5 Self Care Tips for Patients with Hidradenitis Suppurativa
Self-care is important no matter who you are but having a chronic illness means taking extra steps to ensure you're taken care of due to the toll it may have on you mentally, physically, and spiritually. By definition, self-care is "the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own health," according to Oxford Languages Dictionary. This means there are a plethora of ways you can practice self-care and you don't have to spend a lot of money to do it.
Tip #1: Pick up an old hobby or develop a new one
We live in a society that treats everything and everyone as if it's a commodity to be bought and sold. When we have hobbies we genuinely enjoy, sometimes the natural inclination is to create a business around it. However, I challenge you to adopt a new hobby or pick up an old one as a means to play and nurture your inner child. What does that mean? As adults, we often become consumed by the responsibilities we have in life and forget we are all just basically adult children. This means we need to embrace the parts of ourselves that desire creativity, exploration, and dream time. A hobby can be as simple as learning to play the acoustic bass to learning about quantum physics. You decide.
Tip #2: Move your body
When you have a chronic illness that also comes with a lot of physical pain it can be hard to participate in activities that require you to move the body extensively. The beautiful thing is we live in a world of vast possibilities which means there is something out there for everyone. If you can't do yoga maybe pilates is more of your speed. If pilates seems too rigorous, maybe a walk around the block or dancing in your home would suffice. Getting up and moving your body can improve mood, strengthen muscles, and help to shift stagnant energy in yourself or your space. Do some research and see what comes up.
Tip #3: Count your blessings
A part of self-care is practicing gratitude for what you already have. When you're chronically ill sometimes it can be challenging to focus on the positive because there can be a slew of negativity. While it may be true that the bad outweighs the good in some scenarios, I guarantee you there's at least one thing you can still be grateful for. If you can't think of anything, contemplate the question until something comes up. It's a great practice to be cognizant of what is working for you because then you can direct your energy towards that for improvements which subsequently impacts your overall wellbeing.
Tip #4: Wear something cute or comfy
I don't know about you, but when I look good I feel good and my whole day is something wonderful. This doesn't mean go out and purchase an expensive gown to go nowhere especially in the middle of a pandemic, but it is an encouragement to look through your closet and pull out your favorite outfit, put it on, and maybe do a photo shoot or video chat with some friends and family or make an essential run. This can range from a cute party dress to your favorite pantsuit or your favorite silk pajamas. Do what feels good to you.
Tip # 5: Groom thy self
Chronic illness can sometimes mean neglecting grooming because of numerous reasons such as chronic pain, open wounds, anxiety, depression, fatigue, etc. However, grooming yourself can also improve your mood because to go back to the previous point, when you look good you feel good. This looks like combing or washing your hair and styling it or cutting your fingernails and toenails or taking a shower or lotioning your body. Take pauses throughout the day to see what parts of yourself need to be tended to. A bulk of this work can be done in the morning.
How has your HS affected your relationships with friends and family?