It’s a new year, new you, right? Which means 2020 is going to be your best year yet. And with the new year, we challenge you to commit to taking care of the real MVP in your life: you. Self-care should be at the top of your to-do list this year, making sure to pay attention to your emotional, spiritual, and physical health. Alongside that list, here are the top five ways you can also take care of your breast health this year.
Perform Routine Breast Self-Exams
This has been preached to you since you bought your first training bra, and it’s just as important now as it was back then. Self-examination only takes a few simple minutes but it can be the first critical step in detecting an abnormality that may be serious and require assessment from a professional. The best time to perform a self-exam is right after your period when swelling and tenderness are at a minimum. Many women make it part of their morning routine and perform their self-exams during their showers. If you notice any new lumps, bumps, rashes, tender spots, nipple discharge or areas of discoloration or thickening of the skin, call your doctor to get them checked out immediately. And, if you’re over 40, make sure to schedule your mammograms annually.
The Right Bra Matters
It’s probably safe to say we all can relate to the struggles that come with finding a good bra, right? But did you know that most women, on a daily basis, aren’t wearing a bra that fits them properly? This can actually do more damage than causing unwanted lines that show through our shirts. Wearing improperly fitted bras can interfere with lymphatic drainage and ultimately mess with cellular health. Make it a goal this year (and soon!) to get measured by a bra expert. Especially if you’ve recently gained or lost weight, had a baby, or have been breastfeeding. Don’t forget to add a sports bra to your list – having the right support during exercise is also essential for breast health (plus, feeling cute and supported in your workout gear is just one more way to stay motivated to live a healthier lifestyle!)
If quitting has been on your list, then commit to making 2020 the year you walk away from cigarettes. Not only has smoking been linked to multiple chronic health problems, but it’s important to note that women who smoke have a 30% higher risk of developing breast cancer than women who have never smoked. We know quitting is hard, but we know that you are stronger than any obstacle and we know you can do it.
Drink More Water
We understand that sometimes there’s nothing more necessary than that first cup of coffee in the morning, or a good glass of wine before bed. But there are definitely some reasons to cut back on drinking anything but water in the upcoming year. Coffee, tea, soft drinks, wine, and beer all contain chemicals that trigger an increase in the production of stress hormones. These hormones have been found to be linked to breast lumps and tenderness. Studies have actually shown that when women reduce or even eliminate such drinks and replace them with good old fashioned water, symptoms diminish and even disappear. So even if you can’t cut out the coffee entirely, make it a goal to add more water into your daily routine.
Give Yourself a Massage
We all deserve a little R+R sometimes, and a massage is the perfect way to destress and promote breast health. Our breasts actually benefit from proper circulation and something that is called “tissue mobilization.” A regular self-massage can actually increase our circulation and help break up fibrous tissue. How to do it? Try 50-100 light circular motions in each direction over the breast tissue and gently rub over the entire breast and underarm to circulate the lymph glands and restore the flow of energy. If you experience breast tenderness, swelling, aches, and heaviness with your menstrual cycle, you might have fibrocystic breast condition – a very common condition that affects more than 50% of women during childbearing years. While many think that PMS breasts are normal, it definitely doesn’t have to be. Stop letting unnecessary breast pain interfere with your daily activities. Learn more about Violet and what it can do for you here.