Life With Psoriasis: 10 Reasons You Shouldn't Feel Guilty Putting Yourself First

by Tracy Davenport, Ph.D. Health Writer

Putting yourself and your health first can feel selfish and uncaring. However, not making your overall wellness the top priority when you live with a chronic health condition can cost you and everyone around you in the long run. Read on to learn the facts about the necessity of self care with psoriasis.

Woman serving herself healthy food at dinner.

Putting Yourself First Allows You to Examine Your Own Diet

While there is no one best diet for psoriasis, there are foods that can help you feel your best. It can be easy to serve everyone else the foods they prefer and put your own nutritional needs on the back burner. When you think about yourself first at mealtime, you will be more likely to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. These foods can ease your psoriasis symptoms and prevent other conditions such as obesity and heart disease.

Woman relaxing and enjoying a cup of coffee at home.

Me-Time Helps You Cope With the Stress of Chronic Illness

Stress is a well-known trigger for psoriasis. Our immune system responds to stress with inflammation, which can ultimately damage healthy tissue. This makes managing stress a particularly important job for those of us living with psoriasis. Taking time for meditation, reading, or your favorite hobby can actually help you better manage your psoriasis symptoms.

Taking Time Away Can Provide You the Sun and Warmth You Need

This year I am taking all of my vacation time in the winter months instead of during the summer. It has become abundantly clear that my psoriasis worsens in the cold weather, so I am escaping several times to be in the warmth and sun. This may seem selfish to some, but I have learned that keeping my psoriasis under control is more of a necessity more than a luxury.

Modeling Self Care Will Benefit Your Children

If you are a parent, it can go against every fiber of your being to put yourself first. However, it is important that your children see you taking care of yourself even if it means their needs have to come second once in a while. Someday your children will be adults and have their own unique needs. Hopefully they will remember your example when they need to show themselves some extra love.

Woman and her dog taking a walk on a wooded path.

Taking Time Away Can Change Your Perspective and Environment

It is easy to get fixated on any one aspect of your disease. Sometimes a change in scenery can help you to put your own issues into a different perspective. A change in your environment may also provide a little extra healing. For example, if you are suffering from dactylitis, taking a break from your everyday work shoes may help you to begin to feel better.

woman running on treadmill

Self Care Helps Us Stay in Shape

If you have psoriasis, the benefits of exercise are so great that it is critical you make time to work out regularly. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, many people with psoriatic disease are nervous to move — they worry exercise will intensify their symptoms. However, making time to sweat will help you keep a healthy body weight and keep your joints strong.

Self Care Can Help Prevent Depression

People with psoriasis are more likely to become depressed, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. When you make the effort to take care of yourself, especially in the areas of diet, exercise, and making your doctor appointments, you decrease your chances of developing depression. Understanding that depression is closely linked to psoriasis should empower you to do everything in your power to take the best care possible.

resentful couple

Me-time Diminishes Resentment

If you are the only one in your household living with a chronic disease, you can become resentful. It can seem like no one understands what you are going through, especially on your bad days. When you take time once in a while to really treat yourself, it can help ease negative feelings toward the ones you love.

Smiling young woman meditating at work.

Self Care Can Help Your Bad Days

You will have good days and bad days. Unfortunately, my psoriatic arthritis worsened this year. The good news is that I have learned to recover from the bad days more quickly. As you begin to tune in to self care techniques that work for you, you will learn to apply them sooner and therefore recover more quickly from your bad days. Your family will also begin to realize that the time you spend taking care of yourself is followed by better days.

Loving Mom and daughter holding a red paper heart.

Self Care Is Other Care

There is a reason that flight attendants instruct us to put on our oxygen masks first before helping others. They know that in order for us to help others, we need to be in the best shape possible. This thinking also holds true if you are living with psoriatic disease. In order to be at your best for others, you need to feel your best. So, if guilt raises its ugly head when you think about putting yourself first, replace that feeling with the knowledge that self care is one of the best treatments for psoriasis.

Tracy Davenport, Ph.D.
Meet Our Writer
Tracy Davenport, Ph.D.

Davenport is the founder of Using the latest scientific research, she helps people live their healthiest lives via one-on-one coaching, corporate talks, and sharing the more than 1,000 health-related articles she's authored.