Stress can play a huge role in health conditions, especially autoimmune diseases.

Symptoms of stress include:

  • Poor or inadequate sleep (insomnia)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Headaches
  • Poor concentration
  • Muscle aches
  • Skin inflammation (eczema)
  • Inflammation of the joints (arthritis)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Asthma attacks
  • Exacerbation of disease activity
  • Relapse of disease activity
  • and more

For those of you who have any one of the pemphigus/pemphigoid (P/P) related skin diseases, stress is the number one factor in flare-ups occurring. The mind-body connection is very strong and stress encourages the antibodies to act up and give you more blisters. Trying to stay even-minded is a big challenge. Easier said than done, but with practice, it can be accomplished! Any kind of exercise like yoga, swimming, or taking a brisk walk can be calming and fun at the same time! Meditation is also great tool for relaxing and can be done in the privacy of your home. If your mind wanders…just focus on your breath.

Deep breathing can help to calm down the feeling of anxiousness that stress can cause. You can inhale to the count of 10 (working up to 20), hold the breath for 10 and then exhale at the count of 10. Doing this with your eyes closed should help you to feel more relaxed.

Listening to music can be very relaxing. Dim the lights and lie down, breathe and just let yourself float away! YouTube has great choices if you do not already have your own easy listening library. Examples of music that you could search for are “yoga music,” “relaxing music for stress,” or “calming music for stress and sleep.” There many options available! Just type in the kind of music you want and YouTube has it.

Be creative in your de-stressing activities! Everyone finds activities to be relaxing, and it is important to find what best calms you. Some suggestions for de-stressing activities are:

  • Going for a walk with your dog
  • Going to the movies – especially to see a comedy (laughter can be the best medicine!)
  • Go for a hike
  • Adult coloring books
  • Photography
  • Fishing
  • Gardening
  • Cooking
  • Spending time with friends
  • Turning off all technology
  • Crafts
  • Go to the gym
  • Take art lessons
  • and more!

Anything you can do to take your mind off of the stress of having P/P will be helpful, and is your best tool in addition to what your physician prescribes.