And if you’re suffering from chronic illness, receiving gifts you’re unable to use can be just as daunting. You’re left feeling terrible. Too terrible to admit to the buyer that you can’t make use of the gift due to allergies or over-stimulation. I can’t count how many skincare products I’ve received over the years that haven’t been utilised due to skin allergies.
When preparing for an anniversary/birthday/holiday season, my husband tries to ensure his gifts don’t trigger any autoimmune responses. I have to admit, some of his ideas have been very creative and are often centered around helping me deal with my chronic pain or managing my overall health.
Items I would encourage buyers to avoid include heavily scented perfumes, candles or body scrubs that can leave a person with chronic illness experiencing skin reactions or headaches. Any gifts with loud sounds can result in disorientation. Most chronic illness sufferers have special dietary requirements and as a result, purchasing food gifts can be extremely tricky.
Here are a few gift suggestions when purchasing for someone dealing with chronic illness.
Gifts for the Bedroom
Bedtime can cause a range of problems for those with chronic illness. We deal with painsomnia, restlessness, difficulty breathing and issues with circulation.
A new pajama set and some comfy slippers are my staple gifts for everyone in my family. When purchasing pajama sets, I make sure the pants do not have an elastic waist (sufferers often experience bloating when eating something wrong or they’re stressed). Instead, I opt for pajama pants with a drawstring, that way they can be adjusted. Cold feet due to poor circulation can be incredibly painful and occurs even in Summer months, so a pair of soft slippers or comfy bed socks is useful all year round.
Body pillows, microwaveable wheat packs, electric blankets, knit throws and loose fitting lounge wear can alleviate muscle aches and make the sleeping process a bit easier.
Gifts for Travelling
Travelling with chronic illness can be both physically and emotionally stressful. Gifts aimed at helping reduce the stress of daily travel may include noise-canceling earphones, lightweight water bottles, gloves, scarves, ergonomic bags (offering back support), and for those that suffer sensitivity to bright sunlight, sunglasses.
Organisation & Stationery Gifts
We tend to over-organise everything in our lives. Medications, medical appointments, dietary decisions, how we feel each day. Keeping track of these in an organised manner is essential to monitoring the highs and lows of chronic illness. Gift ideas to help manage symptoms/appointments include journals, an annual diary/planner, and wall calendars. Grip pens that help with arthritic symptoms, hand pain, or restricted mobility, are also good at reducing writing stress and fatigue.
Gratitude journals, crossword puzzles and adult colouring books can help reduce anxiety and distract from the chronic pain.
Alternatively, you can download and print out the following 2020 Chronic Illness Planner. It’s a great way for your friend or loved one to manage their chronic illness, track their daily symptoms and organise their appointments.
Great stocking stuffer ideas include self-care products such as non-toxic nail polishes, fragrance-free body lotions, lip balms, sensitive skin/hypoallergenic/fragrance-free moisturisers, eco-friendly makeup brushes and charcoal teeth whitening alternatives.
Kester Black offers a “10-Free” nail polish option. They do not contain formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, camphor, formaldehyde resin, xylene, parabens, fragrances, phthalates, and animal derived or tested ingredients. Nail polish can be easily removed with their acetone and acetate-free removers. With such a wide variety of colours, it can be difficult to choose just one! All of these options are a positive start for someone trying to remove toxic products from their daily routine.
Gift cards to local restaurants are fantastic when those with chronic pain/adrenal fatigue do not have enough physical energy to cook. Gift cards to online bookstores/Amazon are perfect options for those unable to leave their homes due to anxiety, pain or a flare-up of symptoms.
Supplements are expensive. One jar of probiotic tablets can cost over $100. For most of us, there are several supplements and medications needing to be purchased on a monthly basis. Gift cards to the local health store help ease any monthly, financial strain.
Of course, for inexpensive alternatives, you could go with a box of teas (containing soothing ingredients like chamomile or lavender) to aid with sleep and a brand new mug.
9. Kester Black Quartz Nail Polish – $20
10. Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion 500mL – $17.29
11. Natures Care Paw Paw Balm – $3.29
12. Gift card to local health stores
13. Gift card to Amazon/local restaurants
14. Kmart Loose Mug Woke Up – $1.50
15. T2 Sleep Tight Teabag Gift Cube (25pk) – $17.00
If they’re a keen reader and do not yet own a Kindle, I would highly recommend it. It’s lighter than carrying a physical book (often sufferers deal with wrist pain when holding objects for too long), and text size and background lights are adjustable — handy on the days they may be experiencing hypersensitivity.
My husband recently gifted me with a Fitbit and it has helped me track my symptoms over an extended period of time. I don’t use this to track my steps, it’s very rare I have the cardiac ability to achieve 10,000 steps/day. Instead, they’re great for tracking heart rate (especially if your friend/loved one deals with tachycardia), sleep patterns and food/water intake. I’ve attended specialist appointments and pulled out my Fitbit app to show the doctor these stats. If you’re looking at tracking heart rate, just be sure to check the model has this feature before purchasing.
Chronic illness can affect us even in the kitchen. Simple tasks like chopping vegetables can cause arthritic pain and lifting trays out of the oven can result in dizziness and breathlessness. If the person you are buying for enjoys cooking, electric can openers, vegetable dicers and spiralizers — anything that will make the cooking process easier, make for excellent options.
I hope this gift guide helps you decide on a gift for your loved one/friend that suffers from chronic illness.
For those with chronic illness, have I missed any great gift ideas? I’d love to hear from you below!