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8 Gifts to Give Yourself for the Holidays

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It’s the holidays, a season of giving, and there’s one person on your shopping list you forgot to get something for: yourself.

Your mental health matters, and just like giving gifts is a great way to remind others you’re thankful for them, you deserve to give yourself that reminder, too.

Here are some gift ideas to show yourself how much you care:

1. Scheduled self-care

Even when it feels like you’re too busy for self-care, make time. Ten minutes to meditate. One show on Netflix. One walk around the neighborhood. Do yourself a favor this holiday and put it in your calendar like it’s an important appointment between you and your mind. Take advantage of those in-between moments in your day, and before you start checking emails, see if there’s anything you can do for yourself.

2. Stress-relieving coloring books

Coloring for adults is a thing — and it’s a thing you should definitely get behind.

Coloring is ‘mindfulness’ made manifest,” Sarah Rayner, author of “Making Friends With Anxiety,” wrote in Psychology Today. “When we are coloring, the mind is filled with an activity. This means we stop focusing on the past (which is often associated with depression) and future (a common tendency of the over-anxious) and become present to the here and now.”

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 2.51.14 PM
left: The Mandala Coloring Book $9.40 right: Colour Therapy $13.50

Even if you don’t want to purchase an actual coloring book, finding a repetitive relaxing activity like knitting can give your brain a much needed break.

3. One hour of moping.

If you’ve been chugging along all year with your strong face on, give yourself the gift of moping — temporarily. This could mean venting to a friend, a more classic approach like crying into a carton of ice cream, or (my 16-year-old self’s preference) laying in a dark room listening to John Mayer. Sometimes it’s OK to let yourself feel mad or upset about the cards life’s dealt you. The only catch is afterward, you get yourself up and move forward like the champion you are.

3. One (or two, or three…) bad days.

When you have a bad day — whether this means retreating to old habits, letting anxiety get the best of you or taking a step “backward” on your road to recovery — give yourself the gift of forgiveness. Be gentle with yourself on days like this. They do not define who you are.

4. BuddyBox care packages. 


If you’d rather have some self-care goodies delivered to your door, BuddyBox is just that. Created by Blurt, a foundation dedicated to helping those affected by depression, BuddyBoxes are little care packages that come to your door by subscription. You can order them monthly, quarterly, twice a year or annually, and each box is filled with little comfort items that could help in your self-care.

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source: Wear Your Label

5. “Self-care isn’t selfish” gear. 

If you want a visual reminder to practice self-care — or want to make a killer fashion statement — “Self-Care Isn’t Selfish” products from Wear Your Label are great “I love you” presents to yourself.

You can get a “Self-Care Isn’t Selfish” mug for $14.57, and sweatshirt for $48.07. Or, if you get a “U R OK” tank, 10 percent of the profits go to Project UROK.

6. Someone you’re allowed to suck around.

If you don’t have this person in your life yet, we highly recommend it. Basically, it’s just someone you don’t have to put on a fake smile for. Someone who’s on speed dial for when you really need to talk. Someone who gets to see you at your “worst.” A friend, a relative, a therapist, whoever this person is, they’re someone you’re allowed to suck around, guilt-free. Allow yourself that. You don’t have to be perfect around everyone.

7. This interactive flow chart.

If something isn’t feeling right, instead of pretending it doesn’t exist or pushing it away, take some time to figure out what it is with this self-care flowchart, created by Jace Harr, according to “The Atlantic.”

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 11.33.45 AM

First it makes sure all your basic needs are met — Did you eat? Have you showered? Have you taken all your medication? Seemingly simple things easy to forget if you’re feeling anxious or down. Then it gets more specific — Has anything in your environment triggered you? Do you feel like you’re in a fog? A little activity like this might not be enough, but it’s a great way to start paying attention to yourself and how you feel, what triggers you and then what calms you down.

8. A community.

If you find yourself without a community this holidays season, find your tribe. Here are some options that might help:

-Connect with your local National Alliance on Mental Illness chapter.

-Here’s a list of online support groups recommended by the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.

-Here’s Mental Health America’s guide to finding support groups, both online and in person.

Whatever you’re dealing with, you are not alone. Give yourself a group of people who can support you going into the new year and for years to come.

Originally published: December 16, 2015
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