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Remind your loved ones that they’re never alone.

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Juan Moyano/Stocksy United

There are no two ways about it: The COVID-19 pandemic has been a lonely experience for people around the globe.

This seems especially true for the many people who are immunocompromised due to an illness, who have found themselves unable to leave their homes, even for the necessities.

You may know someone close to you who is self-isolating due to chronic illness. Maybe you’re wondering how you could possibly make their days a little bit better.

Aside from Zoom hangouts, phone calls, and Instagram photos to stay connected with your isolating loved one, why not send them something to make them feel less alone?

Here are seven products that are perfect for — and will be appreciated by — people living with chronic illness who have had to remain isolated.

Want to help brighten your loved one’s home during the darker winter months? Photo string lights come with pegs so that photos can be clipped to them easily.

You could make their day by printing off some of your favorite photographs that bring back the best memories.

If you’re not one for light-up photos, you could buy a personalized photo frame instead.

Have a sweet message (or a crude one) engraved on the front, slot in your best (or funniest) photo together, and it’ll be a fun way to remind your loved one that they’re never alone.

A little box of self-care can go a long way.

Maybe the perfect self-care kit is a candle, a face mask, and some chocolate. Maybe it’s a good book, some herbal tea, and a new pen.

Or, maybe it’s the ultimate box for someone with a chronic illness: a hot water bottle, a bath bomb, and a gift certificate for delivery from their favorite restaurant.

(Just remember when giving scented products or food-based gifts to consider any allergies or restrictions your loved one may have.)

You know your loved one best — and they’ll love you best — for giving them an opportunity to remember that they deserve self-care at this lonely time.

This is a lovely gift that allows you to write different things about your person on each page.

There are a variety of books out there — some funny, some romantic, some sweet, and some a little snarky (we all have those kinds of friendships).

It’s something super personal to the two of you that will put a smile on their face (and yours, for knowing that you put it there).

Let’s face it: When you’re stuck in your home alone for longer than usual, you’re going to be using your devices more often, too.

Help your loved one keep things clean with one of those UV phone sanitizers that are all the rage right now.

Remind your loved ones how much you love and miss them every morning with a personalized mug for their coffee or tea.

You can buy mugs with hidden messages in the bottom for your loved one to see when they’ve finally finished their favorite hot beverage.

Write a nice personal message or write a funny inside joke to make them giggle (after they’re done being disappointed that they no longer have any coffee left).

We all need a hug right now, even though physical distancing can make that impossible. So instead, why not buy your isolating friend a big, comfy body pillow?

Not only will it keep them warm at night, but if they’re feeling unwell or are in pain, something to snuggle into can make everything a tiny bit better.

Sure, feathers and fabric don’t quite meet the mark of human touch, but everyone could use something to cuddle at night at a time like this.

There are so many gifts out there right now that could easily make the day of someone you’re missing who’s living with a chronic illness.

Whether they’re subtle or soppy messages, or inside jokes, let the loved one in your life who’s isolating know that you’re thinking of them.

I’m sure it would mean everything.


Hattie Gladwell is a mental health journalist, author, and advocate. She writes about mental illness in hopes of diminishing the stigma and to encourage others to speak out.