Thursday, December 21, 2023

Holiday Tips, Support, and Fun for the Chronically Ill

During this busy season, I am sharing here a wide range of holiday tips, support, and ideas for fun from past posts and past years, to help you through this coming week of Christmas and New Year's celebrations.

[I haven't been posting much here recently because I am still stuck in this awful relapse that began in mid-October. I've spent months with constant flu-like aches, lying on the couch, so my life has been very limited. I've realized that yeast overgrowth/candida is still at the root of this latest relapse, so I am on an extremely strict diet now: pretty much just meat, fish, and seafood, plus some cruciferous vegetables. I'm feeling better, my energy is better (thanks to working all year on normalizing thyroid function), but I still have thrush on my tongue and flu-like aches. Fingers crossed this clears up by Sunday so I can enjoy Christmas with my family!]

First up, the part of the holidays I struggle with the most (and many of you, too, from your posts and comments) is family relationships, which can be challenging when you're chronically ill. Those challenges multiply with the stresses and expectations of the holiday season. That's why I wrote Managing Family Relationships - Holidays and Beyond, which is excerpted from my book. This article/chapter provides practical tips to help you not only manage relationships but even enjoy the holiday season, in your own way and within your own limits.

Two years ago, I collected Chronic Illness Tips and Support (and Fun!) from other chronic illness bloggers and writers. Check out that round-up of support, practical advice, and some time-out fun, too. There is a lot of collective wisdom in the large chronic illness community!

And here is another round-up from other chronic illness bloggers: Chronically Ill Holiday Gifts and Tips, with some great posts from other bloggers about coping, planning and preparation, gift ideas, and support.

 I posted two Gift Guides here on my own blog this month: Chronic Illness Holiday Gift Guide ( I got some of these for my step-mom who's dealing with chronic pain) and Gifts Created by and for Spoonies. It might be too late to buy gifts for others, but you can put your new gift cards to good use! 

Finally, when you just need to take a break from all the activity and people and noise, check out Movies and TV for the Holidays (or Not!), my own collection for the season. I included some of my favorite holiday movies, old and new, and some outstanding, uplifting non-holiday movies and TV shows, if you just need to escape for a bit. And I will add one more holiday movie to that list - I just started watching Last Christmas, and it is just what I needed: a fun, uplifting seasonal romcom. Re-reading this list reminds me of how great these films and shows were!

OK, that's it for me until after Christmas. I still have a few more decorations to put up, cooking to do (just a little this year), and a few more gifts to wrap. I'm trying to pace myself!

How are you doing this holiday season?

Do you have any tips or favorite holiday movies and TV shows?

Please share in the comments.

Enjoy the holiday season, in whatever way you can!

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Chronic Illness Vlog: Still Relapsed, Still Flat, Trying Treatments

I recorded a vlog last week, showing an honest view of my life with chronic illness, which is currently quite restricted. My months-long relapse defined by immune activation (especially almost-constant, flu-like aches) continues. I had some really bad days and some not-too-horrible days, though I spent most of my time horizontal on the couch. I did manage a few brief outings last week, plus some online shopping and other holiday to-do's from the couch. Most importantly, I was trying two new supplements that I think are helping, plus a prescription from my ME/CFS specialist to try to break this immune activation cycle I am stuck in.

You can watch the video on YouTube or here below:

You'll see this vlog is a bit longer than my usual ones because I tried to explain as much as I could about the treatments I am trying. As always, the notes below the video on YouTube include lots of links to more information and anything I mentioned in the video. I will reprint those here:

Article on treating severe ME from Norway, plus a look into the future 

Diagnosing and Treating Thyroid Dysfunction in ME/CFS and Long-COVID 

Iodoral (iodine) for thyroid

Treating Immune Dysfunction: This blog post includes information both on improving immune function and on treating underlying infections

Effective Treatments for Yeast Overgrowth/Candida  

Diagnosing & Treating Orthostatic Intolerance (OI) blog post 

Chronic Illness Tracking: How I Feel, Symptoms, and Treatments 

My post from last year on Relapses and Recoveries 

My local bookstore interviews me about life with chronic illness and my book

I'm still achy today, still on the couch. I did sit up to record a couple of short book videos but am back to flat now (and more achy). 


How was YOUR week?
How are you doing?

Please leave a comment below.

You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.


Monday, December 11, 2023

Movie Monday: Leave the World Behind

Saturday night, my husband and I watched the new Netflix movie Leave the World Behind, an adaptation of the novel by the same name, which was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award (my review of the book--no spoilers--here). Like the book, this 2 1/2-hour thriller was full of tension, though the movie built on the foundation provided by the novel.

Amanda Sanford, played by Julia Roberts, surprises her husband Clay, played by Ethan Hawke, with a weekend getaway when she rents a luxurious house on Long Island for them and their two teen kids. As they leave the city behind, each family member is engrossed in their own digital world in the car. They arrive to find the house is even more beautiful than it appeared in the listing, complete with a pool and enormous TV. It's relaxing at first, as the kids play in the pool, and Amanda and Clay begin to unwind, but strange, frightening things begin to happen when the family goes to the local beach the next day. Back at the house, they find the WiFi, cell service, and TV are all out. After the kids go to bed, Amanda and Clay are relaxing with a game and copious amounts of wine when the doorbell rings late at night, startling them. It's a a Black man, who introduces himself as G.H. Scott (played by Mahershala Ali), and his daughter, Ruth (played by Myha'la). Amanda is clearly suspicious that this expensive home is owned by a Black family and shook up to have them show up at the door unannounced. They explain that the power is out across the city, so they returned to their home on Long Island, where it would be safer. Since they did rent the house to the Sanfords, G.H. offers to stay in the basement apartment and refund some of their money, and the Amanda reluctantly agrees. The next day, more strange things happen, and the group of six realize that something very frightening is happening in the larger world, though they don't know exactly what. Forced together by circumstances, they begin to get to know each other and work together to protect their families from this unknown danger.

All of this adds up to a lot of suspense and edgy tension that keeps ratcheting up, as stranger things begin to happen, and it's clear this is not just a simple power outage. In fact, I had very bizarre dreams that night after watching it! It's a long movie, and the underlying feeling of dread just keeps building. It's not just a suspense movie, though. It's also a character study, of what happens when people are randomly stuck together during a crisis, delving into latent racism, class issues, compassion versus self-protection, and more. The novel was very vague about what was causing the problems, and there wasn't a whole lot of action; it was mostly about the characters and the ambiguous tension. Here, we get a lot more action, and while the disaster is never completely defined, there are a lot more hints and information provided as to what is or might be happening in the wider world. In fact, the novel just sort of ended, with no answers, so the movie is a bit more satisfying in providing some hints of what is happening and how things might go in the near future. I enjoyed the novel (on audio) and my husband hadn't read it, and we were riveted by this gripping movie with its all-star cast that is both suspenseful and thought-provoking.

Leave the World Behind was released in limited theaters and is now showing on Netflix.

Saturday, December 09, 2023

Gifts Created by and for Spoonies (Newly Updated!)

(Note: spoonie refers to anyone living with chronic illness and disability.) 

This holiday season, why not help to support your fellow chronic illness peeps by purchasing cool, unique gifts created by those with chronic illness and disabilities? Or maybe you deserve the gift of self-care for the new year!

When I put out a call for gifts created and sold by those with chronic illness, I was inundated with all sorts of wonderfully creative items! Some are made specifically with spoonies in mind and others would make great gifts for anyone on your list. And you'll be helping to support fellow spoonies! Check out these awesome items:


Suzan L. Jackson (I had to include my own book, too!)

Finding a New Normal: Living Your Best Life with Chronic Illness – guidance on emotional coping, daily living, relationships, and more.

Available anywhere books are sold, in paperback and all e-book formats.

Available here

Melissa Gijsbers

Melissa's son has ME/CFS, and she wrote a children's book about his experience, 3, 2, 1 ... Done, plus lots of other children's books and books for writers.

Kristin Houlihan

Kristin has written Lift the Mask: a short collection of poetry and lyrical prose which is very brain fog friendly! "Poetic and heartfelt musings on life, parenting, and faith, told through the lens of a chronically ill and disabled mom."


Lene Anderson

Lene is an award-winning writer with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), She has several books, including Your Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis: Tips for Managing Treatment, Side Effects, and Pain and Chronic Christmas: Surviving the Holidays with Chronic Illness, which sounds very helpful right about now!

Amy Arthur

Amy has a brand-new book coming out December 28 (available for pre-order now), Pace Yourself: How to have energy in an exhausting world. The link goes to the UK Amazon website, but they do also deliver to the U.S. (and probably other countries as well).


Anna Wood

25 Birds, a beautiful book of photographs taken by Anna, who is housebound with ME/CFS, of birds in her garden over the course of a year. Available in the UK. Also available in the U.S. (and possibly other countries).


K.T. King

Fiction (including Little Eden series) and nonfiction (including 21st Century Prayers series), available in paperback and e-book. Author has ME/CFS.

Available here.

JK Morgan

This chronically ill writer has published novels, short stories, poetry, and more. You can read all about her and her work on her website. Many of her varied books are available on Amazon.


Kathleen O’Shea

So Much More Than a Headache: Understanding Migraine Through Literature

Available in paperback and e-book.

Victoria Mack

5-Minute Gratitude Journal for People with Chronic Illness - A beautiful journal, with inspiring and supportive prompts to help with mindfulness, gratitude, and self-care.

Available here.


Infinitely Chelle – Chelle del Rosario

Beautiful notebooks and reading journals (wide variety with fun prompts).

Available here.

Jen Hardy’s Planners

3 planners: Path to Happiness 5-year Journal, Chronic Illness Journal for Moms, and a Business Planner.

Available here.



Words as Medicine Shop – Etsy – Christina B.

Wide variety of earrings – all different kinds of themes, shapes, colors, including holiday themes. I love earrings and want all of these! I ordered the gingerbread men/peppermints last year.

Available here

(Also see under Other Gifts - several sellers with multiple items include jewelry)

Other Gifts

Crafty Miss B – Etsy - Beth

Wide variety of hand-crafted items, made with embroidery, wood, metal, and fabric. Gifts include bookmarks, jewelry, decorations and ornaments. Creator has ME/CFS. She is on a break but will return in the new year.

Only ships in UK.

Available here.

FUMS – Kathy Reagan Young (has MS)

Wide variety of gifts with the FUMS logo, including hats, tote bags & fanny packs, clothing, masks, and more.

Available here


Her RedBubble shop features beautiful watercolors on clothing, cards, stickers, and other products, and her Etsy shop includes watercolor prints and cards. Her work is beautiful!

BibiPins - 

Black, queer, disabled creator offers a wide range of gift items, including stickers, pins, stationery, compression garments, and much more! Full shop here.


InPhusions - 

Botanical body butters aimed at others with skin conditions and pain, from a Black, queer, trans, disabled creator. See and order products here.

Grace and Magic – Etsy – Katherine Grace

Beautifully designed planners, journals, notebooks, and trackers, available in print, digital, and printable pages to help with all kinds of planning, organizing, tracking, and self-care.

Available here.

Siren Blossoms – Heather Wright

A wide variety of printables, jewelry, and books, available through Etsy, Amazon, and other platforms. All links here:

Available here

Achy Smile Shop – Erica Nicole Carrasco (chronic migraine)

Beautifully-designed migraine-themed shirts, stickers, hats, bracelets, and phone cases.

Available here.



The creator has ME/CFS and offers a wide variety of artwork, jewelry, clothing, skin serums, and more. Visit her Etsy shop.


Chronic Illness Shop Directory:


Ability Shop: Chronic Illness and Disability-Owned Small Business Directory

A directory of businesses of gifts, businesses, books, art, and services from those with chronic illness and disabilities.

Available here.

WOW! So many unique gifts from so many creative folks with chronic illness and disabilities! I love the idea of getting cool gifts (for others and for myself) while also helping to support fellow spoonies. 

Happy Shopping!

And if YOU create gifts or other items that are available for sale and not on this list, please include your link in the comments below (if you have trouble leaving a comment on a mobile device, try using a computer).


Thursday, November 30, 2023

Chronic Illness Vlog: Highs and Lows

I posted a chronic illness vlog from last week, showing an honest view of my life with chronic illness. And, wow, last week was one of extremes! I went from crying on the couch, wracked with flu-like aches, to the euphoric victory of attending my 40th (!) high school reunion and the challenges of traveling to spend time with family on a long holiday weekend.

You can watch the video on Youtube or watch here:

Yes, it was one of those weeks that felt like a rollercoaster, one that jerked me from very high highs to extremely low lows, often with no transition in between. As you can see, I was feeling optimistic when I recorded the last segment on Monday this week, but--alas--that was short-lived. By Wednesday, I was back to crying on the couch, with horrible aches, hitting bottom once again. After my husband left to go to the store, I opened the refrigerator to get some water, and the bottom rack in the door pulled apart, spilling all the contents onto the floor. That did me in. I collapsed in a heap in front of the open fridge and sobbed my eyes out. It was just one of those "last straws," know what I mean? I eventually pulled myself together, put everything back in the fridge, and huddled down under the blankets on the couch to watch two old episodes of Grey's Anatomy (my happy place). My wonderful husband said, "you're not even attempting dinner tonight," and took care of it entirely. 

Today, I am feeling better emotionally, though still achy. I scheduled a phone appointment with my ME/CFS specialist for next week, so I'm hoping she has some ideas to calm down my activated immune system. In the meantime, I am resigned to staying horizontal as much as possible and listening to my body.

How was YOUR week?
How are you doing?

Please leave a comment below.

You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Giving Tuesday 2023: Help ME/CFS and Long-COVID Patients

Today is Giving Tuesday, a day devoted to giving back, after the commercial excesses of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Every little bit counts, even if it's only $2 or $5. If you, like me, spent way too much shopping online for the holidays yesterday or you just want to give year-round, you can even set up a recurring donation. That's what I did years ago with OMF (see below) so that $5 was automatically donated from me each month, and last year, I increased it to $10 a month. I don't have to think about it or do anything else, and my donation now adds up to $120 a year! It only takes a few minutes to either donate or set up recurring donations. And every little bit counts.

And there are some amazing deals in place right now that will double or even triple your donation, turning $10 into $20 or $30! All of the groups listed below that do ME/CFS research and/or support ME/CFS patients are now also helping those with long-COVID.

Where to Donate:

Here are some wonderful places to donate to support ME/CFS research and patient support & advocacy--all are doing wonderful work and the first three are the top ME/CFS research organizations in the world, funding or conducting the bulk of the scientific research today:

Host Your Own Fundraiser:

To have an even bigger impact on these organizations, you can host a Fundraiser on Facebook. I have hosted fundraisers on Facebook for my birthday every year, and it's very simple to set up. Just go to the Facebook Fundraisers page and click on "Select Nonprofit" (all of the ones listed above are available), then follow the steps. You set your own fundraising goals, and share your fundraiser with Facebook friends.

Donate While Shopping:
And remember - especially this time of year - to make your shopping work for you with automatic donations to your favorite ME/CFS charity every time you shop! 

Goodshop or iGive have almost every online store covered between them - I always stop at iGive first before doing any online shopping. You can also earn by using the site to search. And use that iGive link I posted in the previous line, and we'll earn an extra $5 for Solve ME!

To show you how well this works, my iGive page currently shows that I have selected Solve ME as my cause, that I have personally earned and donated $305.15 to them, and that they have earned a total of $6602.45 from all supporters! Isn't that amazing? Over $6500 just from clicking a button before we shop online. Amazon is not a part of either program and got rid of its own charitable donation program this year, but you can find most other online stores on at least one of these.

With so many painless ways to give, we can all help to move ME/CFS research forward and support patients! 
Let me know if you know of other organizations or other ways to give that I missed here.

You can leave a comment below.

You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Book on Sale for Black Friday!

I just wanted to let you know that my book is on sale, now through Cyber Monday, November 27. All e-book formats are on sale, and the paperback when bought through Amazon (sorry but I don't have control over pricing of the paperback through other online and in-store retailers but it is available everywhere).

About the book:

"Whether you are in the early days of living with chronic illness or have been at it for years (or decades), there are always challenges in living a life framed by limitations and restrictions, where isolation is a common issue. This guide provides inspiration, advice on emotional coping, and guidance on living your best life with chronic illness from someone who’s been there. Though it seems impossible at first, your life will eventually settle into a new normal, and while that life may be different than the one you had planned, it can still be a vibrant, fulfilling life based on strong relationships, a healthy emotional state, and finding joy in every day. The emphasis in this book is on LIVING your life, not just enduring it.


From Sue Jackson, the author of the popular and award-winning blog Live with ME/CFS, comes a book to help you live your best life with chronic illness. Based on Sue’s over 20 years living with chronic illnesses in her own family, writing her blog, writing articles on chronic illness, and leading multiple support groups, she provides support and practical advice you can use."


A few of the many 5-star reviews:

Loved ItThis book was eye opening and helpful. I am recently diagnosed with Lupus and struggling to understand it all. This book helped me to understand my life isn't over and I don't need to feel guilty when I can't do all the things. Instead I just need to change how we do things such as have movie nights etc.”


A Must Read for Those Struggling with Chronic Illness and Their Families - There is nothing more desperate than trying to find someone who “gets” it! Chronic Illness is real and the emotional toll it takes on the patient and family is tremendous. Looking for someone to help or at least understand is almost impossible. This book gives hope to those suffering from chronic illness by letting them know they are not alone, that there is help out there, and there are things to do to get you through those dark and scary times. There were very limited and often outdated books available to help my family during our initial struggle dealing with a child with a chronic illness. In the beginning life was a lonely and living hell. I was blessed to find Sue and a wonderful group of people online, who shared similar experiences and showed us how to survive in our new “normal”!” 

Encouraging - Chronic illness is difficult to say the least. The daily challenges you face are often so debilitating. Suzan does a wonderful job sharing her and her family's challenges and triumphs living with chronic illness.  What a comfort to know there are people who understand and really "get" what you’re going through. Having support makes a world of difference when you are battling an illness and is essential in moving forward and living your best life.  I recommend this book if you have a chronic illness or if you know someone that does.” 


"Must Read

I am only half way through and it has saved my life. Seriously.”


You can read more about the book and see more reviews, plus a list of links for finding the book (e-book and paperback) through all the major outlets and formats here.


If you're in the US, I hope you're enjoying the holiday weekend!


Monday, November 20, 2023

Chronic Illness Holiday Gift Guide

Whether you are looking for gifts for someone else in your life who lives with chronic illness or other health problems or you could use a little self-care yourself, there is something here for everyone on your list! Choosing a gift for someone who's chronically ill and who is limited or even housebound can be tricky, but here I've collected a bunch of great ideas, many of them tested in our own home, sure to please the Spoonies in your life but also healthy friends & family. Shop for someone else, gift yourself, or add these to your own wish list for your family! And if you have other ideas, please let me know in the comments below.

Comfort and Care

Super Comfy Soft Blanket:

When I am crashed, all I want is to be surrounded with super-soft comfort, even when it's warm out! Just feeling that soft, smooth texture is very comforting. Here are several different blankets, all very soft and cozy, in varying weights.

Lightweight Blanket - This lightweight plush blanket is super soft. We have a bunch of these in our family room, and we use them around a campfire, too.

Heavier/Warmer Blanket  - Super soft outer layer, plus a sherpa lining, for extra warmth and two different textures.

Fuzzy Faux-Fur Blanket - This one is for people who appreciate ultra plush, fuzzy comfort (like my son!)

Weighted Blanket - For those who get comfort from a weighted blanket, this one also features a super-soft feel, with plush on one side and sherpa on the other.

Fuzzy Faux-Fur Blanket

Back Cushion for Support:

Lumbar Support Back Cushion - Life-changing for me! I got this gel-filled lumbar cushion for the car when I was having low-back pain but discovered it works just as well in my recliner to support my back and prevent pain. Also works for couch, bed, chair, or wheelchair.

Prop-Up Pillows

When you spend a lot of time in bed or on the couch, you need to prop yourself up sometimes (like to eat!). Here are some great options to support your back and keep you comfortable.

Adjustable Bed Wedge Pillow - This simple wedge pillow adjusts to multiple positions to support you while sitting or lying down

4-Piece Orthopedic Pillow Set - This 4-piece ergonomically-designed set can be used in many different ways to provide just the right support for your position (and there's currently a $10 off coupon available).

4-Piece Pillow Set

Comfy Slippers

I don't know about you, but with all the time I spend at home, the "shoes" I wear most are slippers, and they wear out. Because I wear them so much, I prefer the kind with good arch support or memory foam and durable soles that can go outside (I'm wearing them now as I type on my deck!).

Cotton Memory Foam Slipper - These inexpensive, lightweight but well-made slippers feature breathable cotton uppers, memory foam insoles, and nonslip rubber soles, in a variety of colors.

Orthotic Slippers with Arch Support - For those with plantar fasciitis or other foot pain, these slippers come with orthotic insoles for arch support and comfort (and still not very expensive and they look nice!).

Deluxe Orthopedic Slippers - A bit more expensive, these slippers (and other styles) from Orthofeet provide orthotic insoles, cushiony insides, and warm faux fur.

Convertible Indoor/Outdoor Slippers - These convertible slippers can be worn as clogs or with a back and come in unisex sizes, with a nonslip sole that can go outdoors.

Orthotic Slippers with Arch Support


If you spend a lot of time in pajamas or loungewear, they might as well be super comfortable.

Cozy Long-Sleeve Shirt and Joggers - These warm, ultrasoft pajamas from Eddie Bauer are comfy all over and look nice enough to be seen in! (a similar set for men)

Breathable Bamboo Pajamas (long) - I don't know about you, but I'm always overheated (my son is, too). This summer, I finally tried bamboo pajamas and love them! Super soft and lightweight but breathable, they are perfect for those who suffer night sweats or get overheated easily (similar pajamas/loungewear for men).

Breathable Bamboo Pajamas (short) - If you're looking for something even cooler, these are made of the same lightweight, breathable bamboo fabric, but in a shorts style (here are similar ones for Men).

Bamboo Pajamas

Ease the Pain and Fatigue

Ice Packs

Ice packs come in all shapes and sizes and have many uses for those with chronic medical conditions.

Large Flexible Ice Pack - I bought these because they were recommended when I went to physical therapy (the same kind they use professionally), and I can see why! They come in various sizes (I like the large one for back, shoulders, neck), are flexible, and comfortable. I just keep mine laid flat in the freezer, ready when I need it (note these can also be used as heating pads - keep one in the freezer and one out, ready to microwave).

Migraine Head Ice Hat - When you get a migraine or other severe headache, sometimes nothing seems to help, but ice/cold can do wonders to reduce swelling and inflammation, constrict blood vessels, and provide relief. I used to have to awkwardly wrap ice packs around my head and neck, but now you cam get one like this, made specifically for your head to wrap all the way around. Ahhh!

Migraine Ice Hat


Heating Pads

I used to use old-school electric heating pads, until my dermatologist said I had sun damage on my lower back. When I said that part of my body hadn't seen the sun in many decades, he explained that electric heating pads could damage the skin just like the sun. Since I lost my dad to melanoma, I was motivated to find an alternative! Again, I took the recommendations of professional physical therapists, who use gel-filled heating packs. They're not only safer and won't damage skin, but this kind of moist heat better penetrates deep into the tissue where it can do the most good.

Rectangular Two-Sided Hot/Cold Pack - While there are lots of gel heating pad options, this one is my favorite. It's inexpensive, well-made with sealed outer edges (I had a few that leaked after multiple microwaving before this one), and has two different surfaces. When it's very hot, just out of the microwave, I use the cloth-covered side and switch to the smooth side as it cools down a bit. It can also be used as a cold pack, but I reserve this one just for heat. I bought one for my step-mom for her birthday last year (she has chronic pain), and she said it was the best gift she'd ever gotten!

Aromatherapy Neck and Shoulders Hot/Cold Pack - This one is specially designed to wrap around neck and shoulders, which can be hard to get to with a rectangular pad. It's infused with herbs for aromatherapy, too.

Hot/Cold Pack


Migraine Glasses

With Lyme disease, my son often gets crippling migraines with severe light sensitivity that causes him to don sunglasses and hide in his room.

Anti-Migraine, Light Sensitivity Glasses - These can help when migraines hit but they can also help to prevent migranes and help with general light sensitivity. Bonus: they also block blue light from screens that can disrupt your sleep (see below). 

Migraine Glasses


Compression Garments

Anyone with any kind of Orthostatic Intolerance (OI, including POTS), which is everyone with ME/CFS and many with long-COVID, Lyme, EDS, and fibro, will benefit from compression socks and other garments that gently help to improve blood flow and prevent blood pooling in the lower extremities. And they now come in lots of stylish options--these are not your Grandpa's compression socks!

Knee-High Light Compression Socks (Women) - Made for nurses (who spend a lot of time on their feet), these light compression socks come in lots of fun styles.

Unisex Light Compression Knee-High Socks - Rated light compression (15-20 mmHg), these fit men and women and come in a variety of styles.

Inisex Moderate Compression Knee-High Socks - These provide more compression, rated moderate (20-30 mmHg) and come in packs with lots of wild designs--you might as well enjoy them!

Women's High-Waisted Compression Shorts -  Studies show that compression shorts that cover the waist and pelvic area can help OI by prevent blood pooling while sitting or standing. Most compression shorts sold as shapewear or athletic wear (like these) will do the trick. Bonus: These have high waists and pockets and could be worn under clothes or on their own. Similar style for men.

Women's Light Compression Tights - Provides compression from the waist down to ankles. And a similar style for men.

Moderate Compression Tights for Women - These provide moderate compression (20-30 mmHg). Similar style in unisex sizing.

Moderate Compression Socks

Stay Hydrated! 

Hydration is so important, for treating Orthostatic Introlerance (OI), which is partly due to an inability to hold onto fluids, and for general health and well-being. There are all kinds of great water bottles and other designs available now to keep your drinks cold (or hot in winter). I carry my water bottle everywhere with me, and my son fills his with electrolyte solution (made with GU Brew tablets).

Plastic Water Bottle with Chug Lid and Carry Handle - I prefer bottles without straws because I find them difficult to clean. This BPA-free bottle comes in three different sizes (go for the 32 or 40 oz!) with an easy-drink lid, and it's dishwasher safe.

Leak-Proof Bottle with Spout Lid- This one comes in 22 and 32 oz sizes, is dishwasher safe, and has a spout lid. Comes in lots of colors.

Insulated Stay-Cool (or Hot) Bottle - With double-walled insulation, this bottle keeps your drink cold (or hot) for hours and comes in larger sizes, plus three different lid styles.

Neoprene Insulated Carry Holder for Water Bottle - I want this! Comes with a carry strap so it's easy to bring your water bottle wherever you go, and the Neoprene holder keeps it cold (and stops it from sweating).

Insulated Bottle


Work or Play

Whether you're trying to work from home or just enjoy some fun, these items can help to support you and make it easier to both work and play.

Lap Desk 

I'm always looking for a good lapdesk that allows me to use my laptop and/or write while in my recliner, on the couch, or in bed.

Lightweight Cushioned Lap Desk - this simple, inexpensive lap desk has a cushioned bottom for comfort, with space for air flow to keep your laptop from overheating, and a ridge to keep it from sliding. I added this to my wish list!

Lap Desk with Mouse Pad - This slightly larger lap desk has those same features, plus a mousepad and a holder for your phone.

Lap Desk with Adjustable Legs - I don't usually like lap desks with legs because they're usually too high for me, but this one has adjustable legs and a bunch of other useful features.

Lightweight Cushioned Lap Desk


Holder/Stand for Tablet or Book

Whether you're trying to expend as little energy as possible or have pain issues in neck, arms, or shoulders, some sort of holder or stand can help to support a tablet or book.

Flippy Soft Multi-Angle Pillow Stand  - Ok, sure I love the name, but this one also seems to be very practical for anyone bedridden or couchbound, with different viewing angles on each side and a soft surface. When my mom said a large hardcover book she was reading was too heavy for her injured shoulder, I got her something similar to this.  

Standing Tablet/Book Stand - This stand allows you to read or use a tablet hands-free and without anything on top of you. It stands on the ground but is very adjustable, whether you're in bed, on the couch, or in a recliner. I gave this to my step-mom for Christmas last year when she said she couldn't read anymore because of her chronic neck pain. This allows her to put the book or tablet right at eye level, no matter where she's sitting. She was thrilled! 



Blue Light Blockers

As I explain in my post on Correcting Sleep Dysfunction, sleep experts all advise avoiding screens in the two hours before you go to sleep at night. Blue light suppresses melatonin, telling your body it's wake-up time! But what if you enjoy watching a show or movie before bed? If you're using a laptop, tablet, or phone, you can turn the blue light off at night (look for Night Shift on Apple devices in the Display and Brightness option under Settings). My iPad is set to turn off blue light at 9 pm every night, for times when I'm using it as an e-reader. There are also several gadgets that can block blue light. 

Blue Light Blocking Glasses - These have clear-looking lenses and come in sets of two to four pairs, in a wide variety of sizes, for both men and women. Perfect for watching TV.

Blue Light Blocking Reading Glasses - If you are of a certain age and looking for blue-light blockers for when you're using your phone, tablet, or other device up close, these combine blue light blocking with reading glasses, available in different strengths. They come in packs of five, so you can leave them in different rooms of the house, and several different styles.

Blue Light Blocking Screen Protector for MacBook laptops - If you'd prefer not to wear glasses, you can get a blue light blocker that covers your whole screen. This one has various sizes for different MacBooks. This one fits certain iPhones. If you scroll down a bit on either page, you'll find other options for different types, brands, and sizes of devices.

Audio Book Membership

Many people with chronic illness struggle to read books in print but can still enjoy audiobooks. I'm a huge fan of audiobooks and listen to all kinds! If you also struggle with longer or more complex audiobooks, try middle-grade or teen/YA books on audio. This blog post, The Joy of Reading, is excerpted from a chapter in my book and includes some great tips for enjoying reading, with lots of recommendations! An audiobook membership makes a great gift for people who love books, whether they can manage reading in print or not. 

Audible - The biggest and most well-known source for audiobooks recently is this subset of Amazon, with two different membership options. - With this source for audiobooks, every purchase helps to support independent bookstores (one you select or all of them).


Sweet Dreams

Since we spend so much time in bed but are still always exhausted, we can use all the help we can get! Check out my tips in How to Nap, and also improve your sleep quality with the treatments in Correcting Sleep Dysfunction. These all make great gifts for your favorite spoonie (or yourself).

Eye Mask and Ear Plugs

As I explain in those blog posts linked above on napping and sleeping, keeping the sleep environment--whether at home or away--cool, dark, and quiet is essential. An eye mask and ear plugs can help.

3D Light-Blocking Eye Mask - This soft, spongy eye mask reduces pressure around the eyes and block all light.

Silk Eye Mask - Silk is gentler on the skin than other materials, and as a natural fiber, it is also breathable so should help to prevent overheating.

Weighted Lavender Aromatherapy Sleep Mask - Personally, I hate scented stuff, but my mom loves her weighted lavender sleep mask, and I know many people swear by aromatherapy (and lavender is a sleep aid). With this one, you can remove the inner bag filled with lavender to use it alone and/or heat it in the microwave.

Silicone Ear Plugs - Forget the old foam-style ear plugs; silicone ones work so much better! To block out street noise, household noise, a partner's snoring, or so you can nap in public (like on an airplane), these are a game-changer! Great stocking stuffer or Hanukkah gift.

3D Eye Mask


Soft, Warm Socks

As I explain in my How to Nap post and video, studies show that warm socks help you fall asleep more quickly--it's science! I wear these to bed at night and pull them over my regular socks at naptime. They are lightweight but warm and super-soft:

Women's Fuzzy Socks - These come in sets of 5-6 pairs, in a wide variety of colors. Scroll down for similar socks in different designs.

Men's Fuzzy Socks - Different designs are available, and these come with non-slip grips on the bottoms for wearing outside of bed.

Women's Fuzzy Socks


Room-Darkening Curtains

While an eye mask can help, nothing beats a really dark room when you need good quality sleep. Light tells your body to stop making melatonin, so block out as much light as possible with room-darkening curtains. My son and I both have these in our bedrooms, and my husband calls our bedroom "the cave." I love it.

Light-Blocking, Energy Smart Curtain Panels - These will not only darken your room effectively but also help to block noise and lower energy bills! We have them in our bedrooms but also in the family room, where the afternoon sun heats things up in the warmer months. They come in 15 different colors and 34 different width and length options and are easy to install on any curtain rod. And there's currently a 10% off coupon, too!

Light-Blocking Curtains


Lots of great gift ideas here for friends, family, or yourself!

What are YOUR favorite gifts to give/receive?

Let me know in the comments below.

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