MAKING SELF-CARE A HIGHER PRIORITY
My new year’s resolution is to make self-care a higher priority. Working with lymphedema patients, I’ve seen time and again how self-care improves the quality of one’s life. I have never been very good at self-care. I’m good at taking care of everyone else. 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 is 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.
PRESCRIPTION FOR LYMPHEDEMA
Compression garments can be expensive; I understand this. However, compression is comparable to a prescription drug for lymphedema. Therefore, it should not be taken lightly. Compression is part of the health care plan for lymphedema, and garments 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 – I think I am.
IF WE DON’T CARE, WHO WILL?
If this man 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, if we wait until we feel like doing it (personality) instead of doing what is scheduled (procedure), it will most 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: the stockings start to get way easier to get on, the Velcro no longer sticks as well on a wrap garment, or the garment begins to slip regularly. Generally, if a stocking is worn 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, self-care for those dealing with lymphedema should include skin care, especially in these dry winter months. Exercise to move lymph fluid is beneficial to all, but especially to those dealing with lymphedema. Other tactics, like being involved in a support group, help to know you are not alone. Many local hospitals have support groups you can join, but if not, check out the groups on social media. There is a lot we can learn from each other. Reach out!
SELF-CARE = SELF LOVE
Self-care is self-love. To ignore caring for your lymphedema is sending a message to yourself that you are not important enough. Our attitude toward ourselves and our self-care needs to improve. Only we can make this a priority 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? I believe mine is; 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.