Finally, continued stress can prolong the discomfort a shingles patient experiences. It can keep the immune system weak, preventing more rapid recovery. Studies have shown that stress also can lead to lingering complications from shingles. Some researchers have found that people under stress are more likely to experience prolonged pain as a result of postherpetic neuralgia, a complication in which shingles pain persists long after the rash has cleared.
If you have shingles, try to avoid stress to aid the healing process and limit the possibility of complications. Practice these stress management tips as needed to get stress under control:
- Talk out your feelings Expressing your feelings of stress to friends, loved ones, or a psychotherapist can help you tremendously.
- Identify your stress triggers. Figure out what triggers stress in you, and try to avoid those situations or lessen their impact by dealing with them before they can affect you negatively.
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle. Getting enough sleep, following a nutritious diet, and exercising regularly can go a long way toward managing stress. Avoid too much caffeine and alcohol.
- Calm down. Find a meditation or relaxation technique that works for you, and use it when you start feeling overwhelmed by stress.
- Find the right balance. Remind yourself of all the positives in your life when the negatives have you feeling stressed.
Practicing good stress management is smart self-care for everyone, but can be especially beneficial for people at risk of developing shingles or who already have the illness.