A racing heart. Panting breaths. Tunnel vision.
Chances are, you’ve felt anxiety in your life, and you know how terrible it is. Many of our loved ones manage anxious thoughts and feelings every day.
But what if you could give a friend or loved one something to help soothe them? If you have someone who in your life suffers from anxiety, this gift guide is for you.
Last holiday season, I wrote a frugal gift guide for people who suffer from depression.
A lot of the gifts on this list overlap with that one, but feel free to check the depression post out for even more ideas!
I’d like to preface this gift guide by saying that whomever you’re giving gifts to, keep in mind whether the recipient will actually be able to use the gift. People who suffer from depression are easily overwhelmed. You want to offer them a present which won’t overwhelm them, and you definitely don’t want to have expectations that they will use the gift.
Presents don’t have to be expensive, but if they’re thoughtful, your loved one will appreciate them. If you can, do some research to figure out what your loved one likes and is into. Look into their social media posts and find out what he or she is posting about. That can give you a clue as to what your friend or loved one enjoys.
If you are a frugal person buying for a frugal person, the best gifts you can give are practical ones. Most frugal people are content with what they have, and don’t want to fill their houses with stuff they won’t use. So the best gifts you can give, aside from time, are consumables, like food, journals, or gift certificates to places they like.
With that in mind, here are 10 frugal gifts for people who suffer from anxiety:
1. Weighted Blanket
Imagine a situation where you’re antsy and distracted. Then imagine a full-body embrace. Imagine deep pressure enfolding your arms, your legs, your chest. Now imagine a calm passing over your frantic mind.
This is the soothing feeling of a weighted blanket.
Weighted blankets have been used by occupational therapists the world over to help calm their patients, both children and adults alike. Glass beads are partitioned out in pockets and sewn together in sections.
When picking out a weighted blanket, there are two rules of thumb to follow: the chin-to-feet rule, where you use a blanket that covers your whole body, and the 10% rule, where you use a blanket that is 10% of your body weight.
Keep these rules in mind when picking out a weighted blanket for your loved one, and you’ll be golden.
2. Essential Oil Diffuser
Aromatherapy has long been a practice to soothe people. Scents like lavender and pine have calming effects on the mind.
This is due to the fact that lavender has been linked to the same neuron receptors as powerful anti-anxiety medications. Calming scents, and lavender in particular, trigger your brain to produce more feel-good chemicals.
So why not get your loved one an essential oil diffuser? They’ll love it.
3. Worry Rings
A “worry item” is something you can hold in your hands to fidget with. Fidgeting is a natural habit that helps ground people who suffer from anxiety, so a worry item can be very useful.
A worry ring or spinner ring helps take your loved one’s mind off whatever’s distressing them. They will wear their ring and think of you every time they fidget.
4. Mini Zen Garden
Raking sand and setting up stones doesn’t sound like it will relieve anxiety.
But a miniature zen garden is perfect for creating a small environment where your loved one will have complete control over the patterns of the sand. A zen garden can be a very soothing activity for your friend or loved one.
Everyone needs someone to talk to.
Depending on how your loved one feels about therapy, signing them up with a few virtual sessions with a licensed therapist may be a wonderful gift. Your giftee may benefit immensely from only a few sessions and be encouraged to continue.
But take care when giving this gift.
You must know your recipient well and be able to preempt their reaction. And don’t let the sessions be a surprise. Talk with the person before giving them therapy as a gift, so they know what your intentions are.
If you give therapy to the right person, a few sessions could really help them!
For a post on how to start seeing a therapist, click here.
6. Adult Coloring Book
Coloring isn’t just for kids anymore.
This soothing activity is now for adults in the form of adult coloring books, which show complex patterns of animals, words, and mandalas, among other pictures.
Give your loved one a box of crayons and an adult coloring book, and watch their face light up.
Journaling has been proven to reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Give your loved one the gift of a journal this holiday season. A nice Moleskin is a bit on the pricey side, but Moleskin makes excellent notebooks with leather-bound covers.
If you want to make the journal very special to your recipient, purchase it ahead of the gifting and write a positive affirmation or quote on the bottom of each page.
8. Yoga Mat
Downward facing dog. Mountain pose. Warrior I.
These are all yoga poses, from a practice which has been proven to help with stress and anxiety.
Why not give your loved one a yoga mat, so they can enjoy a few virtual sessions of yoga? If you want to go all out, spring for a work out DVD or some sessions with a professional yogi.
Like therapy, only give yoga sessions/mats if you know your recipient well and expect that they would enjoy working out.
9. Bath Salts
One of the best birthday gifts I ever received was a gift basket from my sister containing lotions, soaps, and a set of organic, deliciously-scented bath salts.
The salts were an especially soothing gift for me, as I was able to soak my troubles away in a tub that left my skin soft and my mind calmed with the scents.
Give your loved one the gift of scented bath salts this holiday season. Everyone needs to be clean.
10. Mug of Hot Chocolate to Share
And finally, the last gift on this list but certainly not the least, is a mug of hot chocolate to share.
There are some pretty cute mugs out there, some of which are funny and others of which can be sweet. Purchase a mug and some instant, powdered hot chocolate–or DIY some of your own with a recipe you can find online.
And then offer to share some hot chocolate with your loved one. What your loved one needs most is the gift of your time.
Even during a global pandemic, you can still set aside some time to virtually share a cup of hot cocoa with your loved one, right? You may have to schedule the visit and you can’t exactly hug each other, but your loved one will appreciate seeing your smiling face and catching up with you.
Shopping for gifts for a person who suffers from anxiety isn’t difficult.
You simply have to think about what you think would soothe your friend or loved one the most. Be it a yoga or therapy session, a long soak in the tub, or time spent sharing a mug of hot chocolate, do some thinking about what gift your loved one will enjoy.
I wish you well in your journey.
What gifts are on your list this year?