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Psoriasis Awareness Week runs annually and aims to raise awareness of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. This year's theme was living well with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

Both may be chronic conditions, but that doesn't mean that life has to stop once diagnosed. On the contrary, we shared examples from our communities of how people use their hobbies and passions to continue to live their best lives with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. We compiled a video montage of your tips and experiences too!

The 'living well' mantra also inspired the refresh of our website, which launched on World Psoriasis Day. We have used a new range of images throughout the site from the 'active lifestyles' photoshoot that we held earlier this year. These photos were supported by 'living well' stories from some of our photoshoot participants, which we shared over the course of Psoriasis Awareness Week.

Find out more about what we got up to during Psoriasis Awareness Week below!

Your stories

For this year's Psoriasis Awareness Week we shared a number of real-life stories from some of our supporters telling us how they use their different hobbies to live well with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Have a read of Rosie, Nish, Anna and Donald's stories below.

Rosie's story

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I have had psoriasis for as long as I can remember. My psoriasis started in my scalp and when I was 16, I had my first guttate psoriasis flare up. Growing up I had some understanding of what psoriasis was thanks to my Poppa, as he also had suffered with severe psoriasis over the years. I rarely saw anyone with skin conditions on social media or television so I thought it may just happen to older people.

When my first guttate psoriasis flare up came out I was so scared. I thought that there was something really wrong with me because the only psoriasis I had seen was on my Poppa and this was not the way my psoriasis looked as they were circular in shape. After a doctor’s appointment I was told that this was guttate psoriasis.

I have had a total of four flare ups in the last four years and have found that each one has got increasingly worse. In December last year I was really sad hearing the news I could not get light therapy for another 6 months and my mum told me to post on social media. This allowed me to share how I was feeling with people and reach out to those who are also going through similar. I found this very therapeutic and got multiple messages from other psoriasis sufferers thanking me for the honest posts I was sharing. I felt we were then going through it together.

One of the lovely friends who I made through our psoriasis stories recommended to me that exercise could reduce my flare up and of course I was up for anything that meant my psoriasis would calm down. I have a bike at home and found that going on it every day really helped me mentally and it did seem to calm the patches a little. I would recommend this for anyone with psoriasis because even if it does not change your psoriasis, it is extremely good for your mental health during your flare up.

Throughout my last flare up I came to the conclusion that my psoriasis has made me the person who I am and I no longer feel as self-conscious as I did in previous years. To me the patches of psoriasis on my body are my beauty marks.

Nish's story

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Living with psoriasis does provide seasonal challenges as it seems to affect me more in the winter months.

I have found a lot of comfort by doing walking activities in nature surroundings. Being in a setting where there are various beautiful things to view such as the trees, singing birds, lakes, flowers does provide me with a lot of calm and peace. I think being mindful and present does help with psoriasis. I would look to make the most of sunny days and take walks in nature as the natural vitamin D intake does seem to help with keeping the skin moist. Furthermore on nature walks you always find other people will say “good morning” or a simple “hello” with a smile when passing one another which adds to the feel good factor.

On long walks such as 1 to 2 hours I would prepare a few items to take such as water, walnuts and raisins, and a couple of clothing items (mainly 100% cotton t shirts). In colder weather I would be mindful of not wearing lots of layers of clothing as this tends to cause more dryness of the skin and potential sudden flare ups.

Another thing that helps me with psoriasis is doing some light, mindful breathing. When I rest on walks I would sit and take a few deep breaths just taking in the beautiful surroundings and sounds. Linked to walking I’ve also been doing some hiking at the beautiful Lake District near Buttermere, again this has been great for wellbeing as there are fantastic views to admire and behold.

Finally I’d like to add I’ve been doing some volunteering with a local charity (supporting schools with food hampers for families that need it) which has been amazing for my health, the rewards of helping others provide huge appreciation and gratitude for what we have in life. The team of volunteers are supportive and inspiring.

Anna's story

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Since getting psoriatic arthritis, following a severe bout of food poisoning some 35 years ago, I have had to adapt along the way. Arthritis is debilitating, and together with psoriasis, it had been hard to find ways of enjoying life whilst in pain and itchy.

I was working full time doing a physical job in Events and Marketing, and lots of travel and getting in and out of the car was difficult. At one point I did think I would have to give it all up. Thankfully, after trying so many different tablets and treatments over a long period of time, my Rheumatology Consultant put me onto a biological therapy (injection) and I have not looked back since.

Cooking came into my life when I helped my mother catering for Weddings and Anniversaries in the Polish Club, until she could no longer manage it, then I took over.

When I met Ernest, my husband, we had cooking in common. Ernest had been a chef in the Army feeding hundreds of men; my background was catering in the Polish Club with my mother. Together we started to organise and cook lunches at the Polish Club for the community, once a month for 10 months of the year.

We got on very well in the kitchen; each knowing instinctively what was needed without asking. This in a way became my focus, strength and enjoyment. We raised money for improvements to the club from a raffle we had at each lunch. All in all we did a good job and we worked together so well. We also did a lot of entertaining at home, and always working together in the kitchen. Cooking allowed me to live well and enjoy life.

Donald's story

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I was first diagnosed with psoriasis in the early 2000s although it was not a surprise since my mother and two uncles had the condition for many years.

I am lucky, other than the inevitable flare-ups when I have to resort to steroids, I manage with a myriad of creams and ointments. My feet and ankles are most affected so mobility can be both slow and painful.

I came to Tai Chi in 2006 by accident. My young son wanted to explore a different martial art and decided to give Tai Chi a try. I took him to meetings and sat to the side to read a book. One evening the trainer suggested I join in, and so started my induction into the discipline.

Tai Chi is of Chinese origin and many will be familiar with the representative Ying Yang circular symbol in black and white. I would define Tai Chi as ‘opposites working in perfect balance’.

Since my early beginnings, and through different styles, I have found three aspects that I particularly value.

Balance - In perfect Ying Yang, every move to the right is followed by a move to the left. Often balancing on one leg whilst turning, then balancing on the other leg. I rarely achieved this when I started but now I get it right more often.

Memory - With over 100 move sequences with translated Chinese titles such as ‘grasp bird’s tail’ and ‘snake creeps down’, there is immense satisfaction to performing the whole sequence in the correct order without mistake.

Breathing - Each sequence also requires a smooth, deep inward breath to be followed by an equally smooth outward breath.

You can practise almost anywhere, inside and outside. It takes around 40 minutes to warm up, perform the sequence before some gentle breathing and movements to finish. After a good session my aching joints do not complain, and my mind is clear and calm.

Website refresh

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Earlier in 2022 we held an 'active lifestyles' photoshoot, photographing people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis taking part in a range of different hobbies and activities across Northamptonshire.

On World Psoriasis Day, we re-launched our website in order to showcase a range of images from the shoot, showing people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis living well with their condition.

Why not take a good look around and let us know what you think?

Your tips - 'I live well with psoriasis by...'

This year's Psoriasis Awareness Week was all about living well with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, and who better to share tips on living well than you, the community?

You kindly sent us your top tips during the build up to Psoriasis Awareness Week and we have compiled them in the 'living well montage' video below. Take a look and let us know what you think.

'Finding your feet with Palmoplantar pustulosis' webinar

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The Psoriasis Association and St John's DermAcademy were delighted to collaborate for a third time to bring you 'Finding your feet with Palmoplantar Pustulosis (PPP)', a FREE webinar of informative talks from experts at the forefront of psoriasis research and practice, which took place via Zoom on Thursday 3rd November 2022 at 6pm.

Palmoplantar Pustulosis (PPP), is a type of pustular psoriasis which causes fluid-filled pustules to appear on top of red or darkened skin on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. It can be painful and debilitating.

Click on the event flyer to recap the full agenda, and learn more about the speakers and their talks here.

The evening featured talks from experts, Dr David Gleeson, Professor Francesca Capon, and Lucy Moorhead, and concluded with a Q&A - with the panel also featuring Psoriasis Association Chief Executive, Helen McAteer.

If you weren't able to attend on the night then don't worry, a recording of the webinar will be made available shortly.

Raising awareness in the community

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For the first time since 2019, we were delighted to get back out into the community during Psoriasis Awareness Week by holding psoriasis awareness days. These events provided a welcome opportunity to chat to members of the general public, hear people's real-life experiences first-hand, and provide our range of information resources to those who may have needed them.

Thank you to everyone who came to visit us at one of our stands. We look forward to getting back out on the road again next year!