Living with invisible illness

Gifts for loved ones with chronic illness

It’s difficult enough buying thoughtful and original gifts for a loved one but throw in chronic illness and it becomes even more of a challenge.  Are you looking for something different from PJs, onesies and slippers? Well, here’s my short guide to gift giving with some warnings on what to consider and a few ideas.  (Please note there is no affiliation with any of these products)

Beware of the following …….

Toxins –

This is so important when you have a chronic condition and I am constantly looking for ways I can reduce the toxic load on my body so it can heal more easily.  Face and body products, perfume etc are often laden with additives such as parabens, PBAs, silicon etc that mean the liver has to work extra hard to clear them out.  It’s an additional load I try to avoid. These products sit on the skin all day slowly and effectively releasing their toxins into the blood stream. The good news is that there are hundreds of alternatives out there.  You just won’t find many of them in your local chemist or department store.   

One further warning on toxins; paraffin wax candles, made from crude oil and emitting both soot and carcinogens.  One alternative is soya wax candles.  You might have to order online rather than picking them up at the supermarket but they are a superior product over and above the toxin issue.  They burn longer, hold their fragrance and there is no soot.  

Allergies and intolerance –

This is especially relevant to ME/CFS patients as many of us can be highly reactive to all sorts of fragrance (even the organic natural ones). It’s worth knowing any allergies before you buy something that could end up being the christmas gift that keeps on giving ….a dose of itchy and sore hives. Food intolerance are a close second to allergies but many ME/CFS patients may be avoiding gluten and dairy making a selection box a bit of a no no.  But there are alternatives I’ve given you one of my favourites on my list below.

 

Some gift ideas

Now you know what to watch out for, here are a few suggestions for you:

Under £50

Toxin free ‘smellies’ 

I love Lavera and Weleda for reasonably priced face and body products; Bare Minerals, Inika, Benecos, Well People, RMS, KW and Jane Iredale are all great for make up.  If you have a mainstream product in mind then have a look at the swaps over on the @ftoxins   instagram feed or check out their Christmas Gift blog this month.  A lot of these products are cheaper than there toxic equivalents.  Win!

Fragrance free

If your intended recipient can’t tolerate fragrances then there are lots of lovely scent free products from Green People.  They have a great selection of organic and scent free products as well as a good selection of products for men.

If you want to buy more than one brand then have a look at BigGreenSmile website.  They have a selection of different brands.  If you live in Edinburgh then take a look in the new Jan De Vries shop on Queensferry Street as they have a lovely selection of products.

 

 

 Eye mask 

Most of us with chronic illness have some type of sleep issue.  Those of us with ME/CFS quite often suffer from light sensitivity as do most migraine sufferers.   Eye masks are an essential for blocking out light.  The best selection I have seen is over on Not On The High Street.  They have every type you can imagine and some suitable for the boys as well.  Make sure you choose one that is made from natural fibres such as cotton or silk.  I have one with an elastic strap (rather than a tie) and find that best for keeping it in place.  (Prices from £8 )

 BKR Water bottle 

plastic water bottles seep toxins into the water they hold.  It took me a while to find this alternative but I was so pleased when I did.  They are just the prettiest bottles I have ever seen.  They come in all sorts of lovely colours from cobalt blue to pale melon and lots of different logos.  If you see one you like then buy it quick as they sell out and the collection is regularly changed.  I have two of these a 1 l and a 500 ml.  I would recommend buying the 500 ml version as it is a bit more versatile.  The 1l is a bit hefty so I only use it in the house.  Makes drinking water so pretty.  (Prices vary from £20 – 35)

 

 

Hotel Chocolat 

Lots of ME/CFS patients and other chronic illnesses can impose dietary restrictions. This makes trying to find a treat that doesn’t break all the rules really difficult.  Hotel Chocolat make the most divine chocolates anyway and if I am going to eat chocolate then I want it to be worth my while. They have a great selection of gluten free, nut free and dairy free options. You can of course order online at HotelChocolat.com if you don’t have a shop near you (there is one on Frederick Street in Edinburgh)

 

Well over £50

Sorry, it would appear there is no in-between with me.  

Muse headband for meditation

The art of calming down the nervous system is an elusive game that almost everyone with a chronic illness (and many without) can benefit from.  Have you heard of the Muse meditation headband?  It is a slim band that fits around your head and sits behind your ears to read the electrical activity in your brain.   It is designed to give you real time bio feedback that helps you learn the art of meditation and makes a game out of learning with challenges and awards.  I have heard good things about this.  It may be a bit expensive though at a mere £260+ on Amazon.  

 

Still no idea what to buy?

Then don’t.  Take them somewhere quiet and tranquil for a coffee.  Offer to go round and make dinner, get their shopping, clean the house, feed the cat or walk the dog.  Sometimes the most thoughtful and appreciated presents are the ones that don’t cost anything but time.

 

Merry Christmas x

 

 

 



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