~ There are many healthy habits I’d like to develop and since I love a challenge (and some structure), I thought I’d give myself a new challenge every month. They say it takes 21 days to develop a new habit, but I thought I’d round it out with a whole month. Some challenges will be directly related to lymphedema, and some won’t. But they will all be with the end goal to make a healthier me. I’d love for you to follow along and update me on your progress! ~
For my August challenge I decided to do the manual lymph drainage self-massage every day.
How did it go? Well, not as expected.
My first approach was to do the full massage, which takes me about 10 minutes. Really the only time I could even attempt to consistently do this is adding to my bedtime routine.
Immediately I realized that the routine took too long. So, I shortened the massage to about 6 minutes. Much more manageable!
But even then, I still couldn’t do it consistently. Either I consciously was too lazy to, had already put on my night garments and didn’t want to take them off, or I completely forgot. Yes, I managed to let it completely slip my mind on multiple occasions.
I tried using an alarm on my phone. That didn’t work because I wasn’t always ready at the same time every day.
I tried posting some obnoxiously bright sticky notes on my night stand to remind me. That didn’t work either.
So, in a last-ditch effort I made a deal with myself: every night I can either do the self-massage before bed or wear my night garment.
The result? I learned I would much rather wear my night garments 😉
What I learned is that I just couldn’t add one more thing to my nighttime routine. Heck, I can barely floss every night. So, I’ve landed on the above-mentioned deal — either the self-massage or the night garment. So sometimes I do the massage, but more often I prefer to wear my night garments.
Why did I make that decision? Because I firmly believe that lymphedema treatment is about tailoring the tools in your lymphedema toolbox to your needs and preferences. For me, self-massage isn’t really my thing. But that’s OK, because there are others tools in my toolbox — compression garments, night garment, pump, exercise, nutrition, elevation.
Did you participate in the August challenge? Do you regularly do the MLD self-massage? Is it one of the tools in your toolbox?