My Own Personal Kryptonite

kryptoniteWhen Superman was exposed to one particular thing, he immediately lost all of his powers and became weak.  The thing that had such an immediate and pronounced effect on Superman was green kryptonite.  Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy has his own personal kryptonite – but it’s called winter.

Winter?  Why an I writing about winter when so many of my superhero friends are posting beautiful photos of flowers in bloom (Hi Single Gal!) and writing about warm weather footwear (Hi AJ!)?  Well, Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy currently finds himself in the southern hemisphere.  Not only is his little corner of the world moving into winter, but Mother Nature decided to start the cold season one month early this year. Thanks a lot, Mother Nature!

So this year, instead of shivering and cowering upon winter’s arrival (which by the way, my body does anyway without me having to tell it to do so) I decided to come up with an action plan in order to help me better cope with the cold weather season.

1. Space Heaters – Central heating is not the norm where I live, so I have filled the void with space heaters.  I have a large space heater in the bedroom, a small but powerful space heater in the home office, and this year I added a medium sized space heater to the bathroom.  (The new heater in the bathroom has a timer so that the room is nice and toasty when I wake up in the morning.)  By the way, you definitely do not want to see my electricity bill during the winter!  Having been green before green was the new cool, I was initially hesitant about my increased energy consumption, but quickly consoled myself with the thought that instead of heating the entire house, I am at any given time only heating whatever individual room I find myself in.

2. Electric Blankets – The electric blanket on my bed is a lifesaver and significantly reduces the amount of morning stiffness.  I also have a mattress pad heater, so I can sandwich myself between two layers of warmth on particularly cold nights. I have smaller electric throws in the living room that I can cover myself with while watch television during the evenings.  Added benefit: your dogs are sure to snuggle with you.

3. Hot baths – Need I say more?  Hot baths are good morning, day, and night and also double as relaxation breaks.

4. Scarves, Gloves, Mittens, and Slippers – Okay, up until a few years ago I was not a big fan of cold weather accessories, but now I have a continually increasing collection of scarves, gloves, and mittens.  In addition to wearing them when I leave the house, I have also started wearing them indoors.  (Okay, the slippers stay indoors although I would love to go out in them.)

5. Dry Sauna – Luckily, my fitness center has both a wet and dry sauna.  Since I am already at the club most mornings for yoga class (a.k.a. superhero secret training academy), during winter I arrive half an hour early and squeeze in some dry sauna time. This not only gives me a morning boost of warmth, but it also gives me that extra little bit of flexibility to perfect those more difficult poses.

6. Sun – During the day I am always seeking out the sun.  If I am walking downtown, I go to the side of the street with sun.  If I am indoors and see any spot of direct sunlight, that is where I sit.  I have found that in restaurants and coffee shops people often avoid the tables with direct sunlight.  Better for me, as I always have a table in the sun where to sit (although I do have to put on my sunglasses in order to reduce the glare on the notebook).  When we enter corpse pose at the end of yoga class, I reposition my mat so that my feet can bask in the sun.  I can never get too many short moments of direct sun throughout the day.

So in closing, I ask my fellow superhero friends to please send some warm thoughts my way.  If you have any other suggestions on how to better cope with the cold weather, please do let me know!

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

10 Comments
10 comments
  1. Cathy says:

    I LOVE these ideas. The cold really gets to me too. In fact, I have started packing my slippers in a bag before heading to friend’s houses so I can wear them there and keep my feet warm. I made hand warmers by sewing bags filled with rice and cinnamon that can be heated in the microwave and slipped into my gloves to keep my hands warm for a while longer.

    Keep warm and keep those fingers typing on the blog – it will help them stay warm too. Cathy

  2. robin says:

    I am always cold! This post is so necessary. To be honest, sometimes I am so cold that I run (more like hobble) to the bath tub and fill it up. On days when my knees and feet are okay I walk up and down the stairs. It really warms you up in minutes. If my body hurts too much, I just bundle up in a blanket. Thanks for all the ideas! robin

  3. RA Guy says:

    Cathy – The hand warmers sound wonderful,and I bet they smell great as well! I might have to give these a try.

    Welcome Robin, glad to have your visit!

  4. sara says:

    Ha! I LOVE that yoga class is really superhero secret training academy. That just might motivate me to make it to a real class again soon instead of just doing ultimate secret training academy in my own apartment (aka top secret location).

    Hope you stay warm, and thanks for the shout out.
    s

  5. Millicent says:

    Your blog is great! I absolutely love your take on it–and you certainly are a superhero. Hang tough & keep writing!

  6. Kali says:

    I’ll trade you my heat!

    It’s been over 90 here for several days, and while I can bundle against the cold, there’s such a limit to what I can do about the heat.

    Heat’s at least as bad for me as cold. Both of them make me tired and sore, and put me in a state of mental fog, but heat also occasionally makes me faint, and certainly makes me FEEL faint.

    When it’s cold, keeping my head, ears, hands, and feet warm is totally vital. I have a set of these – http://www.sunglassesgiant.com/180searwarmers1.html – that I wear along with a hat, because otherwise I end up with a devastating headache.

    Rice bags are a great way to keep warm. The quick and dirty way to make them is to take tube socks and fill them with about 2 lbs of rice, and knot the end to keep the rice in. That’ll take 1 1/2-2 minutes to warm up (depending on the power of your microwave). Just be careful not to get them wet (which destroys the rice) or over-heat them (which scorches the rice). I’d suggest going 1 minute, then adding 15 seconds at a time until you get a good feel for how long it takes to warm them up.

    ~Kali

  7. RA Guy says:

    Kali, sorry to hear that the heat is causing problems. Throughout the year I am rarely anyplace where the temps are higher than the low 80′s, so I have yet to encounter any heat issues. I definitely have the cold thing and the humidity thing. (And don’t even get me started on the cold humidity thing!)

    Thanks for the tips on the glasses earmuffs and the rice bags.

  8. Kali says:

    They’re actually a really sleek pair of earmuffs, this sunglasses place was the only site I found that had the exact ones I have!

    Yeah, most people I know with RA, unless they have something secondary, warm weather is their friend. One of my closest online friends, on the other hand, has RA and dysautonomia. Dysaut responds very, very badly to heat, and as you know RA responds badly to cold, so between the two she has to be about as climate-controlled as I am!

    ~Kali

  9. Tracy says:

    My classroom is set at 67 degrees – not RA friendly! Long underwear and fingerless gloves are helping me to stay healthy… but warm baths and hand warmers sound great!

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