Hello Spring by Gaynor Leech

Expert Lymphoedema Patient and Founder of LWO Community

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 we can. A superb, wonderful mood booster that raises our spirits.

A reason to get out and go for a walk, 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 who prefer plant-based foods, vitamin D is limited, but fortified cereals, grains, bread, and soy or rice milk are good sources.

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.

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.

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.

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. It is not ideal for those of us who have lymphoedema since we run the risk of getting cellulitis or even conjunctivitis from eye make-up. Our skincare webpage includes a checklist with tips for when to update your make-up and skincare products.

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:-    


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 that 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 and that your bedding and nightwear are 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 meal. It is recommended that you avoid eating for 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 who 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.

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 adding 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.





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