I know most women can pick apart several things they see, but there are several things that popped up once I started showing lupus symptoms.
I was never model-pretty, but I have now seen everything from rashes on my face and chest, hair loss, pigment issues, dark circles (which may just from getting older, ha!), and then later, facial hair and weight gain from Prednisone.
Lupus can have a devastating effect on how you look and feel. Many women with lupus struggle with issues of self-esteem and self-image. Whether from physical signs of lupus or things you can’t see, like feeling fatigued enough that you don’t have the energy to exercise. It just sucks, I’m not gonna lie. It can be hard to feel pretty or confident.
So, what do I do to help myself feel better?
Chocolate and wine.
But for real, here are some things I have found that help boost how I look and feel:
- Exercise whenever you can. The endorphins will boost your mood and it will help decrease any weight gain you may have experienced.
- Drink plenty of water. It will help improve the look and texture of your skin, plus it will help to flush away any bloating you may experience from Prednisone or other medications.
- Try to stay positive and smile. Let your personality and light shine through.
- Avoid the sun! The vitamin D always feels great, but it can bring on a flare, cause a rash or worsen one you may already have. Wear a hat to protect the skin on your face, neck AND scalp. I also normally layer SPF. On a regular day when I don’t plan on being in the sun for any amount of time I wear face and body moisturizers with SPF. I also use a BB cream or foundation with additional SPF. If I HAVE to be out in the sun I also wear a sunscreen of at least 60 SPF.
- Don’t smoke. Period.
- Get as much sleep as you can. I notice a huge difference in the way I look when I have had plenty of sleep. Plus, when I feel better, I look better.
- Be kind in your thoughts and how you talk to yourself. Pick out qualities you like and focus on those. Do you have beautiful eyes? Play them up. Be grateful for your body and what it does do for you.
Don’t forget to take care of your well-being. Look for signs of depression and contact a health provider if needed. It is hard to feel good when you look in the mirror if you feel overwhelmed or sad all the time.
Every time I look in the mirror I try to focus on the positives. I try to smile and be friendly, even on my ‘ugly’ days because I know that just forcing myself to smile can sometimes help me to feel better. I always feel better if I have at least a little bit of makeup on. If it helps, do it. You will find what helps you! Do what you can with your appearance, but remember that lupus and its symptoms are not who you are. There are going to be days where we can’t control or cover the yucky side of lupus, but we just have to remember who we are underneath all this.
No matter what this disease does to us, we are beautiful.