Every once in a while we have many things to be stressed about and no time to relax. Little we know this could be very critical time for vitiligo fighters.
Unfortunately, vitiligo and stress do not mix well, and internet is full of research studies to support this fact. Stress breeds inflammation throughout the body, taxing its systems and making you more vulnerable to a vitiligo breakout. The more stress you go through, the worse your vitiligo gets. And, the more new vitiligo patches you notice, the more stress you will be under. It’s a destructive and uncomfortable cycle to put you through.
Since vitiligo and stress have a compounding effect, it’s essential to plan ahead to live happier with vitiligo. Read on as we disclose some ways to beat stress and stop your vitiligo from spreading.
1. Eat right.
It is natural to be tempted by the sugary treats every once in a while. But to be your happy self, it’s best to eat vegetables and fruits, healthy fats, lean protein, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Don’t forget that gaining weight can make you more prone to stress in vitiligo.
2. Stay active
Vitiligo fighters who have a heavy workload at office frequently drop exercise from their routines. What they often forget is that working out is one of the simplest and most effective ways to manage stress. Aerobics, gentle stretching (to add flexibility to the painful muscles), or Yoga is a great way to improve mental health in vitiligo. In fact, walking as little as 20 minutes a day could be a great stress-buster.
3. Get enough sleep
Maintain an eight-hour sleep cycle to keep vitiligo and stress worries at bay. A restful sleep not just relaxes your body but also pacifies your senses. Try to forget all your worries at the time of sleep. The next day you will have enough time to resume all your thoughts and worries. Make sure you:
- Tune in your body to the natural sunlight cycle to have a regular sleep routine.
- The noise that can be a disruptive element to your sleep is dealt with before you go to your bed.
- Avoid caffeine, which can reverse the sleep cycle.
- Don’t have heavy dinner as it can affect your sleep by disturbing your digestive system.
- Avoid alcohol before bedtime to get some quality sleep.
4. Breathe out stress
If you feel stressed out and predict an anxiety episode, a simple check on your breathing could help. Short, choppy breaths often accompany stress. Try simple breathing exercise if you continue to feel overwhelmed. Elongate and deepen the breath to dampen the body’s stress response.
5. Know your limits
A large fraction of the stress that we put on ourselves comes from an obsession to complete all things in one day. Try to set limitations on yourself and prioritize tasks that are most important to you. If you notice yourself getting stressed out over ‘not-so-important’ tasks, strike them out from your list. Rather, plan ahead and set aside specific days for those tasks. Breaking a bigger task into sub-tasks can help you prevent the last-minute rush and unwanted stress.
6. Indulge in relaxation
Set aside a little ME time to de-stress every day. Whether it’s swimming or soaking in a warm bubble bath, finding one thing that relaxes you is crucial to managing your stress. Share this relaxation activity with someone who is supportive and understands your need to relax. If you are a loner, here we have 11 solo fun activities for vitiligo fighters.
If all of this sounds like a lot of work, simply expose yourself to the sunlight (do so in the early morning). This can help you fight Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and boosts your mood due to the release of Endorphins aka the ‘feel good hormones.’
7. Visit a happy place
Visualize your happy place to instill calm. It can be a beach or the woods – a place where you’d like to feel peaceful. For 5 minutes in 2 hrs, close your eyes and visit this place to feel relaxed and free. You can download a nature soundtrack to enhance the visualization practice.
At times, the increase in stress may lead to depression. There will be times when (despite your best efforts) you will find yourself feeling irritable, sad or anxious, unable to sleep, and incapable of concentrating on work. If this persists, talk to a mental health professional.