“Those who are nurtured best, survive best.” -- Louis Cozolino, PhD
One of my most meaningful annual rituals is to choose one word to guide my intentions and actions in the coming year. It’s a way for me to set the tone for how I show up for myself and renew my commitment to living in alignment with what matters most in this season of my life. My word serves as a filter through which decisions, goals, and interactions may be measured and sifted. Guiding words in past years have included freedom, essential, and recovery. My word for 2023 is nurture.
I use my word as an everyday decision-making tool and an internal divining rod to help surface solutions through thick, muddy waters. When I am stuck or unsure or need to make a difficult choice, my word helps bring me to clarity. This year, I endeavor to bring a deeper sense of nurturing to the ways I cultivate my well-being. I intend to remain healthy, calm, and strong physically, mentally, and emotionally. And as I continue to nurture my overall health, manage my chronic conditions, and refine the behavioral changes that help me heal, the way I approach my skin care is no exception.
Many of the ways I nurture my skin today were born of a time when I felt under siege in my own body. When my palmar-plantar psoriasis was flaring, it often traveled beyond my hands and feet to other delicate and sensitive places like my scalp and genitals – covered literally from my head to my toes. Pain, inflammation, and swelling ruled my days, and I deployed all manner of ointments and emollients to try and soothe and nourish my raw, cracked skin from the outside. I learned the hard way through experiments, stinging, and irritation that my skin requires products that are mild, gentle, natural, and basic in their formulation. Even just water was menacing to me at one time.
My personal approach to skin care remains largely unchanged -- for me, less is more, simple is better, and gentle is best. This past year, I further encouraged the natural resilience of my skin, hair, and nails (while also quietly deconstructing my own personal beauty myth) by avoiding perfume, hair color, and nail polish. To me it feels both self-protective and validating of my developing true self. As I continue to explore the seemingly limitless ways that healing and wellness may be generated from the inside, I offer a few humble recommendations from both realms that have helped me – for people with psoriasis, sensitive skin, or simply in need of a little nurturing. May they serve you inside and out.
- Aquaphor Healing Ointment Advanced Therapy Skin Protectant
- Aveeno Soothing Bath Treatment with 100% Natural Colloidal Oatmeal
- Gold Bond Ultimate Multi-Symptom Psoriasis Relief Cream
- Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, Bodywash, and Baby Oil
- Natural sunlight (in moderation)
- Neutrogena T-Gel Shampoo
- Vermont’s Original Bag Balm
- Vitamin E oil
- Avoid or limit alcohol, caffeine, smoking, and refined sugar.
- Commit to healing your inner wounds and addressing your mental health concerns.
- Consider diet changes to help support a healthy pattern of eating that works for you.
- Move your body regularly in ways that bring you joy.
- Reconnect with nature as often as you can.
- Regulate your nervous system by managing stress (breathe, meditate, pause).
- Stop doing things that drain you instead of things that fill you.
Photo Credit: Oscar Wong / Moment via Getty Images
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