Life with M.E. can be monotonous. One idea is to turn some days into gentle celebrations. For example, on 14th July (Bastille Day), how about wearing a Breton T-shirt and eating croissants, on 4th July (American Independence Day), maybe listen to a bit of American music and have apple pie; for Hogmanay; tartan, bagpipes and shortbread. Other possibilities include Chinese New Year, Bonfire Night, World Vegan Day (1st November), and National Poetry Day. If you would like to see in the new year, but canít stay up late without ill effects, try going to sleep at the usual time on New Yearís Eve and getting woken up just before midnight. Birthdays and Christmas can be emotionally difficult. Re-prioritise your Christmas, choosing which traditions suit you and your illness, and dumping those that donít. Try to do activities such as Shopping, Cooking, Writing and wrapping up in advance so that if you are ill you wonít be worrying that there is so much to do. If you want to put a letter in with Christmas cards, writing just one and getting it photocopied saves energy (also good for thank you letters). Keep a supply of suitable cards, small presents and wrapping paper handy and use a birthday book or list. To avoid having to find the end of the Sellotape every time, use a dispenser (which can be used one-handed).
You may find it more enjoyable to celebrate your birthday or Christmas over a two or three-week period e.g. stagger Visitors or Telephone calls and open cards and presents on different days. Use other peopleís arms to open cards and presents if itís easier for you. Presents are easier to open if they have the minimum amount of sticky tape, and tissue paper is easier to rip. Envelopes donít always need to be stuck closed. Depending on the illness, it is possible to include people with M.E. in events such as weddings and parties which they are unable to attend. For example they may be able to look at photos, watch or listen to a video or cassette of a wedding, receive a phone call from a party or enjoy a piece of cake or buffet. Even a simple message or note to show that they were remembered can mean a great deal, and if the illness is severe this may be all they are well enough for.
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