Those of us with Lipedema have a particular set of things we do to take care of ourselves. These are things we perform for ourselves in order to remain healthy and happy and ensure our well-being. Especially this holiday season, we need to remember that self-care is essential.
Have you built these self-care chores into habits?
Off the Paper
I sing with a barbershop chorus. One of the phrases that we often hear from our directors is, “It’s time to get off the paper!” This means that we need to have our music memorized. This also means that we need to know the piece by heart and sing it as though it comes naturally. Being “off the paper” gives us confidence so we can exude joy while singing. This way, we can be our best and give a great performance.
Similarly, here in the lipedema community, we perform a list of self-care chores, tasks, options, and routines so that we can live our best lives. There are some that we’ve fully mastered while there are others that we still need to work on.
Our Self-Care Repertoire
I like to think of this daily list as our “repertoire.” Each item is a “song” in that repertoire and we add these self-care songs when we need to and remove or update other self-care songs. Some of the songs are standards, others are new or temporary. Regardless, it’s truly a dynamic collection.
With each new self-care song we add, we try to learn it inside and out – all of its little details and nuances. We work until that self-care song becomes a routine. Once we’ve built these songs into habits or routines, then, we are off the paper. We’re off the paper when this self-care song becomes a natural part of ourselves and it fits into our lives. We’re off the paper when we’ve completely built these self-care chores into habits and they come naturally without even having to think about them.
If it seems that one of our “songs” just isn’t meeting our needs, we either change something in the song or find another song to replace it with. Sometimes, we may also archive that song until we need it again.
Here’s an example of a self-care repertoire and where I am on each song.
- Movement with Miranda (off the paper)
- Ketogenic Lifestyle (off the paper)
- Daily Vibration plate (on the paper)
- Daily compression wear (on the paper)
- Daily meditation (on the paper)
- Healthy sleep hygiene (almost off the paper!)
- Manual Lymph Drainage (off the paper)
- Pelvic floor health & exercises (off the paper)
- Daily walk (newly added song)
- Reading for pleasure and knowledge (on the paper)
- Self-advocacy (off the paper)
Look at my self-care repertoire above and you’ll see the ‘songs’ that I ‘sing’ without much thinking. I perform these with confidence and joy. Those are the ones I’m off the paper with. I’ve built them into habits and I can do them without having to think much about them.
The ones I’m still on the paper with are the ones I’m striving to make into a habit, a routine, a natural, joyful part of my life. Notice that taking a daily walk is a newly added song for me and I’ve only started recently. I’ll strive to get “off the paper” on that this year.
Now, I challenge you… What’s your current repertoire? What self-care songs are you OFF the paper with? Which ones are you still ON the paper with? And which new self-care songs will you be adding soon? Write it all down. Examine it, ponder it, celebrate it. You’ll find that your very own personal self-care repertoire is vibrant and dynamic.
I hope you can get off the paper and finally build your self-care ways into habits. Wishing you all a very happy holiday season!
PS. Join our free webinar, Top Tips for Lipedema and Lymphedema from the Past 10 Years and How to Have Your Best Life Ever in 2023 on December 29, 2022, at 6:00 pm Eastern time.