• Management of, and worry about, psoriasis can take over your life.
  • Disrupting negative self-talk and engaging in mindfulness can boost self-esteem.
  • Some coping mechanisms can also have a favorable effect on your symptoms.

Yes, it’s definitely possible to boost your self-esteem with psoriasis. When I was first diagnosed with the condition over 25 years ago, I never would’ve imagined that I would be writing about tips for boosting self-esteem, but here I am!

After a lot of self-education, digging into my triggers, and some (read: lots) of wrestling with stating my needs confidently, I feel good in the skin that I am in, flares and all.

Here are my top six tips for boosting your self-esteem with psoriasis.

When you live with a chronic disease, medications and doctor appointments always come first, crowding out moments of enjoyment with your body. I was tired of feeling like my body was only a thing to be medicated and managed. Acts of self-care allow me to nurture my body in other ways.

For me, self-care includes:

  • cordoning off time to soak in an Epsom salt bath at least once a week (while the research is mixed on the effects, I can attest that it feels wonderful)
  • reading good books that take me out of my head (without social media distractions)
  • enjoying nonnegotiable morning “me time”

Building self-care into your routine may mean waking up 15–30 mins before your kids wake to journal, meditate, or just enjoy your favorite cup of coffee or tea. Remember, carving out time to prioritize self-care is not selfish.

I was tired of constantly looking at my flare-ups and thinking I’m ugly. Negative self-view often comes along with psoriasis in part due to stigma around the condition, and in part to the effects of the condition not only on personal appearance but on the psychology of people with psoriasis. Females with psoriasis are more vulnerable to negative self-esteem than males.

I had to switch the narrative. Allowing negative self-talk to chatter on is one of the worst things for self-esteem.

You can disrupt the negative self-talk with words of acceptance to yourself like:

  • “I am not my psoriasis.”
  • “My psoriasis doesn’t define me.”
  • “I am beautiful today.”

Telling myself these things felt silly at first. But the more self-acceptance you can muster, the more confidence will shine through. Self-esteem: 1, psoriasis: 0.

When living with a chronic disease, it’s hard to go about your day when almost every decision you make leads back to your disease. Is this cup of coffee (or wine) going to trigger my flare-ups? Will I be able to get on the floor today to play with my kids with my flare-ups stinging me? Can I go to that event tonight or will they stare at my psoriasis? Will I be able to work at my computer today without flakes being everywhere?

You probably know this spiral.

Studies have shown that meditation and other mindfulness techniques can interrupt this stress cycle. That, in turn, can help calm flares.

Mindfulness might look like:

  • listening to meditation tapes
  • using YouTube or an app to practice breathing
  • taking a walk
  • doing light yoga
  • tapping (EFT)
  • reciting a mantra

The outcome of your treatment plan depends in part on the level of communication between yourself and your doctor (see this 2021 study into psoriatic arthritis). That means that you need to be honest with your doctor. But of course that requires a level of confidence.

When I started to tell my doctor exactly how I was feeling on a certain treatment or medication (unsatisfied!), it was amazing how much better I felt going into those appointments. And how much more my doctor listened to me.

If you feel like you can’t have an open conversation with your doctor, then it’s time to find a new one. If something isn’t working, change it. Your doctor is there to help with that and find a treatment that works for you.

Being honest with yourself (and your doctor) will give you the confidence you need to reevaluate what you really need — and don’t need — in your life. When you feel empowered, you’ll likely feel better about yourself overall.

Hand-in-hand with a strong relationship with your healthcare professional is a store of trusted resources.

There is a lot of advocacy around psoriasis on social media — much more so than there is information by dermatologists — so finding people and sources you can trust will help ease anxiety around psoriasis.

Overwhelm from bad information can chip away at your sense of security. Be picky about those who you accept advice from.

When you start connecting with others who are living with a chronic disease like psoriasis, you’re connected to others who get it.

You don’t have to explain what a flare-up is. You don’t have to explain why treatment days are hard. You don’t have to explain why you’re trying a new diet lifestyle (gluten-free? dairy-free? no red meat?). They just get it.

A 2021 study of over 100 people with skin conditions, including psoriasis, found that social support could influence the way they experienced their skin condition.

And knowing that you have that support in your back pocket — thanks to social media — means you can grab your phone and reach out when you need it.

When was the last time you just shut down your computer or phone and took a nap? I know, it may sound silly. But sometimes rest is all your body needs to catch up, recuperate, and heal.

When you sit and rest, you’re able to take note of what your body needs and ask yourself when was the last time you drank water? Have you hydrated your psoriasis flares with your fave lotion? Have you reached out to your community to check in? Or do you just need to watch an episode or two of your fave show? (“Ted Lasso” is my jam).

Rest, heal, recover, repeat.

Boosting self-esteem with psoriasis is a cumulative effort. It starts with committing to self-care, accepting yourself, and being honest with yourself about what you need to happily live your life while managing your psoriasis. Not the other way around.

Sabrina Skiles is a lifestyle blogger and advocate with health organizations like the National Psoriasis Foundation. She created her blog, Homegrown Houston, as a lifestyle resource for millennial women and those living with psoriasis. She shares daily inspiration on topics like health and wellness, motherhood and marriage, and managing a chronic disease while living a stylish life. You can find her sharing psoriasis tips on Instagram and Twitter.