My kids often complain about how impossible it is to find a gift for me. So with the holidays and Black Friday shopping around the corner, I wanted to give them a personalized holiday gift guide.
This is not a typical list, though; I don’t need another tie or slippers. What I need are things that can help me manage and care for my psoriasis.
I didn’t add the gift I’d like most of all: a cure for my psoriasis. Still, I added an item or two that might be a reach — plus one that’s a total fantasy at this point in the pandemic. It doesn’t hurt to dream a little during the holidays.
Here’s my psoriasis holiday gift list:
Over-the-Counter Skin-Care Products That Won’t Blow the Budget
I am particular about shampoo, body wash, and moisturizers. Since I have sensitive, dry skin I look for formulations that are free of parabens, dyes, fragrances, and other allergens. I also look for items that are sold in bulk, moderately priced, or on sale since I use them daily and cost can become an issue.
A few products I wouldn’t mind finding in a gift bag include CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, Cetaphil Restoraderm Soothing Wash, Aquaphor Healing Ointment, and Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo. I’ve used these products over the years and found them helpful for managing my psoriasis without irritating my skin.
RELATED: 9 Psoriasis Dos and Don’ts
Coffee Beans for Home-Roasting Happiness
I’ve become quite fond of coffee since I met my wife, who has been an avid coffee drinker since college. Anything related to coffee, including whole beans or gift cards to coffee shops, makes a great gift for me. I felt relieved to read about studies showing that coffee doesn’t affect psoriasis risk, and might even provide anti-inflammatory effects for some people. I haven’t noticed any negative effects of coffee on my skin and enjoy it as a hobby and social outlet.
I like to home roast green coffee beans from different regions in the world, buying them from a local store that has them shipped in. A friend of mine thought I needed a hobby and bought me a home-roasting machine as a housewarming gift. When I’m too busy to roast coffee, I like to buy beans from local roasters. Other times I might pick up a caramel macchiato at Starbucks and hang out with friends, which I’m hoping to be able to do so again soon.
RELATED: 8 Foods That Affect Psoriasis
Large-Capacity Humidifier That Can Counteract Dry Winter Air
I normally suffer from dry skin but fall and winter conditions can make it even worse. Running the heater on cold nights dries out the air in my house and irritates my skin; dry winds that howl through our region do the same.
I will no doubt spend even more time in the house with the ongoing pandemic, so a large-capacity humidifier would a great addition to a smaller one I have in my bedroom. I’ve been eyeing something like this one that covers up to 2,600 square feet.
RELATED: 8 Ways to Ease Your Psoriasis Itch
Cotton Clothing That Is Soft on Skin
My family knows I mostly wear 100-percent-cotton clothing because it’s less likely to irritate my skin or cause overheating than garments made with other fabrics like wool.
For this fall and winter, I could use a new pair of pajamas, long-sleeve polos, and socks. It seems harder to find all-cotton clothing in general, so it will mean that much more if the family looks closely at the labels when they shop.
RELATED: How Clothing Can Affect Your Psoriasis
A New Pair of Walking Shoes to Step Out In
I’m a runner at heart, but I’ve come to appreciate walking to lessen the wear and tear on my knees from jogging. It’s also been a great way to get outside during the pandemic, either to exercise with my wife or spend time enjoying nature alone. I feel more at peace after a walk or hike and tend to sleep better too.
Exercise is important for people with psoriasis, who are at higher risk for diseases such as heart attack, stroke, obesity, and depression, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation.
All those miles of walking mean I need new shoes on a regular basis. I personally prefer Skechers walking shoes but will sometimes lace up my Asics or New Balance running shoes.
Bucket List Trip for Something to Dream About
The gift of travel would be incredible after the pandemic eases, but for now it’s just a fantasy. My younger daughter mentioned she wanted to give me a trip to a Dead Sea psoriasis treatment center. One study showed treatment with sun exposure and bathing improved quality of life even if it did not provide long-term psoriasis improvements. It’s a trip on my bucket list.
I also would like to return to Hawaii, a trip my wife and I canceled in the spring due to COVID-19 concerns. I envision myself relaxing on the beach, sunbathing after soaking in the ocean. Sun and ocean water do soothe my psoriasis and eczema, so this trip would no doubt benefit mind, body, and soul.
RELATED: Is Dead Sea Salt an Effective Psoriasis Treatment?
House-Chore Vouchers to Ease Moments of Daily Stress
I’m inspired by a gift the kids would give to my wife on Mother’s Day: house-chore vouchers. Mom could redeem her voucher for a day off from cooking, dishes, or laundry. I looked on with envy as she used them throughout the summer.
During particularly busy times I worry my psoriasis will be triggered by stress. So a voucher for vacuuming, taking out the garbage, or the weekly Costco grocery run would make life a lot easier and perhaps even ease my psoriasis burden.
RELATED: Facing My Anxieties During the Coronavirus Crisis
Framed Family Portrait to Honor My Support Team
My family is my primary psoriasis support network. I will always remember how they helped me when, 15 years ago, I sustained a horrible flare that covered 95 percent of my body. The ensuing depression and constant anxiety were overwhelming, and I worried I could not function at my job and provide for my family. In a moment of despair, I broke down sobbing into my hands, soaking tissue after tissue with my tears. My wife and kids came over to me one by one to comfort me.
I would enjoy a framed recent photo of the family to remind me each day how we’ve stuck together through the hardest times.
This holiday gift list tells me about all the ways that life with psoriasis can be challenging, but it also speaks to the ways loved ones can help alleviate that burden if I’m willing to share my needs and receive their help.
You can read more about my experiences in my blog for Everyday Health and on my website.