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December is always a crazy busy time in my family. It’s the month with the most consecutive birthdays, and also the month when we celebrate our two gift giving holidays. As the years have gone by I’ve always struggled to figure out what to get my family members. Since we’ve been old enough to shop (with our own money), my sister and I have been the ones that do the bulk of the holiday shopping – that includes getting presents for every family member, from pretty much every family member.
My parents decided a few years ago that their holiday shopping responsibilities had been fulfilled when we were young, and have now delegated their own gift shopping to us as well. Needless to say, its kind of hard to think of multiple gifts for every member of our not-so-small family – it’s a stressful time of year to say the least! We constantly find ourselves worrying and ruminating over what the best/most useful gift would be for each person (honestly, my secret weapon is just asking the picky ones outright what they want – it never fails).
My all-time favourite year was when we celebrated the holidays with all the extended family and really took the guessing game and anxiety out of the equation by using a secret gift giver app. We were all assigned one person, and each individual made a wish list on their profile – it was a wonderful year *sigh*. This year will not see the return of the secret gift giver app, unfortunately, so its back to the gift giving grind for us!
Why all this preamble? Well, because I hope to be able to help some of you out there – in my particularly giving mood, I’ve compiled a list of great gifts you can get your loved one. These gifts are great for anyone really, but are particularly useful for that one person who is stressed or suffering from Anxiety.
Aroma Therapy – Essential Oil Diffuser
I have an essential oil diffuser in my living room, and it’s really amazing. I love that I can just add a few drops of my favourite essential oils into it and the entire room will start to smell heavenly. I even read up on essential oil blends that are good for encouraging calm and sometimes create my own blends, or have even bought pre-mixed blends – all of which work wonders. It’s all about personal preference but I really enjoy Lemon, Jasmine, and Lavender scents.
Candles are another great way to add a little aroma therapy to a room. The added bonus of a candle is that you get the ambiance that comes with that beautiful flickering flame. There is nothing quite as relaxing as hanging out by candlelight, cozy on the couch with a cup of tea.
My personal favourite candles are by Charmed Aroma. The containers for the candles are always intricately designed, and I re-purpose them after I’m done using the candle itself. Another added bonus of this candle as a gift is that it comes with jewelry inside. As you burn the candle and the wax melts, it reveals a tinfoil wrapped ring inside, making this a double gift of relaxation and sparkle!
When I’m stressed out and need to unwind after a particularly anxious day, I tend to take to the water, whether that means a nice hot shower, or a slow soothing bath. This makes bath bombs and bath salts a fantastic holiday gift.
Charmed Aroma also has bath bombs as gifts – where, as the bath bomb dissolves, it reveals a necklace or a ring inside. You can also splurge and buy one of their duo packages – a candle and a bath bomb set, because honestly nothing is as awesome as a bubble bath by candle light *sigh*. I can feel my Canadian winter chilled bones just begging for a warm soak right about now.
Continuing on the trend of the gift of relaxation for your anxious family member or friend, I would recommend a nice yoga mat and/or a membership to a studio, or access to yoga videos.
Yoga is truly transformative when it comes to anxiety, I know because I’ve done it before and it has helped. I’m currently talking myself into starting up this amazing practice again, as I find myself needing some me-time more now that I’m a mom and as a result much busier on a day to day basis.
My personal favourite form for relaxation was Restorative Yoga – a form of yoga that focuses on deep breathing, low lighting, and the holding of deep stretch poses for extended periods of time. It really gave me the opportunity to unwind and stretch out the kinks in my muscles that tend to come with being an inherently anxious person. Along with the stretching, the low lighting, soft music, and slow movements really provide the opportunity for you to quiet your mind and center yourself after a long busy day.
Worry Stones and Beaded Bracelets
Worry stones are a great way to help someone with anxiety through times of stress. I have a beaded bracelet that I wear to work and take off when I’m overly stressed, so I can play with the beads. If I feel the need to let out excess tension and nervous energy this small act of ‘worrying’ the beads between my fingers is very soothing. My beaded bracelet is made of Moss Agate, and is an accessory I always have it with me, so its not something cumbersome that I have to remember to carry around.
A worry stone works much in the same way, allowing the owner to rub the groove in the stone – mine is a small Amethyst stone gifted to me by a friend, and is always in my purse within reach. If I’m overwhelmed I simply pull it out of my bag and rub the groove in the stone with my thumb. Fidgeting in this way does wonders to help me release some of that pent up anxious energy that sometimes hits me in the middle of the day.
My weighted blanket is probably one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. I sleep with it every single night and I find that my sleep has markedly improved as a result. It honestly feels like getting a comforting hug.
I don’t just sleep with this blanket, I often times wrap myself up in it when I feel like I’ve been overwhelmed by the day and just need some time to calm myself in my room. It’s a fantastic gift, and if you’ve got a bit of a larger budget, its definitely my top choice for a gift for a friend or family member with anxiety.
The premise behind the blanket is that it is a blanket, sectioned off into compartments, in order to disperse the weight evenly, filled with little weighted plastic pellets (or sometimes with fine glass sand). It should weight about 10% of your body weight – that’s the weight of mine, but I honestly almost wish it weighed slightly more, so keep that in mind when purchasing.
I find when I’m overly anxious, or even more so when I’m panicking, that my body temperature rises and I start to get hot flashes. It’s a very disconcerting feeling, and definitely does not help the person experiencing it calm down faster. With that in mind, I found this cooling towel by Upper Canada Soap, called the “Icy Cool Towel”, at my local drug store that really works wonders to help me literally cool down in times of crisis.
The great thing about this towel is that you simply wet it with cool tap water, wring it out, and it doesn’t feel wet, it just feels cool. Once you’ve wrung out most of the water, it really just retains the cooling temperature, so you don’t have freezing water dripping down your back as you place the towel around your neck.
Hobby purchases are great purchases for anyone suffering from Anxiety. The simple reason for this is because it provides a welcome distraction, keeps the person physically and mentally preoccupied, and is a thoughtful gift, all in one.
I personally like to crochet, embroider, and paint – all of these are my hobbies, and any gifts that fit that bill are fantastic purchases for me because I know that when I keep busy, I don’t have time to worry.
I hope this list helped those of you who were stumped! Happy shopping, and remember – no matter what you end up getting your friends or family, you are loved, you are appreciated. It’s the thought that counts!