The holiday season is upon us! Along with a constant stream of parties, the holiday season is synonymous for many with the stress of navigating busy shopping malls while trying to find the perfect gift for their nearest and dearest. If you have someone in your life who has a mental health condition like anxiety and you’re not sure what to get them, this gift guide might help.
Here are several gift suggestions your anxious loved one will appreciate:
The adult colouring trend has been around for a few years now, which to me seems like proof that there is truth to the research behind the concept. Like any mindfulness technique, the act of colouring helps you to switch off from other thoughts through the act of focusing on the shapes, colours and lines on the page in front of you. For anyone who has anxiety, colouring can present a welcome break from the constant worrying and analysing that can be difficult to separate from. Plus, it’s fun!
Some of my favourite adult colouring books are the Anti-stress colouring book series by neuroscientist Dr Stan Rodski and anything by Johanna Basford.
Paint by numbers
One of my most recent obsessions is an adult version of paint by numbers. These paintings on canvas are intricate and therefore require an intense amount of concentration. I also find them less stressful than colouring books, because you don’t have to make decisions about what colour to use.
As far as I’m aware, there hasn’t been any research published into whether working on jigsaw puzzles can help reduce anxiety, but personally, I find this activity has the same therapeutic effect as colouring. Pick a 1000+ piece jigsaw puzzle that is aesthetically pleasing to allow your anxious friend to enjoy a much-needed break from their thoughts.
There are so many beautiful journals out there! I’ve always found writing my thoughts down has helped me deal with my anxiety and what better way to do so than in a beautiful journal or notebook. While blank notebooks can be best for pouring out your heart and soul, your loved one might prefer to be guided by writing prompts. If that’s the case, there are a number of journals that can help guide them along this journey. One of my favourites is Write it down, let it go: a worry relief journal by Lindsay Kramer.
Massage voucher or massage oils
One of the greatest gifts you can give someone who has chronic anxiety is something that is guaranteed to ease the physical symptoms they experience. For the past four years now my best friend and I have treated each other to a massage on our birthdays, and I can honestly say I look forward to this more than a physical gift, not only because it’s relaxing, but because we get to spend quality time together!
If you’re one of those people who don’t like to give vouchers as gifts, you can always give your friend or family member the supplies they’ll need to do a home massage themselves. For example, massage oil is a great option for those who have a partner, who can massage hard-to-reach places, which tends to be where anxious tension settles, like the shoulders and back.
From bath salts and magnesium crystals to candles, if you’re buying a gift for someone who has anxiety (and who has a bath!), I can guarantee they will love nice-smelling things that will help them relax and feel pampered.
Does your loved one have a cause or charity they’re passionate about? Use this opportunity to help them help others, and you’ll both reap the benefits of those feel-good endorphins.
While anyone with anxiety is sure to appreciate these gift ideas, remember that your loved one is more than their mental health condition, and may not necessarily want a gift that reminds them of it. Getting your anxious friend or family member one of these gifts will hopefully be seen as the kind and thoughtful gesture you intend it to be, but the best advice I can give you is to talk to the person to find out what type of gifts they’d really like.
It’s always nice to know that those around you understand and appreciate your struggles, but if you’re not sure whether your friend or family member would appreciate such a gift, you can’t go wrong if you go straight to the source. Alternatively, stick to the gift ideas above that anyone would like, regardless of their mental health condition, like a donation to a charity or cause the receiver is passionate about, a massage or bath accessories!
Want to understand your anxious loved one better? Here are 14 random things that are probably a big deal to them.