8 Stress-Relief Gifts to Give Your Most Anxious Friend (or Keep for Yourself)
We all have that friend: the one who listens to her podcasts on 1.5x speed, sends 45 texts in a row before you have a chance to respond and eats standing up in the office kitchen to save time. (Or, OK, fine, this is you.) Get her a gift that’s been scientifically proved to ease anxiety (or, if this is you, keep it for yourself). Here, eight stress-relief gifts she’ll love.
1. Quility Premium Adult Weighted Blanket, 15 lbs.
There’s a reason we’ve been seeing weighted blankets everywhere recently. “Any kind of weighted blanket will really calm you down,” Molly Giorgio, Psy.D., a licensed clinical psychologist, told us. Spend a few minutes snuggled under one of these, and your worries will melt away. This particular blanket has more than 10,000 five-star reviews (!) on Amazon.
2. Fred & Friends Slow Brew Sloth Tea Infuser
Seeing this guy hooked onto the side of her tea mug probably won’t make her feel any more relaxed, but filling it with a soothing blend of lavender-chamomile tea should do the trick. A study conducted by the Depression Research Unit at University City Science Center in Philadelphia found that chamomile can reduce anxiety. And it’s caffeine-free, so she can sip it before bed.
3. eDiva Natural Jade Roller
The jury’s still out on whether jade rollers can really help with wrinkles and puffiness. But one thing they definitely do is relax tense facial muscles. “Jade rolling feels like a tension-relieving, relaxing facial massage, which helps to drain lymphatic fluid that is held stagnant beneath the tissue,” say the beauty experts at Dermstore. Sign us up.
4. ProsourceFit Acupressure Mat and Pillow Set
This spiky contraption might look like a torture device, but it’s actually really relaxing. Acupressure mats are designed to naturally reduce muscle tension, pain and headaches. When you lie on one, the mat massages key pressure points, encouraging the body to relax and release anxiety and stress, according to a study conducted by faculty members at the University of Malaysia. “The first time I used it, I was on it for about 15 minutes and my headache was gone,” one reviewer claims. No Advil necessary.
5. Watercolor Paint Set
According to psychotherapist and relationship expert Gin Love Thompson, Ph.D., doing something creative, like painting with watercolors, can help calm the mind. A 2016 study published in the journal Art Therapy found that making art (even if you’re not particularly artistic) reduces cortisol, the body’s stress hormone. Have a painting newbie on your hands? This set includes paints, paper and brushes, so she'll be good to go.
6. Spafinder Wellness 365 Gift Card
Ever floated out of a great massage feeling blissed out? There’s a reason for that. Research conducted by the Massage Therapy Foundation in Illinois shows that massage therapy can reduce the physiological effects of stress by reducing cortisol levels and slowing the heart rate. We’ll take that as an excuse to treat ourselves to a couple more shiatsus this year. (With a Spafinder gift card, the recipient can get pampered at any participating spa in their area.)
7. Silver Philodendron
It turns out, becoming a plant parent can actually be an effective way to relax. The Journal of Physiological Anthropology notes that caring for a plant reduces physical and psychological stress. Plus, this little guy will look so cute perched on your windowsill. The silver philodendron is a pretty forgiving plant (um, just in case you forget to water it), so it’s fantastic for new plant owners.
8. HEETA Hair Scalp Massager
Quick: What’s your favorite part of going to the hair salon? The scalp massage, obviously. But it doesn’t just feel amazing: A study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science found that a 15- to 25-minute scalp massage can reduce stress hormones, lower blood pressure and slow the heart rate. In between hair appointments, your anxious pal can rub this tool on her scalp in circular motions while she’s in the shower to feel calmer instantly. (Her hair will feel cleaner too.)