LOVING & APPRECIATING YOUR BODY WITH LYMPHEDEMA
Learning to manage grief and find acceptance of a body can be challenging in the world of chronic illnesses, such as lymphedema and lipedema. Cultivating self-compassion and care can make all the difference. Here are five ways to help you love your body with lymphedema, even on its most difficult days.
Practicing gratitude is easier said than done sometimes, especially when your body requires so much care. However, it can make all the difference in our quality and enjoyment of life. Reframing criticism with gratitude can help to restore some balance. Your body is working hard to fight an illness. Give it some credit for that hard work. Even the simplest things, like feeling the sun’s warmth on your skin, can switch your focus. What is your body doing well? Appreciating a deep breath and being present can be beneficial. Sometimes the littlest things can bring about the most profound changes.
KEEP SELF-CARE SIMPLE
Self-care does not have to be an extravagant affair. Keep it simple and attainable. A spa day or a shopping spree can be fun but not always readily available. Intentional awareness of our body’s needs can be just as beneficial to our self-care. One example could be a glass of water drunk with the intention of caring for your body.
Similarly, a nap taken when needed brings rest and healing to one’s body. Another way could be lotion applied with care and love to washed skin. The intention you give to the process can bring joy and much-needed love and acceptance to your body. Self-care is essential for those dealing with a chronic disease. It is not selfish!
ADVOCATE FOR YOURSELF
Advocating for yourself is hard work, and there is always the stigma of rejection or the fear of not deserving to speak up for your needs. However, if you don’t advocate for yourself, who will? Do you need extra time? Could you use a rest? Do you need that seat on the bus for your aching legs? Speak up. People will listen; if they don’t, find people who will. They are out there. You and your body are deserving of the care and attention you need.
ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR FEELINGS
There will be bad days, and there will be setbacks. This is true for all of us. It’s important to acknowledge these feelings as well. Sometimes bad days just suck! It’s okay to feel all the feelings. Let them wash over you and move on. Sometimes, to get past the grief, sadness, and feeling overwhelmed, we have to go through it. There is no other way. Good days exist as well. They may be just around the corner. Allowing ourselves the grace to be where we are will help us get through the bad days quicker.
POSITIVE ROLE MODELS
One of the significant advantages of the internet is that it helps us to realize we are not alone. One way to better accept and love your body is to look for positive role models. There are many examples of those dealing with lymphatic conditions who have accepted and learned to thrive with their illness. A few of my favorites on Instagram are @am.sobey, @thisisamyrivera, and @hardeep_k. They have truly learned to love their body with lymphedema. Many others can help you get a fresh and new perspective. There is no version of a body that doesn’t deserve love and respect.
MINDSET IS KEY!
What we focus on expands! It’s human nature to find the negative, it’s part of our survival mechanism, yet it doesn’t always serve us. Look for the good. It’s out there. Mindset is like a muscle that needs to be exercised. The more we practice looking for the positive, the more we will find it.
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.