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Jump into Spring

 

When the clocks go forward, spring arrives in full force from March through May. The ideal time of year to plan is now. It's time to change our routines, improve our lifestyle, and overcome the winter blues. We know that stress exacerbates lymphoedema.

In exchange for losing an hour of sleep, we obtain much-needed sunshine, which is a good reason to open the curtains and windows and allow in as much natural light and fresh air as you can. A superb, wonderful mood booster that raises our spirits.

A reason to get out and go for a walk, or visit your local park, or the simple pleasure of sitting in the garden with a cuppa for those of us who are lucky enough to have gardens. Sunlight increases our vitamin D levels. We require vitamin D because it is not present in many foods. Spending time outside in the sun helps to regulate our mood, boosts our immune system, and maintains healthy bones, teeth, and muscles. We feel more upbeat. 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.

 

​Who can recall their parents' and grandparents' spring cleaning when they were young? The entire home was thoroughly cleaned, the furniture was rearranged, the winter curtains were down, and the summer curtains were up. Maybe, some painting or decorating would be necessary. Being a lymphoedematous person, I recall it being exhausting and not something I would consider doing anymore. Thankfully, in 2024, we have a plethora of home conveniences, so it makes sense to tackle one room at a time or a little bit every day.

Springtime for me is a season of renewal, new adventures, looking forward to more salads, eating outside, and spending time with family and friends. Planting and watching the garden grow. If you don't have a garden, consider planting a window box or add colourful plant pots on a balcony. It’s a time to declutter the wardrobe and buy some new clothes. Plan some days out and maybe a holiday.  A time to look forward.

Hello spring a message that it is time to declutter.

 Spring Clean - Skin Care

 

One of the most crucial lymphoedema self-care activities is skin care. We begin to reduce or turn off the heating at this time of year. The skin does become dry from central heating. Scratching tends to increase when there are more irritants in the air, which is bad for your lymphoedema skin.

Personally, I find it easier to change my lifestyle when the weather is nicer. These changes don't have to be drastic; in fact, the most effective ones are usually the simplest.  Consider swapping your favourite coffee or fizzy drink for a glass of water.

 

So how do we spring-clean our skincare? 

 

How many skincare or make-up items do you have stashed away in your nightstands, bathroom cabinets, or make-up bags. When skincare or make-up is used frequently, bacteria can accumulate and get transmitted to your skin. Not ideal for those of us who have lymphoedema since we run the risk of getting cellulitis, or even conjunctivitis from eye make-up.

 

 

Here is a check list:

 

  • Have you used your products for more than 12 months? 

  • Do you remember the date you opened them, and have they gone past their use by dates?

  • Moisturisers and sunscreen are part of our daily routine and should last 12 months, watch for colour and texture changes

  • Keep moisturiser pump heads clean and keep your fingers our of jars of cream to prevent bacteria transferring to your skin

  • Make-up sponges should be replaced every three months. 

  • Brushes should be washed regularly in warm soapy water and should last a couple of years.

  • Replace brushes if they become brittle or start to lose the bristles.

  • Concealers and Foundation should last a year, if they change texture or start to smell then it's time for a change.

  • Lip Liners and Lipsticks should last up to eighteen months but as they come into contact with your mouth, they may carry bacteria.

  • Mascara and eye liners last approximately three months, bacteria build up in the tubes. Never share with anyone else.

  • Eye Shadow can last up to three years if looked after. Never share with anyone else.

  • Eye Shadow applicators keep clean to prevent the transfer of bacteria to your eyes.

  • When disposing skincare/make-up products can they be recycled?

  • Do you know your symbols?

This above information is for guidance, please use sensible precautions to prevent infection.  If you are trying a new skincare product do a patch test first. You will find more information on skincare page.

Image showing symbols on skincare products

Hayfever

 

Hayfever season, which can last all the way until autumn, sadly starts in the spring for some people. Spring brings tree pollen; summer brings grass pollen; and autumn brings weed pollen. If you have hay fever, visit your local pharmacy for advice on how to treat this condition. My advice is as follows.

Image describing how to prevent or reduce symptoms of hayfever

 

Tip:  Taking honey produced in your local area which you will find in farm shops, can protect you from the pollen where you live. Honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and may give relief from hayfever symptoms. 

Caution: 

 

  • Be aware if you are diabetic this may increase your sugar levels.

  • Be aware that sugar may increase inflammation. Inflammation leads to an increase of lymphoedema swelling causing damage to the tissue. Which might increase your risk of infection. 

Do you know the hidden sugars in our foods? Lots more information on our Healthy Eating page.  Read more...

 

#PersonalChoice

A Good Nights Sleep

 

Tiredness and lymphoedema are real. Living with swelling, heavy limbs, neuropathy, and pins and needles puts a huge load on our bodies, resulting in chronic fatigue. Therefore, it is essential we get a good night’s sleep. With the long winter evenings behind us, perhaps it's time to readjust our sleep schedules. A lack of good sleep can cause anxiety and depression.

 

 

  • Make sure your mattresses and pillows are in good condition that bedding, and nightwear is comfortable.

 

  • Put away devices before bedtime since the light from laptops, phones, tablets, and televisions will keep you awake. Remove background sounds.

 

  • Do not consume a heavy dinner. It is recommended that you avoid eating at least three hours before bedtime.

 

  • Avoid both caffeine and alcohol. Maybe try a glass of water or chamomile tea. Keep a glass of water on your bedside table, for those that feel dehydrated during the night.

 

  • The ideal room temperature should be between 18 and 24 degrees Celsius.

 

  • Set a bedtime and wake-up time to ensure consistency.

 

Self-Care Sleep Hygiene
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