Mental Health Gift Guide: 2022

A couple years ago it was a lot of fun for me to put together a guide of meaningful gifts during the height of Covid, when so much felt strange and dystopian in our world. Covid forced the world to take a beat, think, and slow down just a bit. Families were spending more time together (for better or worse), incomes were devastated, and mental health took a beating. It felt like the right time to start reconsidering how to love and support each other and the holidays can provide a beautiful way to do that through thoughtful gift-giving. This year, I wanted to add 10 more items to that list of even more ways we can give the gift of mental health support…

(Yes, some of these are affiliate links)

  1. Loop Earplugs. These are a godsend for people with noise sensitivities, or concertgoers, or just people who want to focus! The don’t try to eliminate noise like noise cancelling headphones, but they are engineered to either reduce the background noise or simply lower the volume of everyday life. The website has a helpful tool that can help you figure out which ones are right for you.
  2. Anxiety Breathing Necklace. One of the things I regularly teach my clients are breath regulation techniques. This necklace makes it super easy and present in the front of the mind to slow down the breathing when a person starts to feel overwhelmed or activated. Different brands offer different colors and price points.
  3. Buddha Board. I’m in love with this idea because I’m the mom who cringes whenever people in my home say they want to paint. “Ah, the mess!” This is the eternal, reusable easel and canvas… (temporary) painting with water that naturally resets itself in time. No inks, no paint, no mess. Can be used to create calm in car rides or at home, or serve as a great mindfulness tool for solo or group work, just such a cool little gift for all ages. Comes in different sizes.
  4. Accupresssure Mat & Pillow Set. It’s not exactly acupuncture, but it’s an effective at-home way to “get in touch with your body” like we therapists always like to tell our people. Super helpful for many people with chronic pain or those needing a dedicated tool to help them relax.
  5. Speaking of relax, consider a Gua Sha set like this. There is something really soothing and lovely about a couple minutes of zen right before bedtime; I was skeptical about “rubbing a rock on my face” at first, but now it’s become a staple part of my nighttime routine.
  6. Family Conversation Cards. There’s many different versions of this same idea on the market. (Love this bundle pack that has specifiers for Teens and Couples as well!) Finding new avenues to keep communication meaningful and regular with our children is always a good idea.
  7. Sensory items.  Who doesn’t love Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty? It’s the best. And the item that antsy people reach for the most in my office is the Shashibo Shape Shifting Box… which is unusually satisfying.
  8. Feelings Flashcards. Get kids learnings early about identifying their emotions and de-escalate situations by having ideas on what to do with big feelings. These are open-ended and can be used in multiple ways. This is a similar item that is another good, tangible way for children to learn emotional regulation.
  9. 988 Gear. If you know someone passionate about suicide prevention, consider gifting a shirt or sticker that markets the suicide hotline.
  10. Urban Float gift card. Have you ever been in a float tank? Me neither, but doesn’t this sound amazing: “Decrease stress. Reduce pain. Improve creativity. Floating is a meditation activity where you rest in a private, sensory-managed float pod away from all stresses and distractions. Weightlessly relax in purified water & 1,200 lbs of epsom salt for 60 minutes to enjoy proven physical, mental and emotional benefits.”  If you are fortunate enough to live in an area where there are float-tanks, a gift card would be a neat little nudge to offer someone towards self-care.

Mental health matters and our gift-giving can definitely support that message. I hope your holiday season is filled with elements of peace and lots of meaning-making. Be well.