IS SELF-CARE A PRIORITY IN YOUR LIFE?
Working with lymphedema patients, I’ve seen how making self-care a priority in one’s life benefits their entire life. This, in turn, highlighted how poorly I prioritized self-care in my own life. Instead, I’m good at taking care of others. Being a caregiver is part of who I am, and I doubt that will ever change. However, I would like to change my willingness and ability to care for myself to improve my life’s quality. My customers have helped me come to this realization – self-care equals self-love!
PRIORITIZING YOUR HEALTH
One of my customers called the other day to order new ReadyWrap garments. We worked out a payment plan to help him purchase these garments the first time he placed an order. However, when he called this time, he had saved enough money to buy the wrap garments and four pairs of extra liners so he didn’t have to do laundry daily. Now that’s what I call self-care! Prioritizing his health, his well-being. I could tell he was so proud of himself for saving and making his health a top priority – for taking care of himself. The other day, I read that Americans care better for their pets’ health than ours. What’s up with that?
PRESCRIPTION FOR LYMPHEDEMA
Compression garments can be expensive; I understand this. However, compression is comparable to a prescription drug for lymphedema. Compression garments are a part of the health care plan for lymphedema and must be replaced regularly. Setting aside a savings plan is one way to make it less painful. “Small, daily, seemingly insignificant contributions, when done consistently over time, lead to stunning results,” said Robin Sharma, [The 5 am Club]. Isn’t your health worth it? Aren’t you worth it? I believe you are!
IF WE DON’T CARE, WHO WILL?
If this customer can make an effort to take good care of himself, why can’t I? Self-care is easy to put off when you’re not in pain. So easy to skip that walk when it’s gray and cold outside. So easy to overeat and eat poorly during the holiday season. However, if we don’t care, who will? I heard the other day that relying on the procedure is better than depending on personality. In other words, waiting until we feel like doing it (personality) instead of doing what is scheduled (procedure) will likely never get done. Lymphedema is a progressive disease. The care you give to yourself now can make all the difference in the long run.
NOT JUST COMPRESSION GARMENTS
It’s not just the replacement and care of compression garments that constitutes self-care for lymphedema; it is a big one. Compression wears out – and when it does, it is not as effective as it once was. Usually, a person can tell when their compression needs replacing:
- First, the stockings start to get way easier to get on.
- Next, the Velcro no longer sticks as well on a wrap garment.
- Finally, the garment begins to slip regularly.
If you wear your stocking daily, it should be replaced every four to six months for optimal compression therapy. After that, wrap garments last a bit longer, as many users can get a full year of good compression out of a wrap garment.
BEYOND COMPRESSION GARMENTS
Beyond the compression garments, self-care for those dealing with lymphedema should include the following:
- Taking care of your skin during the dry winter is essential.
- In addition, exercising regularly to move lymph fluid is recommended, which is particularly helpful for people with lymphedema.
- Joining a support group can provide comfort and reassurance that you’re not alone. Local hospitals often offer support groups; if not, you can find groups on social media where we can share and learn from each other. Don’t hesitate to reach out!
MAKING SELF-CARE A PRIORITY!
Self-care does equal self-love. To ignore caring for your lymphedema is sending a message to yourself that you are not worthy of care. Our attitude toward our self-care needs to improve. Making self-care a priority in our lives helps us to take control of our health. We are the only ones who can prioritize our health in our lives! When we put ourselves last, no one benefits. If we genuinely want to be caregivers and help others, we must care for ourselves first. You and your health are worth it, aren’t they? What do you think?
Disclaimer – This blog is for general information purposes only. Furthermore, the information contained in this blog is not a substitute for medical advice – always consult a licensed healthcare professional for advice on your specific condition.