Post last updated: November 2022
Happy day after Thanksgiving! Happy OMG there are only a few weeks until Christmas and I haven’t started shopping yet! I blame my parents for that one. Growing up, we were never allowed to talk about Christmas until Thanksgiving was over. I’ve carried that rule with me into adulthood and because I have OCD, I’ve never allowed myself to break it. Because I also have ADHD, it’s always been a kind of convenient excuse to wait until the last minute to start shopping. I’m the type of person who needs to get the perfect gifts for the people on my list and of course, not starting to look until after Thanksgiving never helps with my anxiety.
Speaking of anxiety: Hi! I have Anxiety, and if you’re here on my blog, I suspect you or someone you love does, too. So, I’ve taken the liberty of speaking for every anxious person™ and put together a list of 11 gift ideas for the people in your life who need to calm down.*
*Please never tell an anxious person to calm down or relax. Do shower them with all of these gifts so they have the tools they need to calm down if they want to (only if they want to).
1. C&Co. Serene Shower Mist
I discovered C & Co. Serene Shower Mist five years ago and haven’t been able to take a shower without it since. Taking a long, steamy shower is one of the things that helps me most when I’m having an anxiety attack and this mist helps so much. The oils diffuse with the steam and immediately fill your whole bathroom with a super relaxing lavender and coriander seed scent. It is really concentrated so you only need to use a little bit and a bottle goes a long way. It’s my go-to gift it for many of my friends with anxiety and they all love it as much as I do.
2. Sunday Candle Co. Candle
My friend Erin introduced me to Sunday Candle Co. when she mentioned them on her IG a couple weeks ago and I am obsessed with all of the amazing sounding scents. Lately, I’m finding that taking a shower or a bath while burning a really good-smelling candle helps me relax. Using your senses to ground yourself in the present moment is a really effective way to come down from an anxiety or panic attack. One of the most useful things I’ve learned in therapy is to use my senses to stay in the present moment, which is why most of the ideas on the list have some sort of sensory component to help with grounding.
3. Nana’s Escentuals Soothing Eye Pillow
Anxiety manifests in many different ways in the body and Nana’s Escentuals Soothing Eye Pillows are perfect for people like me who tend to tense up and get headaches when anxious. They come in a variety of soothing scents, though I chose lavender peppermint for the one I ordered and the patterns are all really pretty. This eye pillow is especially helpful for migraines or sinus headaches and can be heated or chilled.
4. Calm Strips
If you follow me on social media, you might already know how much I love Calm Strips. I discovered them a few months ago when an ad for them popped up on my Instagram feed and I’ve never looked back. You can read my full Calm Strips review here but basically, they are reusable sensory adhesives that you can stick on pretty much anything. I have them on my steering wheel, laptop, phone case notebooks, everywhere.
Think about running your fingers along the sand at the beach - that grainy but smooth texture - that’s what Calm Strips feel like. Not nearly as rough as a nail file or sandpaper but just enough to notice a difference. The reusable adhesive makes it really easy to pick at the sides and corners and then just push it back down. Calm Strips are perfect for people like me who have ADHD and fidget a lot or pick their nails when they’re anxious. They also make great gifts for kids (think about how much kids love fidget spinners).
5. Jenny Lawson’s You Are Here
I’ve loved Jenny Lawson (AKA The Bloggess) ever since I read her first book “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.”* If you’ve never read her story “And That’s Why You Should Learn to Pick Your Battles,” please stop reading my blog post right now and go read hers. I’ll wait.
A few years ago for Christmas, my mother gave me Lawson’s Coloring Book “You Are Here”* and let me tell you, if you’re going to buy an adult coloring book for anxiety, definitely get this one. Coloring is another grounding technique I rely on heavily when I’m anxious and this book is so much more than that.
From the description on the website:
A combination of inspiration, therapy, coloring, humor, and advice, this book is filled with Jenny's amazingly intricate illustrations, all on perforated pages that can be easily torn out, hung up, and shared. Drawing on the tenets of art therapy--which you can do while hiding in the pillow fort under your bed--You Are Here is ready to be made entirely your own. Some of the material is dark, some is light; some is silly and profane and irreverent. Gathered together, this is life, happening right now, all around, in its messy glory, as only Jenny Lawson could show us.
While you’re at it, also buy her book Furiously Happy.* If you couldn’t tell, Jenny Lawson is one of my very favorite authors and mental health advocates and this is basically the start of a Bloggess fan club. Let me know if you want to join.
6. Saje Stress Release Soothing Oil Blend Roll-On
I’ve used essential oil roll-ons for years now and not only do they help me calm down, they also double as a great smelling perfume! I carry one with me at all times and use it on my neck and wrists whenever I need to ground myself in a soothing scent. I also have one on my bedside table to help me sleep at night as I listen to this Spotify Rain Sound playlist- works every time.
As simple and cliche as it sounds, concentrating on deep breathing while inhaling an essential oil blend really helps calm you down. I’ve never tried Saje’s Stress Release Soothing Oil Blend Roll-On but I’d LOVE to receive it as a gift. It’s a blend of lavender, roman chamomile and orange and comes in limited-edition holiday packaging, making it the perfect stocking stuffer.
7. Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones
A little on the pricier side than most ideas on my list, Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones would make an excellent group gift. Jeff has a pair and I steal them whenever I need to focus on writing or just to block out outside noise when I’m anxious.
They’re Bluetooth compatible so on a flight in January, I put them on to drown out the plane noise while taking off and landing — one of my biggest anxiety triggers — and listen to the Spotify Rain Sound Playlist I mentioned above (while also inhaling my essential oil roll-on). More recently, I used them to help focus my ADHD brain on writing a tough blog post about grief while listening to an ADHD Focus and Calming Playlist. Noise-cancelling headphones really help me avoid sensory overload in loud settings like grocery stores and restaurants.
Alternatively, here is CNET’s list of the Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones for every need and budget.
8. Asheville Tea Company Chamomile Lavender Tea
I’ve found that drinking a warm beverage always, always helps with my anxiety. I love herbal tea for this purpose because nobody needs caffeine when dealing with an anxiety attack. Asheville Tea Company is one of my favorite local businesses and their Chamomile Lavender tea is absolutely amazing. Here's the description from the website:
Ingredients: Organic chamomile and lavender, locally grown tulsi and anise hyssop
Tasting Notes: floral, sweet clove, licorice
Recommended Pairings: Cozy socks, warm fireplaces, yoga practice
Asheville Tea Company also has a Monthly Tea Box subscription for all of the tea lovers out there!
9. Dr. Teal’s Sleep Bath with Melatonin & Essential Oils
For the person in your life who loves taking bubble baths, Dr. Teal’s Sleep Bath With Melatonin & Essential Oils is an easy and affordable gift that I know your loved one will adore. I know because it’s my favorite.
From the website description:
Dr. Teal's Foaming Bath combines Pure Epsom Salt and beneficial essential oils to soothe the senses, relax tense muscles and provide relief from stress. Melatonin promotes a better nights sleep while lavender and chamomile essential oils help relieve stress.
I cannot recommend this bubble bath enough. The bubbles are glorious. The smell is intoxicating. The epsom salt releases tension in your muscles and my skin is always so soft when I get out of the tub. Plus the melatonin helps you fall asleep (although it doesn’t really make you sleepy - I regularly take baths in the middle of the day). I recommend lighting a candle, grabbing your favorite book, and soaking in the tub for at least an hour. At least that’s what I like to do.
Maybe the best part about Dr. Teal’s foaming bath is that it’s only $4.89 on Target’s website. Go get you some.
10. Bearaby Knitted Weighted Blanket
Another item on the pricer side that would make a perfect group gift is Bearaby’s Knitted Weighted Blanket. Great for curling up on the couch after a hot bubble bath or shower with a cup of tea, this blanket is soft, stylish, and comes in the most beautiful colors. From Bearaby’s Weighted Blanket Guide:
A weighted blanket is a therapeutic blanket that’s, quite literally, heavy. A weighted blanket for adults usually weighs 15/20 lbs, and helps improve sleep, ease anxiety, and relieve stress.
Weighted blankets use the principles of deep touch pressure (DTP) to regulate our mood and improve sleep. When pressure points on our bodies are activated (think of a snug hug or a deep tissue massage), DTP rebalances hormone levels leaving us calmer, sleepier, and less stressed.
In the same way a baby responds to being swaddled, there's a sense of calm that comes from evenly distributed weight cocooned around your body. For adults, sleeping under a 15/20 lb weighted blanket brings about this snug sensation, and cues the calming effects of DTP.
Using a weighted blanket increases good hormones like serotonin and melatonin, but can also reduce others. Cortisol, our main stress hormone, is a tricky one. Most of us either have too much or too little of it.
For even more info, you can check out their blog post Top 20 Weighted Blanket Benefits: For Better Sleep & Beyond.
11. Simply Extract CBD Lotion
Admittedly, I have never tried CBD anything BUT I’ve heard so many good things from friends that I knew I needed to include it on my list. My wonderful friend Taylon Breeden is founder of Simply Extract, a LGBQT & woman-owned hemp extraction company in Western North Carolina. Check out her shop to find something for every anxious loved one on your list!
Note: if you take antidepressants or any other prescription medication for mental illness, it is always best to check with your doctor before taking any other therapeutic substance. Since I have never used CBD before, I cannot say whether there is any associated drug interactions and everyone is different.
And there you have it, the ultimate gift guide for the people in your life with anxiety. Please let me know if you purchase any of these products and if they are helpful to you and/or your loved ones!
As always, thank you for reading!