Santa Has His Helpers- And You Can Have Yours…

The weather is changing, leaves are falling, down jackets are being spotted on the street; yes the season is coming. It’s time to settle in for winter, and get geared up for the holiday season. Tis the season for family gatherings, good food, and gifts for all.

It’s also the season that a lot of people with rheumatoid arthritis, myself included, begin to feel more achy. Weather changes seem to affect about two thirds of us, and this is most likely due to changes in barometric pressure although scientists haven’t completely agreed about this. For me, confirmation by medical science that I actually do feel worse before storms is the least of my concerns, because the link is so clear. Instead, I am more interested in figuring out what to do to lessen the impact the weather has on my life.

The good news is this: as the weather gets colder, and your joints get stiffer, you have the opportunity to ask for some arthritis helpers from Santa! This year, when you are making your gift list for your loved ones, why don’t you ask for some TLC and/or some things that will make your life easier?

Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Scented or unscented heating pads that you relax with at night
  • Compression gloves, socks, or tights
  • Kitchen Aids (like electric can openers, pressure cookers, jar openers)
  • A Vibrating massage wand
  • A gift certificate for a massage
  • Bath Salts
  • A Book/Magazine holder for your tub
  • Warm Pajamas, socks, or slippers
  • A Paraffin Bath for hand pain
  • Aromatherapy candles, lotions, or oils
  • An Electric blanket, mattress pad, or down comforter
  • A gift certificate for cleaning your house
  • Books on arthritis or self-help
  • Key turners
  • Doorknob assists
  • Jar openers
  • Guided meditation CD’s
  • A padded yoga mat
  • Yoga socks or shoes
  • Shoe insoles or good shoes
  • A Lavender eye mask

If you are curious about other ideas a simple internet search on arthritis aids or gifts for people with arthritis will give you some great ideas. It’s early enough in the season that you have time to start your list and do some research about what exactly it is that you want. Over the years I’ve accumulated quite a large RA “toolbox” that is filled with many of the things on this list and, although I don’t dig into my box every day, it sure sees some use during the winter! If you are new to RA and still unsure which items will be the most useful, try this. Go through your days this next week and make a note when you encounter something that is hard to do, or causes increased pain. Then, refer to the list I have above, and/or do a search on the internet to find a solution.

Holidays are a really good time to practice speaking up with your loved ones about what your needs are. By guiding them towards gifts that help your RA, you are also spreading awareness about the daily impact the RA has on your life. This could lead to some interesting conversations, some real connection, and a better understanding about how to help you in the future. One year I asked my nephew for a gift of a shoulder massage. He happily massaged me every day that I was visiting for the holidays, and to this day he remembers how much he helped me. Not only did he feel happy that he helped, he continues to be curious about the RA and my pain, which has led to a much closer relationship.

Dream on and happy hunting!

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