What is the holiday season like for someone with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? Different. Really different. Everyone could stand to reduce the stress this time of year, but for the chronically ill, it's essential.
Do you suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? Or do you know someone who is ill? Then lend an ear to some suggestions not on the standard wish list.
1) Gifts from a distance
Travel is out for CFS shut-ins at the holidays. Many are not up to people visiting. Some can't handle phone calls.
This can be an intensely lonely time for the chronically ill. Send them cards, send emails, send them gifts. Write about special memories shared during happier, healthier days. Compile a photo album of time spent together.
Make sure to consider any chemical sensitivities when choosing gifts.
2) Be a Personal Shopper
Many with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome find shopping a huge obstacle. Some are housebound. Some can no longer drive. Some are able to go out but facing holiday crowds may do them in.
You can offer to do some of their shopping, or drive them to the stores. Help them really experience the joy of the season. And they will feel loved in the process.
3) Lower the financial bar
Many who are chronically ill have unhealthy budgets. Unable to work, or shouldering high medical expenses, they often live on a slim little shoestring.
Draw names for gift exchanges rather than buying for everyone in the family. Emphasize smaller, more personal gifts. Better yet, emphasize the importance of being together, so that gifts are incidental.
4) Gifts that keep on giving
If someone you love is chronically ill, consider giving a gift of things like monthly help around the house, or weekly visits with them.
An afghan for the lady who is bed-ridden and chills easily, snow-shovelling for the winter for the man with muscle pain or vertigo. Perhaps a present of a much-needed supplement, or chemical-free organic soap, or an offer of rides to the doctor would be most valuable.
5) Cultivate hobbies