When it comes to your friends and family with autoimmune disease, its time to think past the traditional gift giving ideas. Everyone loves giving and receiving sweet thoughtful gifts, but for those of us living with autoimmune disease, sometimes gifts can be more overwhelming than you intended. For example, I once was gifted a beautiful craft book full of amazing projects that I would love to complete someday… but I was in the middle of a flare, where any amount of stress took all the energy out of me, on top of the extreme fatigue I was already feeling. The thought of finding the time and energy to enjoy this book was too much for my tired brain to handle and I ended up getting really depressed and anxious. My mind wouldn’t stop asking ‘Why can’t I have the energy that everyone around me has? I feel like I’m failing my family for not being able to do it all. Trust me, I know I shouldn’t feel like I have to do it all, no body should, but it’s hard to keep those thoughts out of your head when stuck in the trenches of motherhood while living with a chronic illness.
Last year my birthday was on Thanksgiving, so honestly I wasn’t really looking forward to it, but it ended up being one of the best birthdays I’ve had in a long time. In addition to sharing it with family on the holiday, I was spoiled throughout the weekend. My friends and family gave me what I needed more than they even realized, and it’s helped me create this list for you.
Five things to give someone with an autoimmune disease:
- Sleep –
Sleep is one of the most important things you can give your body while you are healing, but with two little boys as my alarm clock, it doesn’t always make it high on the priority list. My husband got up with the kids and kept them quiet in the morning so that I could sleep in, and I ended up sleeping for nearly 11 hours! It was amazing!!
- Self Care –
Self care means something different to everybody. It can be drinking a hot cup of coffee without having to reheat it, painting for an afternoon, reading a book by the fire, a spa day, or going for a hike. Ultimately, self care is something that relaxes you and fills you up. For my birthday, my sister in law took me to get a pedicure… one of my favorite ways to practice self care.
- Quality 1:1 time –
I think this one has always been a preference of mine; I’d much rather have time with you than a gift from you. I met up with a friend I hadn’t seen in months, and having the time to reconnect with someone that truly fills you up is one of the best things. You know what I mean, there are people in this world that will suck the energy right out of you, while there are others that are meant to fill it right back up. Keep these people close. If you have a friend with autoimmune disease, call them up and take them to lunch. Its the best time spent and gift given.
- Creative Outlets –
I never realized the importance of having some sort of creative outlet until I hit my lowest and was trying to find my path to healing. I’m naturally a creative person, but I never realized how much it was truly apart of me. Carving time out for a creative outlet was key to my success in finding health again, and is why I love when people gift me that time. Let me clarify, it’s not the gift of an art project, its the time to work on one. My husband took the boys out to run errands for a couple hours so that I could have the time. That day I chose to work on a sewing project, but creative outlets are different for everyone. It can be writing, woodworking, gardening, painting, photography, or even decorating your house. Your gift could simply be to babysit kiddos while they go enjoy free time.
- Make them a meal they can eat –
As a stay at home mom, there is nothing that speaks my love language more than cooking and cleaning for me. The hubs hit a home run making me breakfast, lunch, and dinner and all of it followed the autoimmune protocol. AND, he did the dishes. Nothing relaxes a momma more than not having to spend the day in the kitchen. And knowing he made the effort to think about my diet restrictions was over the top.
Do you see the common theme? Time for healing, self care, and quality time with friends and family speaks volumes and helps ease our anxious hearts. However, if you really want to wrap something up, here are a couple ideas that I’ve loved receiving: Fitbit Alta HR in rose gold, a cozy blanket like this one, slippers (because us Hashimoto girls always have cold feet), and a hotpot for making tea a breeze. I hope this helps give you some ideas. If you have some you’d like to add, please comment below.