Okay, I know this looks like a REALLY unsubtle wish list for Christmas presents but I promise you it’s not. I’m really lucky that I have a lot of generous, thoughtful friends and family who have given really lovely gifts which work for me while my ME is bad. Thinking about these I realised that if you know someone with ME or a similar chronic illness where the person you're shopping for may struggle with fatigue, mobility or pain or where they may not cope with leaving the house much (or at all) you may be at a loss of what to get them as a gift.
I recognise that everyone’s health situation will vary and of course their personal likes and dislikes may also differ from mine (it's shocking I know but apparently not everyone is in to crochet!!) but I hope these ideas will at least give you a little inspiration when it comes to picking out the perfect present.
At home treatments
Treatments are meant to be relaxing but if getting about, walking or being in busy places is a challenge then a trip to a local spa may be anything but relaxing!
Have a look and see if there are mobile providers who can give a treatment at home, something like a massage or manicure could really brighten up their day without adding any unintended stress.
Brighten up their rest space
If, like me, you spend a lot of time in the same space or even the same chair or bed then it’s important that that space is a positive and comfortable one.
Suggestions here include: blankets, cushions, positive prints/artwork/photos, candles or LED lights, plants (low maintenance may be best!)
Help them rest
Getting to sleep and having a restful sleep can be challenging for various reasons such as anxiety or pain. Even with my ME I often struggle to get to sleep or feel properly rested once I do.
A neighbour made a beautiful gift basket for me with lots of wonderful things including pillow spray, lavender bath salts and sleep balm.
I also find a nice cup of Pukka night time tea helps me. Perhaps a box with a with a nice tea cup would be a welcome treat.
Think about comfort
Keeping comfortable whether you are still active or if you may have to sit or lie down a lot, can be a challenge for many. Did you know there are actually preferred ranges of clothing for those with pain conditions? Here’s just one of many blogs with a list of clothing brands recommended by those with pain.
For me, things I’d recommend are comfy bed socks, soft and comfortable nightwear as well as clothes that can be equally comfortable when you are resting but don’t want to be in sleepwear. Hot water bottles, weighted blankets, sleep mask, body pillows, cardigans or dressing gowns and heated blankets too.
Oh and did you know about the benefits of silk pillowcases? Well click here and you’ll learn all about it. For those spending a lot of time in bed this could be a lovely little treat.
Gift vouchers that work online
Gift vouchers are great but it’s always worth checking they can be used online. I’ve had a couple that were only for in-store and whilst I like the shops, unfortunately I can find it really difficult to go shopping these days.
Also think carefully about vouchers for experiences you have to go to. An afternoon is a lovely treat but if the person you’ve bought it for wouldn’t be able to manage along or find busy environments too much to cope with it could be a wasted gift.
Oh and one other point, try and make sure the gift vouchers, especially those where you have to go somewhere have a long expiry date. That takes the pressure off feeling you HAVE to be well enough before it runs out.
Pay attention to what they can manage
Following on from my point about experience vouchers, it’s important to think about what they can and can’t manage as everyone will be different. For example have they said they can’t manage baths, and can only cope with showers? If so, don’t get bubble bath.
Help them adapt
I’ve had to find different ways to enjoy the things I can’t manage in the same way since my ME flared up. I love crafting and received a lap tray with a light on it which has allowed me to work on projects from my armchair or even bed!
Other ideas could be audible vouchers for bookworms who perhaps struggle to read as much, spotify for those who like music but can’t manage to go to gigs or a tablet holder to watch movies in bed (did you know Netflix does vouchers too!)
I hope this gives you a few ideas but of course, whatever you give as a gift just remember, it’s the thought that counts. So as long as you think about what will work for them and you won’t go far wrong.