We all know how much fun knitting, crocheting, sewing and general craftiness are, but too much of a good thing can lead to painful wrists, hands, forearms and shoulders. Listed below are some simple things you can do to alleviate the stress and strain of all the holiday craftiness you are probably in the midst of. Remember though, these self care techniques are good for anytime of the year, and taking care of yourself now will help to ensure you are crafting happily and pain free for many years to come!
Tips to Reduce Stress
1. Make a list of things to do, prioritizing what needs to be done first, and putting off things that can wait for a little while.
2. Try to maintain a normal sleeping pattern. Same thing goes for your diet. Yeah, yeah, I know it doesn’t sound like fun and some days these goals may be totally impossible, but it will make it easier for you to deal with the ups and downs of the holiday craft season. All though, the occasional cookie and cup of cocoa does make the crafting just that much merrier 😉
3. Make time to do the things that are truly important to you; its important to take time for yourself during the holiday hustle and bustle.
4. DRINK WATER!!! It can help you feel better if you have overindulged, and also promotes general health and well being.
5. Realize it may not all get done, especially if you keep adding things to your to do list. Try setting a date that you will “throw in the towel” and be done with crafting craziness…if it isn’t done my then, it can wait. This frees you up to enjoy some time before and during the holidays without feeling guilty. For me this year, that day is December 17th.
6. Go see your massage therapist, chiropractor or acupuncturist. All three treatments can greatly improve your physical well being as well as your mental outlook.
Tips to Reduce Pain and Tension While Crafting
1. Take a break! Stop every hour or so to give your hands a good stretch. Really open up your palm, stretch your fingers as wide as they will open. Shake your hands out and maybe rub some nice lotion on them, focusing on the middle of your palm and where your fingers join the palm. Rub the inside of your wrist with the thumb of the opposite hand. Make small circles with your arms and then let them hang loose at your sides.
2. Close your eyes for fifteen to thirty seconds every ten minutes or so, especially if you are working with a very small gauge knitting project or a difficult to read pattern/chart.
3. If you notice the discomfort lasting longer or becoming more intense, please see your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Believe it or not, it is possible to hurt yourself by crafting.
4. Knitting yourself a pair of wrist warmers or gauntlets to keep your wrists warm while you are working is a great way to help keep yourself from experiencing discomfort. Just make sure when you knit them for yourself, you make them snug enough that they wont interfere with you are crafting. Natural fibers are best for this type of project, as they will retain heat.
5. If you have over-done it, place ice on you hands, wrists or shoulder to help alleviate any pain or swelling that may occur. A good rule to follow is ten minutes on, twenty minutes off until the pain subsides or the swelling goes down.
6. Last but not least, don’t forget that crafting is what you do for fun! Sure, we all feel the pressure of the holiday giving crunch, but your family would rather have you happy, healthy and sane for the holidays, even if it means they get an IOU (or better yet, the supplies to make their own gift and a bit of your time teaching them a new craft…its like two presents in one!).