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    Simple Ways To Take Care Of Yourself While Wearing A Chest Binder

    Binding shouldn't be a literal bind.

    Wearing a binder is a love-hate relationship. Putting it on can make you feel great, help to affirm your gender identity, or simply give you a silhouette that makes you feel more, well, you. At the same time, it's the absolute worst.

    If you want to learn more about what binders are and how to bind correctly, start here.

    We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community who bind how they take care of themselves, while also making the routine just a little less of a struggle. Here's what they shared:

    1. If you can't take a deep breath, your binder is probably too tight — it should feel like a hug, not a choke hold.

    2. It's not a great idea to hit the gym while in a binder; try a tight-fitting sports bra instead.


    "Absolutely do not work out in a binder. Binding puts a lot of pressure on the chest and lungs and it's important to be able to breathe properly while working out as to avoid injury. I wear tight fitting sports bras when working out. It doesn't give the same flat appearance of binding but it does keep everything held down in a way that allows me to breathe appropriately."

    — AJ Rowland, Facebook

    3. Master a few simple stretches and make them part of your daily routine.

    Leremy / Getty Images

    "I go into a corner of my room and brace my arms on either wall, then lean my torso in. It completely relaxes my back and shoulders."


    4. Take a sick day off, literally.

    Twitter: @awwadorabie

    "Best advice I have is if you are sick don’t wear it. I wore mine recently when I had a really nasty cough and almost cracked a rib!"


    5. Set an alarm on your phone that reminds you to take a few deep breaths or complete some short breathing exercises throughout the day.

    "I set reminders on my phone to sit up straight and take deep breaths. When you bind you have a tendency to hunch over, so me having that little reminder has really helped."

    Alex Paulsen

    6. Get in the habit of taking a water bottle around with you to ensure you're always hydrated.

    7. Keep your binder, and yourself, squeaky clean and totally dry. You'll feel better and your binder will last longer.

    Pialhovik / Getty Images / Via Thinkstock

    "I think a very important part of self-care when you bind is also to make sure your body is clean and dry before putting on your binder. I know of many friends, myself included, that have had rashes from not being careful about binder hygiene."


    "I find that I’ve kept one binder for 4 years by always washing it with cold water and hanging to dry."


    8. If you know it's going to be a scorcher, try and wear loose-fitting shirts made with breathable fabrics to avoid skin irritation or infection.

    Paramount Pictures

    "Binders are awful when it comes to wicking away sweat and moisture — it tends to just sit there — which is a surefire way to attract fungal infections. I try to combat this by wearing some kind of sports shirt (anything with moisture wicking properties) to keep the funk off of my skin."


    9. Make time for relaxing activities, like taking a hot bath.

    "I try to take long hot baths to help my muscles loosen up."


    10. Make taking off your binder before bed part of your nightly routine — don't fall asleep with it on.

    Cn0ra / Getty Images

    "Never (ever ever ever) wear a binder to sleep. I used to do that at university and I'd wake up feeling like the entire world was trying to slowly squeeze the life out of me. Even after I'd take my binder off, I'd have chest pains throughout the night as if my rib cage had collapse in on itself — I'd usually have to skip binding the next day."

    — Kieran Azura, Facebook

    11. If you find yourself unable to purchase a binder, never resort to using ace bandages or tape. A tight sports bra is always the safer substitute.

    Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

    "If for whatever reason you can’t buy a binder, don’t use ace bandages or duck tape because it can harm you! Instead go for sports bras, I used to wear two- one put on regularly and the other one on backwards."


    12. Remember that you don't have to wear a binder each and every day for your identity to be valid.

    "It doesn’t make you less trans if there are days when your chest is more noticeable because you didn’t feel up to binding. It doesn’t make you less trans if your ribs are sensitive and you can’t bind for as long as some people do."


    13. And most important of all, 👏 listen 👏 to 👏 your 👏 body.

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