What Do Wish Lists Reflect?
What’s on your wish list, and why do you want these things? They tend to contain practical items that make everyday living easier, or luxurious treats that warm the heart. I’m not going to complain if I receive a fancy handbag, expensive perfume or surprise holiday, so go ahead 😉 But my wish list has definitely evolved along with my illnesses, to include things like pain relieving products. I could probably conclude that the ultimate desire behind every wish list is a better quality of life, whatever that means to each of us.
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Updated: 05 December 2018
1. Oska Pulse
At the top of my wish list is the Oska Pulse. Every week, I read a positive review about it from a different chronic illness blogger. It is a little device that uses PEMF (Pulse Electromagnetic Frequency), a technology that’s also used in hospitals for bone healing purposes.
All you have to do is to place it near the site of your pain, and that’s it. You don’t feel a thing – it’s not a massage device, or a TENS machine. In fact, it doesn’t work by blocking out pain. (What?!) It apparently works at the cellular level to heal the source of the problem, instead.
From what I have read, it seems to work great for rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia – which I don’t have – but I’d like to try it out for full body Lupus and Sjögren aches. Anything to cut down some steroids, which I’ve been on for more than a decade without a break, talk about destructive. My bones border at osteoporosis levels because of this, and I can’t help but wonder if the Oska Pulse will have a positive affect on them too, since PEMF aids with bone healing. (Is that too much to ask for?) It’s great that they have a 90-day money back guarantee which makes it more appealing.
This device is an enhanced TENS machine, and works by blocking out pain signals to your brain. It’s like a wearable painkiller, instead of an oral one. You strap it onto your calf no matter where the pain is, and wear it for up to 24 hours as needed. Technology is pretty amazing, don’t you think? They also have a money back guarantee so that’s a plus.
3. Weighted Blanket
These blankets are in common usage by those with autism or sensory issues. The weight feels like a warm embrace, which stimulates oxytocin, sometimes referred to as the ‘hug hormone’. This apparently helps you to fall asleep faster, with a better quality of rest (ain’t that the dream?). The price differs according to the material used to fill it; do ensure that it’s non-toxic, otherwise you’d just be trading one problem for another!
Update: I’ve bought myself one of these since last Christmas, but was a little disappointed in terms of the purported effects of aiding with sleep and anxiety issues. One thing I hadn’t anticipated was the irony of the weight, when trying to pull the blanket over myself every night!
4. Flotation Therapy
This works great for both physical and mental stress relief. In fact, I emerged from my first float ever feeling the most relaxed I’ve been in years! Floating induces a state of sensory deprivation, which leads you to the theta state of awareness (kind of like daydreaming on a long car ride). It’s literally meditation without even trying. It also stimulates creativity and speeds up muscle repair, on top of many other health benefits.
The only problem as always, is the hefty price tag. A 60 minute session costs $90 here, or $75 if you buy a package. As with many treatments, one attempt is usually insufficient to reap the full benefits, or to judge the effects with accuracy. So a gift card for more floats is always a good idea! 😉
5. Instant Pot
I already own one and it’s been especially useful for the achy days, so I’m adding this to the recommendation list. An instant pot is a multi-cooker which functions as a slow cooker, pressure cooker, yoghurt maker, and more! We wanted to buy the InstaPot brand, but didn’t realise how troublesome that would be in Singapore/Australia (shipping, weight, adaptor), and ended up purchasing a Philips one instead.
What we did was to prepare a month’s supply of meals and freeze them in separate bags. Write the name of the dish down with a marker, together with any extra steps needed such as garnishing. After that you can dump each meal straight from the freezer into the pot, and have a warm, nourishing meal ready for dinner!
Another thing you could do to help someone who lives with chronic pain, is to prepare frozen meals such as these. It will make a huge and positive difference in their everyday life.
My partner is against the idea of a Roomba. He doesn’t think it would do a good job cleaning, would add to the clutter in our home, and says that our hands and legs aren’t painted on. Whilst that may be true, who likes doing household chores even if they’re not in pain?! Maybe I’m just lazy, but I believe in automating anything repetitive in nature. I also have pet birds, and they’re capable of creating a mess even while inside their cages! (Empty shell husks have a way of floating everywhere, and they love to kick stuff out of their food bowls.) I suppose anyone with a kid would face the same problem, perhaps even more so. A dirty house and dusty floor is never good for mental wellbeing, I think we can all agree on that?
7. Subscription Boxes
Subscriptions are not limited to magazines these days. There are subscription boxes for coffee, tea, even flowers and self-care! Anything you can sell, you can subscribe to; the world is moving towards a recurring sales model, whether we like it or not.
Whilst I’d rather spend my money on a specific thing I want instead of random objects in a box, it doesn’t mean that surprises aren’t nice! Some existing subscription boxes for spoonies are ChronicAlly Box and Spoonie Essentials Box. These lovely ladies curate beautiful packages of self-care items, to lift your spirits on those down days. There are also subscription boxes for periods, mental health, and even fitness programmes adapted for those who live with chronic pain: “Zero to Hero” and “Autoimmune Strong”. Anticipating and receiving a pleasant surprise always produces a warm, fuzzy feeling despite the pain, doesn’t it?
8. Bullet Journal
If you haven’t watched the video on the original Bullet Journal website, the concept is quite fascinating. There are also many beautiful journal examples all over Pinterest, with all sorts of styles for inspiration! I’m on my second bujo, even though I admit that I don’t really need it 😉 I just find it fun to add some colours, stamps, and stickers to it. It is a tremendous aid for some though, especially those who have memory issues, brain fog, need to track their complex medical symptoms, or like to track habits or activities as a form of motivation.
On top of todo lists, bullet journals can also be used to track your health and wellness, and there are even a few Facebook groups dedicated to chronic illness and mental health. They’d make great presents for anyone, considering that the slate is literally blank. Use them to stimulate your creative juices, journal your days, jot down your dreams and life goals, record your favourite quotes and phrases, or do them all!
9. Heating Pad
I have a nice and big hot water bottle for days when my period strikes, or when my joints are mega achy. I must live in a cave, but I recently discovered that mysterious objects called ‘heating pads’ exist! (Or maybe I just live in a tropical climate with little need for heated products. Am I excused?) In fact, I’ve personally never seen another Asian girl use a hot water bottle for period pain, and it was my boyfriend who introduced them to me at the tender age of 30. But let me just say – they work. The added benefits to a heating pad include heat intensity controls, and I won’t burn my clumsy self with boiling water ever again! Apart from blankets, they also come in many other forms that target different body parts.
10. YuYu Hot Water Bottle
This is a product that I got to try and review this year, and it’s been a useful addition to my personal pain relief toolkit. Unlike a generic hot water bottle, this comes in a long shape with a variety of cover materials to choose from, such as fleece, cashmere and organic cotton. You can tie it around your waist and go about your chores; the length and flexibility also means that you can drape it across all sorts of body parts, and I hug it as a warm, comforting bolster to sleep. You can read my full review and buy one at a 15% discount here.
11. Blogging Tools & Packages
If you blog about chronic illness (or anything really), you probably invest a sum of money in order to maintain it. There are the basic hosting and domain costs, then other tools that help to make blogging life a little easier. Popular ones include:
I subscribe to the basic plan, which allows me to schedule posts across various social media platforms. It saves me time and effort, as I don’t have to post to every single platform manually. I can also spread my posts out over the course of a day, thus ensuring that it reaches a larger audience around the world.
Tailwind offers a few different packs within their platform: post scheduling, Tribes and SmartLoop. Tailwind Tribes are collaborative groups you can create or join, with the aim of increasing the outreach of your pins. SmartLoop enables you to automate your pins to keep them evergreen.
There are so many tools available that I’ve even written an entire post about this. You can help to support a blogger friend’s cause by purchasing a subscription or voucher for them. You might want to check with them first though, as there are many options out there, and every blogger has a different way of doing things!
12. Flowers & Nature-Related Items
As someone who loves flowers, both arranging and receiving them, they are a welcome gift any time, any day! I love how they’re such wondrous reminders of life, in all their fragility and beauty. They can help to brighten up a dull room and bring some cheer, especially if you’re in the middle of a dreary winter.
Apart from fresh flowers, you can also get nature-related gifts such as self-sustaining terrariums, dried flowers, and succulents are growing in popularity. The only exceptions are those who may be allergic to them, so it might be worth checking first.
13. Books & Magazines
Books are usually a good idea for most people. It’s easier for me to buy a paperback, but nice hardcovers with beautiful prints on good paper are such a treat! Whilst content matters, books are also a wholesome physical experience. I take pleasure in fondling the paper, taking in the musty scent, and in the high quality of photographs or illustrations. It all adds up to help you unwind on a subconscious level. In fact, studies have found that reading can reduce stress by up to 68%!
I also have a huge love for magazines, and usually have one by my bedside in addition to a book. I reach out for it whenever I feel like I need a little soothing. Magazines can be more creative with their presentation, which is refreshing. You usually need to absorb the content or storyline in a book, or risk becoming lost the further you continue. But magazines are usually split into interconnected proses which you can skip or read piecemeal. Whilst gift cards may seem a little boring, they’re pretty safe gifts if you’re unsure of what to get!
14. Amazon Kindle
So I know that I just said that the physical experience of a paperback is great, but I received a Kindle as a gift this year, and was surprised by how pleasant it is to read on it, too! The size fits perfectly into the palm of my hand, and the light weight would be a plus for those with wrist or chronic pain issues. The e-ink isn’t harsh on the eyes, and it’s great for reading in bed for days when you can’t sleep. I have the Kindle Paperwhite, and would recommend it; it comes with a backlight which is important in my opinion.
This wish list is a reflection of my current state in life. Many of these are things I’d never thought I’d want or need in another life. If not for chronic illness, I probably wouldn’t even know of their existence! To the people who invented these wonderful products – thank you.
My list also probably looks a little different compared to others, based on the varying kinds of pains we experience. Over to you – what’s on your wish list, and how does that reflect your current state of being?
*Note: This article is the author’s personal opinion, and meant for educational purposes. It is not to be substituted for medical advice. Please consult your own doctor before changing or adding new treatment protocols.
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- 18 Cooling Products That Can Help Relieve Pain (themighty.com): https://goo.gl/VVRm4W
- Best subscription boxes in Singapore (timeout.com): https://goo.gl/CvPMgF
- 23 Subscription Boxes That’ll Help Make 2017 The Best Year Ever (buzzfeed.com): https://goo.gl/57MQtD
- 2017 Chronic Illness Gift Guide (countingmyspoons.com): https://goo.gl/3C35s3
- 11 DIY Gifts That Are Perfect for People With Chronic Illnesses (themighty.com): https://goo.gl/sy4aFc
- Spoonie Essentials Box Review (theunbrokensmile.com): https://goo.gl/hWEXWo
- The Weak Science Behind the Wrongly Named Moral Molecule (theatlantic.com): https://goo.gl/8PmXDp
- Starting a Bullet Journal (article on februarystars.co.uk): https://goo.gl/ecLxt4