Working while living with psoriasis can create challenges. If you work a typical 9-to-5 job and have psoriasis, you must learn to balance the demands of your job with the needs of your condition. It’s no simple matter, but it’s not impossible. You have to communicate your needs, advocate for yourself, and find solutions to balancing work and keeping your symptoms under control.
For these reasons, psoriasis can make your professional life more challenging:
- You have a chronic autoimmune condition that
- Your condition may cause skin lesions that may be painful and difficult to keep private.
- You may experience pain related to the condition.
- Your treatments may interfere with your work hours.
- You may need to attend doctor’s appointments only available during work hours.
- Your job may induce unhealthy habits and stress, which worsen your psoriasis.
These challenges don’t have to limit your professional success, however. There are many ways you can succeed in both the workplace and in psoriasis management.
Psoriasis and the workplace
It’s possible to work with psoriasis, but the condition does take its toll on the worker and the workplace. A study in the European Journal of Dermatology found that psoriasis can lead to:
- early retirement
- use of sick leave
- changes in occupation
- modifications in the workplace, often to avoid skin irritation
These factors don’t have to get in your way of being a productive employee though. You need to take your health seriously and find ways to manage your condition and work more comfortably. Here are several ways you can maximize your professional life while living with psoriasis:
Talk to your boss and colleagues
A simple way to avoid confusion about your condition and health needs is to be open about your psoriasis. Find an appropriate time to discuss your psoriasis with your boss, and then consider sharing information with your colleagues.
Some points you may want to share with your boss include:
- how psoriasis affects your work
- what assistive devices you may need, such as computer equipment or a specialized office chair
- why you may need a flexible schedule to attend medical appointments
- where you may be able to go in your workspace to apply needed treatments, such as topical creams
Your colleagues may benefit from a conversation about your condition as well. Sharing straightforward facts and answering questions might be helpful to building understanding relationships in your workplace.
Communicating about psoriasis doesn’t mean you have to share everything about the condition. Psoriasis is a personal matter, and you may choose to keep some details private. Also, it’s wise to keep yourself from oversharing. Try to keep the information you do discuss relevant to your workplace.
Work with your doctor
Establishing a healthy, manageable treatment plan begins with your doctor:
- Make sure you can stick to your agreed-on treatment plan in your 9-to-5 job.
- Talk to your doctor’s office about scheduling appointments at times that accommodate your work schedule and your doctor’s.
- Bring to your doctor’s attention any difficulties you have adhering to treatment based on your job’s demands and hours.
- Discuss ways to avoid psoriasis triggers to keep your condition from worsening.
Living with psoriasis requires you to learn about the condition, your limitations, and what laws or policies may protect you at work.
- Understand how psoriasis affects your body and learn how you can avoid triggers that make the condition worse. These may include bad eating habits, poor sleep, lack of exercise, or smoking and drinking.
- Figure out how you can commit to your workload without overwhelming yourself. Stress is a significant factor in psoriasis flares, so try to avoid situations that cause it.
- Find out more about the policies and laws that protect you in the workplace in case any difficulties with your employer or condition arise.
Practice good self-care
Most people strive to find a good balance between work and life. When you have psoriasis, a work/life balance is even more imperative. This is because you need to maintain healthy habits to avoid your condition getting worse.
Self-care includes getting proper sleep, nutrition, and exercise. Make sure to keep your work hours under control so you can keep up healthy routines at home. Exercising regularly requires good time management, as does getting adequate sleep every night.
It’s also important for you to keep up with your mental health. In addition to stress affecting psoriasis, anxiety and depression are more prevalent in those with the condition. Make sure you take a step back regularly to evaluate how you’re doing, and if you suspect you need some help, talk to your doctor.
Psoriasis can be a challenging condition when navigating the workplace, but it shouldn’t make working impossible. Keeping communication open with your boss and colleagues is the first step in creating an environment conducive to your condition.
Keep in mind that you need to prioritize your health first and foremost to avoid your condition from getting worse and causing even greater challenges in the workplace. Healthy lifestyle habits should also be considered in your day-to-day life. Maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and finding time to rest and sleep will help your psoriasis in the long term.Read more in Psoriasis Resources
Doris, F., (2016, July 26). Dealing with flakes at work. Retrieved from https://www.psoriasis.org/blog/dealing-flakes-work
In the workplace. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/living-well/in-the-workplace
Mattila, K., Leino, M., Mustonen, A., Koulu, L., & Tuominen, R., (2013, April 1). Influence of psoriasis on work. European Journal of Dermatology, 23(2), 208-211. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23558018
Questions and answers about psoriasis. (2016, July). Retrieved from https://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/psoriasis/
Psoriasis - living with. (2015, May 27). Retrieved from http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Psoriasis/Pages/Livingwith.aspx
Unite the union. (n.d.). Psoriasis in the workplace. Retrieved from http://www.unitetheunion.org/uploaded/documents/Psoriasis%20in%20the%20workplace%20(Unite%20booklet)11-5344.pdf