28 Nov Hand pain holding you back from festive season baking?
Here are our 9 quick tips to help get you back into the festive spirit.
Do you have a love for Christmas baking and crafts, but arthritis, tendonitis, carpal tunnel, or other chronic pain conditions have taken away the enjoyment? When your hands no longer move or work the way they used to, even the simplest tasks can seem quite frustrating.
Prepare your surface – Set up your prep area before you start a project so that everything is easily on hand. To avoid having to reach for or lift large objects, keep frequently used items out of the really high or low shelves, but rather at counter height.
Take a seat – To conserve energy, have an area where you can sit down and work at a kitchen counter or table to avoid standing for long periods. You can even bring a chair into the kitchen or work bench.
Plan your time – Plan the amount of baking or crafting you’d like to do and spread it across a few days or weeks. Take plenty of regular breaks so that you don’t have a flare up. Pace yourself.
Get a grip – Use both hands when lifting to distribute the load better. Try switching to pots, containers and bowls that are lightweight. If things are slipping around, place a wet towel or rubber mat under your mixing bowl or cutting board to help it hold still.
Many hands – Even better, what can be more enjoyable than sharing your love of creating with family and friends? Make it a group activity to give your hands a rest from some of the trickier tasks.
Go mechanical – Conserve your strength for the day by using a stand mixer or food processor to assist with kneading, mixing, chopping and whisking.
Use the right tools – There is a large range of assistive equipment to help make tasks easier on your hands: ergonomic angled knives, utensils with large rubber easy grip handles, food choppers, cookie cutters with a hand grip, jar openers, whisk with a silicon handle, lightweight measuring bowls etc.
It’s OK to cheat – The joy of baking and creating is in the sharing. There’s no shame in using a box cake, store bought biscuits or any other short cut that you can then decorate with your special festive touch.
Show your hands some love – Sometimes, even with precautions, a flare up or stiff joints are unavoidable. Be kind to your hands make sure to relieve them with a light massage, warm compress or ice pack as required for your condition.
While these tips may not work for everyone, we’re hoping to have at least sparked a conversation around ways to work smarter rather than abandoning your festive creativity altogether.
If you are experiencing hand, thumb or wrist pain, don’t let it get in the way of your Xmas festivities. Get in touch – we’d love to help you.
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If you’re feeling a little bit creative, here is our guide to making your own salt dough ornaments (the perfect marriage of baking and craft)
What you’ll need:
- 1 cup of plain flour
- 1/2 cup of salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup white acrylic paint (optional)
- Rolling pin
- Mixing bowl
- Cookie cutters (baking stamps work well for additional texture)
- Something to punch a hole (eg straw or icing tool)
- If you prefer not to use acrylic paint, increase water to about 3/4 cup
- Mix together the dry ingredients (flour and salt) in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, mix the water and paint and whisk until throughly combined.
- Add about half of the water/paint mixture to the dry ingredients until combined. Keep adding the liquid a little at a time until the mixture forms a nice dough ball.
- If you add too much liquid (and your dough seems sticky) just add a little extra flour.
- Lightly flour your board/bench and roll the dough to about 5mm thick.
- Cut out ornaments with your cookie cutters and punch a hole in each one (this is for the string). Place on tray with baking paper.
- Ornaments can either be air dried (2-3 days to dry out, flip ornaments half way through drying time) or oven baked (about 3 hours at a low 90ºC temperature).
- Once completely dry, ornaments can either be left plain, painted or decorated as you like.