, avoid eating take-away foods that will irritate your skin and get the job done with minimal shoppers around.
3. Family chaos – we all have some level of dysfunction in our family right – otherwise life would be pretty boring.
QUICK TIP – My approach is to embrace it and enjoy the moment you have with each other. If tempers flare just walk away. Someone has to show constraint so why can’t it be you. This is definitely not the time to keep score and really life isn’t about keeping score. Often alcohol can make some people more grumpy, I’m sure we all know our loved ones by now so perhaps don’t start any political rows over Christmas lunch.
4. Temptation – it is a time of year I am more tempted than others. The smell of a barbeque sizzling away, delicious dishes coming out of the oven one after the other and the urge to enjoy a cool glass of bubbles with your meal. All this sounds wonderful and makes Christmas feel more enjoyable but think about the next day and the day after that how you will feel.
QUICK TIP – Look at what the menu will be and if you are celebrating at a relative’s house perhaps chat with them as to what minor alterations can be made so that it is suitable for you. For example, instead of eating barbeque chops and sausages – you can enjoy grilled salmon or lamb souvlaki. The seasoning can be of fresh herbs such as oregano, rosemary, sage etc. For salads have a bowl put aside without any dressing and you can add your own dressing including extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and lemon. There are some great recipes you could get from http://ireneprantalos.com/recipes-for-psoriasis that will taste delicious and limit any feeling of missing out. While you are there have a look at the Apple and Coconut Muffins, I prefer eating them warm with some fresh stewed apple drizzled over the top.
5. Alcohol – this one is a tricky one. Often I get asked for tips on dealing with the temptation of alcohol. The only tip I can suggest is have a juice prepared earlier that has a combination of vegetables and fruit that can wet the appetite and reduce the need to drink alcohol. You can mix it with a little bit of sparkling water to add the fizz to it.
The truth is you can add anything to this but I would keep the fruit to only 1 piece.
6. Overall Stress – it is a time of year of overall stress as many of us reflect on what we have or what we don’t have or what we are told we must have but don’t. The truth is stuff or other people’s expectations of what your life must be will never make you happy.
QUICK TIP – Perhaps take the time to look at what gems you do have and also if something is challenging you at this time whether it be relationships, health, family etc look at what you can change about you to better deal with it or change your life to give you the outcome you desire. Being mindful of the moment you are currently in and eliminating the stress of the past or the anxiety of the future will help with clearing your mind and invigorate you to feel more energetic and patient with life’s obstacles. It’s important to remember we all have obstacles in our life and reaching out to get a helping hand from someone who supports you and loves you is what this time of year is all about.