I’ve mentioned before that I have Raynaud’s syndrome. It’s a fairly common condition that affects the supply of blood to parts of the body, usually the hands and feet.
The temperature has recently dipped into the minus figures and managing Raynaud’s has become a significant part of my work routine. I need to be able to use my hands to type and to mark up accurately on hard copy, so keeping warm is extremely important. You might think that I could just whack the heating up and be done with it, but it doesn’t seem to work like that (and I wear contact lenses – the central heating dries them up into tiny plastic shards of agony). Also, all-day heating is really expensive.
I start each day with a brisk walk to get the blood pumping. I find it an effective way to mentally set myself up for the day and the dog is delightful company. It is, of course, important to wrap up warmly (including a hat because so much warmth escapes from the top of your head) and wear proper walking shoes – I recently changed mine because they had started to leak and that’s a sure-fire way to turn your feet into ice blocks.
I then do the following during the day:
- Wear warm and comfortable clothes. Anything that feels restrictive is a no-no. Socks and multiple layers are musts.
- Wear fingerless gloves. I have several pairs and some of them contain silver, which is supposed to minimise heat loss (and it does in my experience).
- Put a hot water bottle under my desk to rest my feet on. I find warming my feet helps to warm the rest of me quicker.
- Keep a blanket over the back of my chair so I can put it over my legs if I need to.
- Make sure I keep moving. I try to move my feet around when I’m sitting at my desk and I get up and walk around at least once every hour to stimulate my circulation.
- Have a hot drink in the morning and the afternoon between meals. I find just holding a warm mug soothes and loosens my hands.
- Have a hot meal at lunch. The body needs fuel to keep warm and the warmth of the food will also help. I like soup and pasta (I probably like pasta too much).
These are very simple things that make a big difference, and the time I lose due to an attack has drastically reduced.
Do you have Raynaud’s? Does it affect you when you’re working? Do you have any tips for keeping warm? I’d love to read your experiences.
- NHS Choices: Raynaud’s phenomenon
- Scleroderma & Raynaud’s UK: Managing Raynaud’s