The wellness gift - the power of positivity
When one of my dearest friends messaged me to say she was having emergency surgery for a slipped disk, which involved surgery on her lower spine, I immediately started planning her get well soon gift box. Anyone who has ever had invasive surgery will know the recovery is often painful, uncomfortable and terribly frustrating. As a surgeon herself, my friend certainly knew the deal. Whilst in recovery, your mindset is imperative to putting you on the road to recovery. Studies have shown a clear connection between positive thinking and health. The rationale remains unclear but scientists suspect that "people who are more positive may be better protected against the inflammatory damage of stress...and negative emotions can weaken your immune response" (Johns Hopkins Medicine). It was due to this that I wanted my wellness gift box to focus on emotional health, positivity and optimism.
The gift of nature
Nature has a very powerful healing effect on the mind and body. As discussed in my previous blog post on "Our nature deficit," post-operative patients who had a natural view from their window had much lower pain (therefore less requirement for pain medication), faster recovery and quicker discharge periods, in comparison to their counterparts who had a dismal view of a brick wall. This is why I had to incorporate nature into my friend's wellness box. You may think that cut flowers would be a perfect gift. Whilst beautiful, they will eventually die and if gifting to someone in hospital are pretty impractical, as then you have the task of finding a vase. Therefore stick with a potted plant to avoid all the aforementioned faffing. Plants are also great at purifying the air - ideal for post-operative patients.
Last year I gave a potted plant to my friend's daughter who had been confined to a hospital bed for 3 weeks with a broken leg. She was so grateful as it bought so much life to their hospital ward. So, after perusing the aisles of my local garden centre, I settled upon a potted jasmine plant, partially in bloom. In addition to the heavenly scent, jasmine has long been used in herbal medicine so was a perfect pick.
Most post-operative patients are unsurprisingly bed-bound, especially if they have just had spinal surgery and their whole left leg was numb, like my dear friend. And with nowhere to go, comes a lot of food and a lot of Netflix. However, a post-operative tummy is not in full working order so it is no good to inundate someone with heaps of unhealthy junk food. This doesn't aid their recovery and I know in my case would leave me feeling pretty guilty post-binge. But I still wanted to treat my friend so decided to bake her some muffins. I know that most of us are super busy all the time so fortunately the considerate creators over at Creative Nature Superfoods have created a delicious "free from everything" Organic Chia and Mulberry Muffin Mix. They include both non-vegan and vegan recipes on the back, but it is as simple as adding a couple extra ingredients and baking - easy, delicious and guilt free. They also do brownies too for a slightly more indulgent treat. I also threw in one of their healthy flapjack bars as an extra snack - the cacao and orange tastes like Terry's chocolate orange - well worth a try.
Engage and entertain
Like I said earlier, it is a long and painful journey back to full health post-surgery, and boring. Gifting something that acts as a distraction is invaluable when you are struggling to find something to do and have binge-watched every single Netflix series ever released. This is where you can be much more personal with your choice of gift. Think about what they really enjoy and how you can gift something to keep them occupied. Whilst perusing the very extensive book collection at my house I came across a spy thriller in great condition that I knew would be perfect for my friend to get her teeth into.
care and consideration
I know from experience that being bed bound and post surgery can leave your skin feeling pretty awful - dry and lifeless. I whipped up a custom body oil that my friend could use as she pleased. I had infused some olive oil with calendula and rose (simply leave the oil/herb mix in a mason jar, in a water bath using a slow cooker on low for 4 hours), and then added some hemp oil, neem oil and essential oils of lavender and ylang and ylang. She had also told me that she was having trouble sleeping so I added some lavender floral water to a smaller spray bottle to use on her face and pillow at night.
Fun and frivolous
Nothing lifts a mood like a little hope and optimism. As avid gin drinkers, I picked up a couple of vintage gin glasses. Again this is where you can have a real personal touch on your gift box, but it is something that your friend can look forward to - the light at the end of the tunnel. I said that as soon as she is feeling better I would come over and make some killer G&T's. I also threw in one of the WildeNest ladies T-shirts - soft and comfortable and really great for lounging around.
I hope this has given you some wellness gift inspiration. I would love to see what get well soon gifts you come up with for your loved ones.
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