Holiday Gift Guide for the Stressed Out Person in your life

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Once upon a time I was a child of the 80s and I had no idea what stress was. I went to school, came home, played with Barbies in my room or GI Joe figures outside with the boy up the street, and spent my weekend and summers out on my bike. There was no stress. Perhaps you grew up like this too.

Then we grew up and found jobs, got our own apartments or houses, and became bill-paying adults trying to figure out how you live your life while simultaneously saving up for the elusive three months’ worth of savings you’re somehow supposed to have.

On top of that Al Gore or someone invented the damn Internet and Mark Zuckerberg and others like him created a bunch of social media sites and apps so we could all see how allegedly easy and perfect life is for everyone else, leaving us wondering why we can’t make piles of cash while also baking Pinterest-worthy cheesecakes and taking smokin’ hot selfies on the beach in the Dominican with our perfect families.


So yeah, we’re all stressed and now there’s very little time left until Christmas. Maybe this is a good time to figure out what to buy that family member or close friend you love the kind of gift that will give them just a little bit of relaxation and zen to get them through life. And if the most stressed-out person you know is, well, you, then copy and paste the link to this post in an email or text and send it to someone with the caption, “hint hint!”


Holiday Gift Guide for Stressed Out People

(Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. None of the brands mentioned below are paying me to write this, though they are welcome to contact me if they’d like to. Links may be affiliate links though; this doesn’t mean you pay any more than you would but it does mean I may get a buck or two from the affiliate company if you purchase it. This reduces my stress too.)

10% Happier by Dan Harris
The book “10% Happier” by Dan Harris is possibly the best book you can buy for someone who is constantly stressed out and dealing with anxiety but who doesn’t buy into the spiritual aspect of meditation. Dan Harris had his first panic attack on live air during a news broadcast. After exploring meditation in a direct and non-woo-woo manner, he came to find an ability to tame anxiety without feeling like he had to change his whole life. He goes into great detail. I had the ebook version and loved it so much I actually went and bought a hard copy just so I could use a highlighter and scribble notes in the margins. Even though I DO enjoy the more spiritual side of meditation, this book is incredibly useful. Get it here.


Buckwheat meditation pillow

I do not own a proper meditation pillow. I do however use a throw pillow that is supposed to go on my bed. I’m not really a throw pillow kind of person, all I need on my bed is whatever pillows I actually need for sleep. Technically you don’t really need a pillow of any sort to meditate. Go find a Buddhist monk up in the mountains and you won’t see them sitting on anything special. You can absolutely sit on the floor or your bed, or whatever. On the other hand, sitting on a pillow can help you raise up your hips slightly which makes it more comfortable to sit for extended periods. This one is definitely on my own wishlist. Get it here.


Malas are a fun combination gift for the meditation junkie in your life. They’re super pretty (these ones are made from Rudraksha seeds but you can get them made from all kinds of different stones; I have three different kinds and they’re all so beautiful!) and can be worn just about everywhere. At the same time they’re also highly useful for focusing on a mantra while meditating. A standard mala contains 108 seeds or stones; you can place your fingers on the first one, say your mantra, move to the next stone, and then repeat until you’ve completed all 108 repetitions. If you’ve ever seen someone use a set of rosary beads, it’s quite similar in concept. (Personally I just love to wear them and use them like a worry stone, rubbing them when I feel anxious. Your mileage may vary.) Get it here.


Here’s the saddest confession I’ve made in a long time: we moved from Montreal to Halifax back in June of 2011. Despite that, there are still boxes packed away in the cupboard under the stairs that I’ve never taken the time to open yet. Sad but true. I need to though, because somewhere back there is a box of items from the living room and in it is my beautiful pink Himalayan salt lamp and I want it back! Salt lamps are fascinating and are lovely to look at it even if you don’t know the benefits. There ARE benefits though. They release negative ions into the air of the room they’re in. Negative ions have been linked to better blood flow, better sleep (including helping with insomnia), increased serotonin, and easier breathing. Even if you don’t believe in those benefits, they’ll work anyway and meanwhile you get a nice soft glow in your living room or bedroom while it’s on. Win-win! Get it here.


You’ll hear a lot about essential oils and their many uses. Depending on what you’re using, oils can promote energy or relaxation, joy or sleep. Some oils can even help make you feel better if you’re stuffed up with an icky bout of congestion (hello cold and flu season!) What are you supposed to DO with those oils though? A diffuser is one of the easiest ways to get the oils into the air for you to breathe in and reap the benefits. Diffusers will release the scent of the oil around you so that you don’t even have to think about it, you just have to inhale and enjoy.

I don’t have a diffuser yet but I really want one like this one. Right now I just breathe in from the tube but this would be much easier. Get it here.


You had to know this would be on my list right? I mean, come on. Of course I would include a yoga mat. You don’t have to do yoga to meditate but it sure is a nice lead-in. One of the purposes of yoga was to release tension and pain from the body so you could sit quiet in meditation without any discomfort. I meditate anywhere and everywhere when I need it on the spot but when I’m going with the intention of meditating, I like to start with some yoga first. Even if you don’t meditate, a gentle yoga sequence can help you let go of stress and anxiety. There have been many occasions where yoga has helped me shake off an otherwise shitty day. Everyone has their preferences; I like a mat that is thick enough to be cushioned but thin enough to still feel the ground below, and it must be slip-proof. Manduka makes awesome mats. Get it here.


Those are my suggestions for shopping for the stressed out person you love in your life (and they’re great gifts to buy yourself too, if that stressed out person happens to be YOU). This is by no means an exhaustive list though.

What did I miss? In the comments below tell me what your favorite stress-busting gift is?

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1 thought on “Holiday Gift Guide for the Stressed Out Person in your life

  1. Helen

    I relate such a great amount to this book. Like Harris, I’m a determined columnist and I’ve been living in my mind this while. On occasion silly, now and again calming, this diary really enlivened me to begin pondering in light of the fact that it doesn’t have the charm vibe that a few books on contemplation have. Harris’ sensible record (he despises the syrupy language utilized in contemplation circles thus do I) convinced me – a big deal cynic to endeavor the training. What’s more, guess what? After only two weeks of steady practice, I’m as of now feeling better for it. Peruse this on the off chance that you need to realize what reflection from the point of view of a non-devotee turned adherent.


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