Meaningful Ways to Show You Care

It’s the time of year when everyone starts thinking about giving a gift to people they care about. Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, Eid-Ul-Adha all prompt thoughts of celebration, commemoration and giving.

Of course, injuries can happen at any time of the year and it’s natural for friends and family to want to give something meaningful — whether it’s a physical thing or an act of service — to make their injured loved one feel better. This is so wonderful and thoughtful.

Sometimes friends and family can feel a bit lost for ideas…

Sharing from my experience, I remember when I was feeling so down and alone after my injury, I was so appreciative of the company, gifts and help.

I loved having people come and hang out with me. Company really is a wonderful thing, particularly when isolation can start to creep in when you’re holed up in the house, in pain and exhausted.

I had one friend bring over food, one bring me the most delicious chocolate biscuits and another give me a bunch of awesome magazines. Others offered to take me to medical appointments and to take me out for lunch. Some emptied my bins and helped me with household chores.

A rather grainy photo of a bunch of friends who dropped by (back row, me in red) and also my friend, Mell, who stayed with me for months to help me through (front).

What gifts others have appreciated

Recently I asked others who’d been recovering from injury what kinds of gifts or help they received.

  • Jodie: “I had family making dinners for us a lot which was very much appreciated. Also, just making me a cup of coffee or changing my baby’s nappy was amazing in the early days, when I could barely move.”
  • Renée: “My favourites were gift certificates for dinners/ deliveries of dinners for my children and I because I couldn’t cook or even carry plates or glasses to the table while In the early stages of recovery. And I couldn’t drive so I couldn’t bring them anywhere for food served to us.”
  • Janet: “Last year I was out of action from June until October following a horse accident resulting in a total knee replacement and Medial Cruciate Ligament (in knee) repair. The gift most appreciated from friends was how they all chipped in, worked out a rota to care for 7 horses, 3 goats, several chickens, ducks, geese and 2 dogs while continuing their own busy lives. My husband, who looked after me very well when he was feeling rough following Chemo and radiotherapy. We are both fit and well now and fortunate to have such willing helpful friends. Can’t thank them enough for all they did.”
  • Nicole: “I love food, but make sure to add a note to check for any allergies or dietary restrictions first.”
  • Corrine: “One of my favourite gifts was an adult colouring book! It kept me busy!” (If anyone’s wondering what sort of adult colouring books are out there, check them out at your favourite local or online bookstore.)
  • Karen: “Dinners and had great friends driving me places. I was non-weight-bearing for three months and could not drive for five.”

My guide for giving the perfect, meaningful gift

1. Think about the person

What gets them excited? What is guaranteed to make them smile? What hobbies do they usually enjoy? Are they a movie maven or a boardgame buff? Do they lose track of time when they’re painting or creating art? Choose to give something that reflects or enables happy moments. Just be mindful of their physical capability.

2. What is practical?

Do they have a big house that may need cleaning? Do they have pets that need to go for a fur style or to the veterinarian? Think about how you can lighten the load.

3. Food, always a winner

One-off meals can be great but often injuries or recovering from major surgery can be a longer-term game, so can you get into a routine of dropping meals over or perhaps set up a regular meal or fresh food delivery service?

4. Fun and distracting

What can you do to help your loved one take their mind off their current situation? To just laugh and play for a while? Can you go to a comedy show or take them to a sports game?

5. Sometimes simple is best

I’m sure that most people that are feeling down will feel uplifted by a caring phone call or a visit. Sometimes the frustration and stress caused by being out of action while recovering can be helped by a caring friend listening and offering information or online resources. Company is king, and feeling part of community is a massive part of happiness. (Check out the Facebook community.)

Businesses with heart

Thinking about gifts and services got me wondering: are there business owners out there that experienced injury recovery or have a soft spot in their hearts for those that are?

This is the case for Joanne from The Makers Mailer, which delivers surprise, hand-made, artisan (and beautiful) gifts. “I’ve seen it many times among my family and friends that receiving a little gift from a caring friend can really make someone happy,” she said.

A gift service that is specifically focused on making the lives of people going through a tough time a little bit easier is Feel Better Box. They specialise in ‘get well soon’ gifts for people who are ill, recovering from surgery, injured or simply feeling a bit down.

Tony Nash, CEO of Booktopia, said, “These days I actually listen to audio books most of the time unless I am on holiday then I get to read physical books. If you are recovering from an injury it is sometimes hard to sit and read but lying back and listening to an audio book feeds your mind and takes you on a journey,” said Tony.

“When I was healing from my knee reconstruction I definitely relied on one physical book and that was Heal Your Body by Louise Hay. That helped me heal faster.”

Specific ideas and links

Of course you can pretty well buy anything online these days. Here are just some of my favourites to give you some more ideas (note that these are Australian and local businesses. If you’re reading from elsewhere, comment below on your favourites):

  • Gifts, games, stationery: Typo, Kikki K, Games Paradise, The Games Capital.
  • Flowers: Daily Blooms (Sydney, Melbourne), Poco Posy (local in Brisbane). I recently had a Poco Posy sent to my mum who had eye surgery and it turned up, same-day, looking beautiful.
  • For mums and babies: Sustainababy eco-products.
  • Spa and beauty: Endota, with over 100 locations in Australia. Or ask at the local physiotherapy/remedial massage place if they do vouchers.
  • Interesting activities, gifts and educational material: National Geographic.
  • Experiences: Red Balloon is a classic. There’s also things like Adrenalin adventures but maybe this is best for after they’ve recovered… (something for them to look forward to or work towards?)

Food and meals delivered

Talking about food specifically, there are many food delivery services, including fresh produce and prepared meals.

Whether you’re in the USA with access to Blue Apron, Plated, Purple Carrot (check out this fab review of US meal services) or in Australia with access to Hello Fresh, Lite n’ Easy and others there should be something available in most cities. Marley Spoon delivers to households in the UK, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Australia and the USA.

(I relied on Lite n’ Easy for months as a way to get a variety of healthy meals without having to cook! *** Cooking on crutches is very difficult***)

Caring for pets

As Janet mentioned, knowing that you have to care for pets while you’re injured, can be stressful. Having someone offering to take the dogs for walks for a few weeks, can take a weight off an injured person’s mind.

And there are professionals out their poised to pamper pets. Like PetCloud, an Australian-based pet care service built in collaboration with RSPCA veterinarians. There are many others and your vet or pet store can no doubt recommend services and products that could help out pet owners.

Special offer for Recover from Injury readers

A few of the businesses mentioned in this post have offered discounts for Recover from Injury readers. Sign up here to get the details.

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