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9 Mental Health Inspired Holiday Gifts

Finding a gift for a friend who’s having a hard time can be stressful. If you’re anything like me, you want to give something meaningful and useful, but not something pretentious or pushy. What I love about this list of gifts is they say, “Hey, I can tell you’re stressed and I want to help.”

As an added bonus — all of the gifts on this list can be purchased on Amazon and will save you a trip to the store.

1. Semicolon Movement Bracelet

Project Semicolon was founded a few years ago as a suicide prevention movement (yeah, I dig that!) Their mission states: “Within the belief that suicide is generally preventable, the mission of Project Semicolon is to help reduce the incidents of suicide in the world through connected community and greater access to information and resources. We believe that suicide prevention is the collective responsibility of each and every person on the planet.”  You can also purchase gifts directly from their site here.

2. The book “Man’s Search for Meaning”

Viktor Frankl was a holocaust survivor, psychologist and renowned author. In the book, Frankl describes his experiences in an internment camp and discusses the patterns he noticed in those who were able to overcome the psychological, spiritual and physical challenges of the time. I think this book is a must read for anyone affected by the woes of mental health; directly or not.

3. Teapot (You can go the extra mile with this stress relieving honey lavender tea.)

Tea is a part of many cultures and often used as a stress reliever, sleep promoter and to soothe many aches and pains. There is literally a tea for everything! What I love about a teapot as a gift is it’s versatile and lets the recipient use their imagination on what to use it for. If you feel like they could use a break, you can add a little note that says, “Hey, your life seems hectic right now. When you get a chance to just relax, try some of this tea to ease your mind.”

4. Zen Garden

A desk-friendly zen garden is really fun to play with and makes de-stressing a cinch. My last job at a mental health agency was often very time-consuming and emotionally taxing. When I had a chance to sit down with my supervisor at her desk, I loved to rake designs into the sand while we chatted. It was like I was focusing on my garden making while also releasing all of the pressure of the day or week in that one conversation. Give one to a friend at work or someone who could really put it to use!

5. Aromatherapy Diffuser

(Or this travel-friendly aromatherapy bracelet!)

Aromatherapy seems like a new “fad,” but truly it’s been around for centuries. The ancient medicinal practice of Ayurveda has many uses for spices and herbs in their medical healing, but the smells were a major part of that process. Many people know lavender is calming and citrus is energizing, but there is something fun about playing with all the different smells to create an ambiance to make you feel really happy and at peace. Give the gift of a good scent to your friends and family and you’ll be surprised at how much they enjoy it.

6. Lavender Eye Pillow

There are a lot of types of hot pads on the market and many of them are also infused with calming scents. What I love about this eye pillow is how it is designed to help soothe migraines and other ailments — including depression and anxiety that occur for many people with mental health challenges. You can also pair an eye pillow with some soothing bath salts or candles to add to the relaxation!

7. Reflexology Foot Massager 

Foot massagers are designed to ease foot and leg pain. However, what many people don’t know, is the art of reflexology has also shown to help with stress reduction and nerve stimulation.

8. Coloring Book

Art therapy is a thing for a reason — it has worked well for many people. You may have seen these around, and when you give it a try I hope you see it can work a lot like a zen garden. You’re using your hands while your brain does some necessary processing and debugging. Many of us need a little bit of that in our lives, and you will also produce something pretty and enjoyable to look at in the process.

9. Autobiographical Journal

You might be thinking, “aren’t all journals autobiographical?” Well, yes and no. We often write down our stresses, hopes, dreams, etc. in a journal. But what we don’t realize is we can miss necessary details about us and our lives. Using a guided journal can work a lot like a therapist would. You are asked to explore parts of yourself. This journal is a good family or friend gift because it shows you care about their life and wellness.

Photo credit: neirfy/Getty Images

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