Goodness me how the years fly by, Autumn is a time when the days are getting shorter, and the nights are drawing in fast. While we close our curtains earlier, many of us are afraid to put the heating on. As fuel bills rise around the world, keeping warm is essential for our health and wellbeing.
Unfortunately, the autumnal days reduce sunlight, and this may have an impact on the way we feel. From time to time, we will all experience low mood days. The lack of sunlight can affect our body clock, and we know that low mood days, are not good for our lymphoedema.
You May Experience
Lack of energy, concentration problems, sleep problems, feeling low, guilty, hopeless, lonely, sad or tearful, you may feel a loss of appetite, or you may feel you are snacking more. Your feelings are personal to you but please reach out to our support group or talk to someone you trust. At the end of this blog are a list of organisations you can turn to if you are experiencing low mood.
Wear your compression
During the spring and summer months we should be able to get our vitamin D from the sun. However, autumn and winter months we may find this more difficult. We need Vitamin D to regulate our mood, support our immune system maintain healthy bones, teeth, and muscles.
Food sources of vitamin D are oily fish, red meat, liver, and egg yolks. For those that prefer plant-based foods vitamin D is limited but fortified cereals, grains, bread and soy or rice milk.
For the autumn and winter months you may want to use a vitamin D supplement.
brings a change
Protect your skin
against the cold
Moisturise inside and outside
Living with lymphoedema one of our top priorities must be skincare. Each season brings a change and as the weather becomes colder, then we need to protect our skin from drying out. You may want to use dry brushing, exfoliate to get rid of dead skin cells.
Whatever your routine is you must moisturise your skin and at this time of year you may need to use more moisturiser. The product you use does not have to be expensive and I have found an exceptionally good face cream in my local supermarket that isn’t expensive. If you have extremely dry, cracked, or flaky skin, then ask your lymphoedema clinic or GP to prescribe, Dermol or a Double Base Gel.
Skincare is all about making sure your skin does not get dry, flaky, and crack putting those of us who live with lymphoedema at risk of an infection like cellulitis.
Your hands need lots of attention they are one of the busiest parts of our body.
Whether you are washing dishes, preparing a meal, using technology or have a manual job, hands do dry out so, make sure you moisturise them as much as you can.
Whenever possible protect them, by wearing gloves.
Lips at this time of year also need protecting and there are some lovely inexpensive lip balms to carry in your pocket or bag when you are out and about.
Body Fuel is essential for the autumn and winter months. That isn't an excuse to reach for the biscuits and chocolates or those salty savoury snacks that may increase your swelling.
Whether you are a meat eater or like plant-based foods. Simply put all the ingredients in the slow cooker the night before or early morning and when you are ready to eat you have a healthy, warming meal full of nutrients and vitamins.
We need more energy to keep warm and foods that will warm us up.
One of the best investments I have ever bought for this time of year is my slow cooker, soups, stews, casseroles, and curries use your imagination, cheaper than using the oven and a lot less cleaning up after. Great for busy lives.
Remember central heating dries out the skin.
Turn it down or if you can switch it off, before bedtime and snuggle under the
For those of you who have followed L-W-O Community from the beginning you will know I always implore you to moisturise from within.
Why do this? Because it helps keep the lymphatic system flowing. Drink glasses of water, if you don’t like cold water have it warm with a slice of lemon or favourite fruit. Keep hydrated, keep your fluid levels up.
Before you go to bed, drink a glass of water this will help your skin stay hydrated overnight. Don’t like water, then try a cup of chamomile tea.
Wherever possible get outside, go for a walk early morning or lunch time when there is daylight.
Keep that lymph moving.
If you have a garden sit outside and have a cuppa, wrap-up warm if you need to, or take a flask with a warm drink and go and sit in your local park.
Time to layer-up
As I write this bit I can hear the voices of my grandparents, time to layer-up hat, scarfs, gloves socks, jumpers, cardigans, pullovers and who remembers eiderdowns?
I am thankful now for my favourite fleecy throw or my favourite wrap.
My pet hate… dressing gowns but with times as they are even, I have succumbed.
Low mood is not good for lymphoedema and do keep the lymph flowing by doing some form of movement every day. It is important to keep your mind busy too, take up a hobby, read a book, listen to your favourite music.
Selfcare Tips to lift your mood
We all have our own ideas what selfcare is. For me is my way of taking responsibility for my own health. Selfcare is always a personal choice, and we all have different ways of taking care of ourselves. We are all individuals, so what works for me may not work for you but please try to establish a routine that works for you. With all that is going on in the world right now you may struggle to stay positive, please remember, stress will not help your lymphoedema or your overall wellbeing so here are my tips:
Make the most of daylight
Let light into your home
Spend time with nature
Watch the birds or the trees through a window
Play your favourite music
Sing/dance around your living room... nobody's watching
Drink plenty of water
Meet a friend for a cuppa or a meal
Talk to someone everyday
Keep a diary
Make time for yourself
Be kind to yourself
Set your own mood
Create mood lighting that gives a nice warm glow on those dark nights which will also help to raise your mood levels. Deep breathing helps you relax and helps the lymph flow through your body. Elevate those limbs, stretch, and rotate your ankles and feet, #GetMoving
Where can I find help
Samaritans – open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to listen to anything that's upsetting you. You can call 116 123 (free from any phone
You can also call the Welsh Language Line on 0300 123 3011 (7pm–11pm every day).
SANEline – support for people experiencing a mental health problem or supporting someone else. You can call them on 0300 304 7000 (4.30pm–10.30pm every day).
Mind's Infoline can also help you find services that can support you.