Finding Time for Joy is Crucial for Mental (and Physical) Health
- Singer Leanne Rimes, 41, has had the chronic skin condition psoriasis since she was just two years old. Still, the singer has been vocal about how she’s learned to manage the condition — and the importance of prioritizing joy.
- Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, meaning the body’s immune system becomes overactive and attacks normal tissues. It causes red, itchy patches to develop mainly on the lower back, elbows, knees, legs, feet, scalp, face, and palms.
- Although psoriasis is incurable, treatment options to manage symptoms include topical ointments and creams as well as learning to avoid triggers.
- Dr. Dana Chase, gynecologic oncologist at UCLA Health, says emotional health and good quality of life are associated with better patient survival and outcomes. She encourages cancer patients to continue prioritizing what brings them joy.
The talented performer, who has been vocal about her struggles of finding a way to manage symptoms of chronic skin condition, psoriasis, used the light-hearted challenge to embrace what brings her joy — and that’s music.
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“[I] couldn’t resist,” Rimes wrote in an Instagram caption for a nostalgic medley of famous women of ’90s-era country music.
Rimes can be seen wearing comfortable loungewear, dancing, and singing along to the sweet sounds of beloved hits like “Strawberry Wine” by Deana Carter and her own popular hits that circulated the playlist. She seemingly jumped for joy when her 1996 song “One Way Ticket” played toward the end of the clip.
Supportive fans were amped that Rimes decided to take part in the challenge.
“You looked stumped when Terri Clark was playing. She’s my favorite of all time,” Instagram user Karin Lafortune wrote.
“The surprised look before each song has me laughing!! Get it, girl!” Instagram user Shannon Liddell said.
“One Way Ticket in those shads had ‘STAR’ quality all over it, and here you are,” Instagram user Keith Fallon said.
It’s heartwarming to see Rimes enjoying life and sharing fun moments with fans like this. Her journey living with psoriasis has not been easy. For people living with chronic and incurable conditions like Rimes, it’s important to take mental and physical time away to focus on life’s joys.
Helping Patients With Positive Emotions
Rimes’ Journey to Managing Her Psoriasis
Rimes’ psoriasis journey included trying several different treatment options to clear up the condition, including steroid creams.
Steroid creams or topicals are a common option to treat psoriasis. Topicals are often recommended for newly diagnosed psoriasis patients — these work by applying the cream on your affected skin to reduce inflammation.
The creams used can also be non-steroidal.
Dr. George Han, a dermatologist at Northwell Health/Lenox Hill Hospital, told SurvivorNet in a previous chat that topical treatments are often a convenient option for patients.
“The majority of patients with psoriasis overall are managed with topicals only,” Dr. Han explained.
“And I would say part of this is from convenience, and you could argue certainly patients with milder forms of psoriasis, it’s justifiable to just treat topically.”
Can Natural Remedies Treat Psoriasis?
Rimes also focused on her diet to reduce flare-ups. Healthline reported she “eliminated gluten and all fried food from her diet.”
SurvivorNet experts say certain foods and drinks can trigger autoimmune conditions and cause inflammation. According to Harvard Health Publishing, some foods that cause inflammation include white bread and pastries, fried foods like French fries, sodas and other sugary drinks, red meat, processed meats, and margarine.
These foods can cause insulin (a hormone that controls our blood sugar) to spike in our bodies, contributing to inflammation.
Conversely, examples of anti-inflammatory foods include fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and fish.
Rimes also tried an “injection regimen” to manage her symptoms, although she has not said what type of injections she uses. She resorted to some vitamin D from the sun to help manage her symptoms.
“Saltwater and sunshine, mother nature’s gifts to us, truly, truly help me. I’ve been in a place before many times and gone on vacation and come back and been completely clear,” she said to Prevention, a health news resource.
While saltwater can help ease skin conditions, according to SurvivorNet experts, the sun will exacerbate symptoms for some. However, phototherapy, or light therapy, is also a treatment option for psoriasis. It’s generally used when topical medications are not working. Phototherapy exposes the skin to ultraviolet light to slow down the excess growth of skin cells.
“I use raw coconut oil, which I love. I also love a little bit of any kind of carrier oil with a bit of essential oil in it,” Rimes said, as it helps keep her skin moisturized.
Moisturizers can be very effective in treating dryness caused by the disease and promoting skin healing. SurvivorNet experts say the best moisturizer to buy will have the following characteristics:
- Heavy textures like oils, ointments, or creams
- No fragrance to avoid irritation
Focusing on Joy Rather Than Your Condition Has Benefits
Rimes’ social media post offers a nostalgic feel for her and her fans, and these positive emotions can benefit her overall health as she continues to manage her psoriasis.
Dr. Dana Chase, a gynecologic oncologist at UCLA Health, says that maintaining good emotional health and quality of life is associated with better survival and patient outcomes. She encourages cancer patients to prioritize their emotional health for this reason.
“So definitely working on your emotional health, your physical well-being, your social environment, your emotional well-being, definitely working on those things and making them better are important and can impact your survival,” Dr. Chase told SurvivorNet.
Dr. Chase suggests tapping into your support network, which can include loved ones like friends and family. It can also be a patient advocate or a support group — in-person or virtual — that shares your cancer or disease.