De-Stress for Your Body and Your Wallet
The cost of gifts adds up. Even if you have a relatively short list, hitting the shopping malls, markets, or even online marketplace can be an exercise in anxiety and budget-blowing. Add to that your RA pain, fatigue and mobility issues, and you have a very stressful situation to deal with that’s bound to worsen your symptoms.
Even though the holidays can be as stressful as they are festive, you can reduce that emotional and physical strife — all while keeping your bank account happy. The key is to combine stress-relief with creative pursuits to reduce strain on your body, explore your abilities, and produce some lovely (and affordable) gifts.
Your hands and wrists may not be up for it every day, but scrapbooking and homemade card-making is surprisingly therapeutic. The attention it takes to design, arrange and shape pages or cards is a welcome distraction from your RA discomfort, and using a variety of colors and textures can be emotionally calming (think art therapy).
Not everyone has the dexterity to tackle painting, sewing or other visual art projects. However, photography is incredibly accessible for most people, and well worth a bit of time and experimentation.
First and foremost, photography gets you out of the house. Sure, you could snap a few still-life shots inside, but it’s when you go into your neighborhood, out to the fields, or through the woods where you really feel the inspiration (and stress release). If your feet aren’t up for a long walk, have a friend drive you around to different interesting spots.
This one might sound like a big endeavor, but making candy is a lot easier on your hands than other types of baking, and relies more on timing than an arsenal of refined cooking skills. In fact, festive candy is one of the most impressive holiday baking gifts you can give that requires little effort, and modest expense.
A heavy pot, candy thermometer (they’re sold at most grocery stores), butter and sugar are all you need to get started, plus some extras to flavor and embellish. Recipes for almond roca, caramels, or hard candies are just about heating sugar (along with flavoring and/or butter) at the right temperature for the right amount of time.
Want something equally as impressive with less cooking? Chocolate truffles are just the thing: heavy cream, dark chocolate, a splash of liqueur, and a bit of cocoa or icing sugar for dusting make up the short ingredient list.
When it comes to holiday parties, it can save you a lot of effort and energy to host at your place. However, hosting brings a good deal of responsibility, and a lot of expense. Rather than foot the cost yourself, make any party potluck, which will take the financial and physical stress out of the equation.