Last night I took a nighttime walk in a snowstorm. It was beautiful and quiet and reminded me of how good it feels to be outside and breathe deeply… that winter has its own special feel and that I need to enjoy winter outdoors.
Stay Hydrated: We all know that winter months are drier. Make every effort to drink your recommended amount of water. Don’t forget that you can drink water hot (maybe with some lemon) when ice water doesn’t sound so good in the cold. Also, keeping water by the bed is helpful to get an extra glass in when you are half asleep.
Hydration starts on the inside but we need to hydrate the outside too. Especially, if you have swelling or lymphedema, CLick here (info on skin care).
Cracked skin can be an opportunity for infection, make sure to use a good moisturizer regularly and if your skin can tolerate it, gently exfoliate dead skin as well.
There is a subspecialty of medicine called psychodermatology which looks at the connection between emotion and skin. Psychodermatologic disorders can fall into 3 categories according to Harvard…
Psychophysiological: These problem have a physiological basis but can be exacerbated by stress or other emotional factories
Secondary psychiatric: a skin disorder can produce feelings of shame or humiliation,etc.
Primay psychiatric: some skin difficulties are a symptom of a psychiatric disorder.
Psychodermatology looks at both how emotion can affect the skin and how the condition of the skin can affect emotion. One of the emotions being researched is stress. Researchers have found that some types of stress can interfere with the immune system and that chronic negative stress may disrupt the permeability barrier of the skin. This is thought to be a factor in many skin diseases. A detailed description of pscyhoimmunulogy can be found here: https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/psychodermatology-when-mind-and-skin-interact.
One of these emotions is stress. Researchers have found that some types of stress can interfere with the immune system and that chronic negative stress may disrupt the permeability barrier of the skin which is thought to be a factor in many skin diseases.
What this says to me is that there is hope. We may not be able to control many of the aspects of a condition such as lymphedema but we CAN control our emotions and teach ourselves how to manage stress. I encourage you to look for systems or techniques that help you to manage stress.