HHGTV Star Nate Berkus Reveals Psoriasis’s Impact on His Mental Health & How He Models Self-Care for His Kids

Interior design superstar Nate Berkus has often given fans glimpses into his home and into his family life with husband, fellow interior designer Jeremiah Brent, on shows like HGTV’s The Nate and Jeremiah Home Project. But up until now, he hasn’t revealed much about his health.

This week, at a roundtable entitled “Science of Skin: The Psychosocial Impact of Chronic Skin Disease” sponsored by AbbVie, Berkus shared that he’s been living with psoriasis for the past 10 years and it’s had a significant impact on his career and personal life. What’s psoriasis? It’s a chronic skin condition that can involve dry, itchy skin patches, rashes, inflamed skin, and may contribute to joint pain in some cases.

The moment he first saw the red, flaky spots, Berkus panicked. “I was completely terrified,” he says in the roundtable introduction. “Being on TV is not about being known or recognized, but it’s about connection. It’s about the effort that my husband and I put into everyone we meet — the makeovers we have to make everyone’s lives better.” He acknowledged the toll it took on his stress levels from that first day. “I’m totally focused on me right now, I don’t feel good,” Berkus shares. He immediately called his trusted dermatologist in New York City, who referred him to a dermatologist in Los Angeles. In a whirlwind two hours, he had a diagnosis and treatment.

Though a diagnosis and treatment plan helped alleviate some of the initial panic, the chronic nature of psoriasis still has a constant impact on Berkus’ mental health. “When I have a flare-up I’m not interested in seeing people, and am less comfortable being on camera. You kind of retreat,” he says.

Berkus spoke with SheKnows to share more about his journey with psoriasis. For him, the major challenge is the unpredictable nature of psoriasis. “I can’t bank on the appearance of my skin, whether it’s a really important event or not. This is recurring, and stress is a factor,” he says, adding that he even had a flare-up the night before his wedding. Establishing a relationship with a dermatologist that you have trust in and advocating for yourself when something doesn’t feel right with your body and skin is his biggest advice for anyone with a chronic skin condition. To manage the associated stress, he turns to exercise, friendships, and social connectivity, and regularly being with his family in nature keeps him present.

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His other go-to self care practices? Having a minimum of three books on his (gorgeous limestone) nightstand to dive into whenever he needs an escape from the stress. And to no one’s surprise, home organization is a must. “The process and the geometry of it calms me down,” Berkus says. “Living a life where I know what everything is is relaxing to me.”

When he’s off camera, being with his family at a lake, beach, or park is always positive for his mental health. “It’s difficult for me to be sad or anxious when I’m with my kids and we’re outside,” says Berkus. “I love looking at life through my kids eyes.”

Berkus also shares a little bit how he and Brent are raising their kids to be empathetic people, and making sure they feel seen and heard with their own mental health. “We’re very open with our kids, about not making a big deal when they see people who might look different than they do,” Berkus says. “We have two goals: that our children are kind and aware of what’s happening with other people.”

Before you go, read more about other celebrities who have been open about their autoimmune conditions:

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