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- Toys and gadgets:
- Books and journals:
- Most helpful book: “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… And It’s All Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson
- Best artistic gift: “Adult Coloring Book: Stress Relieving Designs”
- Best daily-use gift: “The Five-Minute Journal”
If you’re shopping for holiday gifts for a loved one who navigates symptoms of anxiety, there are a few things to keep in mind. Options that carry any kind of implied commitment — think concert tickets, dinner reservations, or even a house plant — may seem like a great idea, but they could inadvertently cause anxiety or stress to the recipient.
Instead, look for gifts that are designed to impart a sense of calm and relaxation. Products intended to reduce stress, increase mindfulness, or promote self-care are all thoughtful choices, and there are all kinds of options out there.
To help you get started, we’ve rounded up 16 of the best holiday gifts for people with anxiety.
As you shop, keep a few things in mind:
- Designed for de-stressing. Simple gifts like candles, bath salts, and cozy blankets are all about relaxing, which can help people calm down and relieve tension.
- No added stress. The best gifts come with no expectations, so avoid gifts that come with any responsibility or strings attached. That means nothing that your gift recipient is expected to keep alive — no matter how cute that puppy, kitten, or succulent may be! (Unless of course they’ve been seriously discussing adopting that kitten.)
- Minimizes triggers. Different experiences, emotions, or events can trigger anxiety. While triggers are complicated and often personal, gift ideas that help minimize common triggers can be a good idea. Weighted blankets, caffeine-free teas, noise-canceling headphones, or even a simple journal are all good choices.
In choosing the best gifts for someone with anxiety, we looked for products that are designed for relaxation and self-care. We prioritized those that are specifically beneficial for managing symptoms of anxiety, and we included options suitable for all budgets and gift recipients of all ages.
- $ = under $25
- $$ = $25–$65
- $$$ = over $65
Toys and gadgets
Best budget gift
- Price: $
Stress balls are exactly what they sound like — small balls that fit into the palm of the hand to stretch and squeeze, which can help release tension and energy and reduce stress. Stress balls are often used as a meditation tool, and they’re small enough to stash in a pocket, purse, or desk so they’re around when your gift recipient needs them.
Priced at under $20, this set is a budget-friendly gift option for people who need an outlet for stress and tension. The set comes with two balls, both made with two layers of resistance wrapped in a smooth, nonstick fabric. It’s a good balance of a satisfying “squish” and resistance. And here’s a little side benefit — squeezing a stress ball may help strengthen muscles in the wrists and hands.
- costs less than $20 for two stress balls
- relieve stress while simultaneously strengthening wrist and hand muscles
- bring and use anywhere
- very soft (Some reviewers say there’s not much resistance because of this.)
Best portable gift
- Price: $$$
Anxiety can be unpredictable, so a portable gift is a great option for offering relief on the go. The moment pebble from Uncommon Goods is a sort of a worry stone for the 21st century. The smooth, palm-sized touchstone comes equipped with LEDs that brighten and dim, a sequence that can be followed for guided breath work (inhale as the glow increases, and exhale as it decreases).
Your gift recipient can keep their moment pebble tucked away in a pocket or purse and use it as needed to help minimize stress and anxiety. It also comes with a charging station and a small guide that includes helpful meditation tips.
- portable and discreet
- helps with breath work
- comes with a meditation guide
Best tactile gift
- Price: $
Fidgeting often accompanies anxiety, and this therapy dough is an excellent way to channel that excess energy and to bring awareness to touch — the act of squishing, squeezing, rolling, and shaping helps relieve stress and manage anxiety.
A grown-up version of the dough we played with as kids, Therapy Dough is a soft, colorful, and fragrant putty infused with essential oils. It’s the kind of thing that can be stored in a desk and pulled out to keep hands busy when someone needs a few minutes to regroup.
Choose from four fragrances — lavender, eucalyptus, orange, and pine — for a gift your loved one will enjoy again and again.
- something to do with your hands
- infused with essential oils for added stress relief
- color may not match photos
- may dry out and crumble
Best brain teaser
- Price: $
Jigsaw puzzles are an effective way to distract the mind from its worries, and many people find completing jigsaw puzzles to be a form of meditation. Since they demand your full attention, you can’t multitask the puzzle with your phone or television (two things that can contribute to anxiety).
We love this particular 750-piece puzzle for its stunning mountain scenery. It’s nice to look at, but it’s also a full-brain exercise that makes it possible to tune out everything but the task at hand. Focusing in this way can help minimize anxiety.
- can be meditative
- a bit challenging (according to some reviewers)
Books and journals
Most helpful book
- Price: $
If your loved one is a reader, Carlson’s book is a classic. It’s designed to help people put things into perspective, with useful advice for making small, daily changes, which is why we consider it the most helpful — it has actionable advice that you can implement right away.
The book is a guide for living in the moment, trusting your instincts, and having gratitude. Carlson shares ways to make your actions more caring and peaceful, which can help make your life calmer and less stressful. We like the small size of this paperback edition, which makes it something your gift recipient can take with them on the go.
- info is easy to absorb
- chapters are short and sweet
- mostly anecdotes, so may not be helpful for everyone (according to some reviewers)
Best artistic gift
- Price: $
This coloring book is equal parts artistic and functional: The act of coloring can be calming to the mind in much the same way as meditation, and the stress-relieving designs in this book are particularly appealing.
A stunning mix of animals, patterns, and designs make up more than 60 calming illustrations just waiting to be colored in this adult coloring book. Pair it with a set of beautiful pens for a thoughtful and functional gift that creates a personal piece of art when the book is completed.
- mix of art and function
- detailed, intricate designs that take a while to fill in
- pages are thin and can bleed
Best daily-use gift
- Price: $$
Managing anxiety can be a daily task, and The Five-Minute Journal can give your recipient a way to quickly check in each day. This simple cloth-bound journal is a day-to-day calendar that uses positive psychology to improve mindfulness and happiness. Thoughtful prompts guide your recipient into showing gratitude, prioritizing their day, making daily affirmations, identifying positivity, and making self-reflections.
It has enough pages for 6 months of journaling, and each daily section is broken into morning and evening routines for inspiration and motivation that lasts all day. The Five-Minute Journal is a hardcover for durability, and it’s available in six colors.
- daily stress/anxiety relief without too much commitment
- step-by-step prompts and instructions
- includes science-backed explanations for prompts
- limited amount of writing space
- some reviewers report poor binding
Best mini diffuser
- Price: $$$
Aera’s mini diffuser makes it easy to diffuse calming scents — think lavender, chamomile, and bergamot — anywhere. The smaller, cuter version of the traditional Aera diffuser plugs into any standard wall outlet (so your recipient can put it wherever they need it most) and dispenses hypoallergenic scents that are completely safe for families and pets.
Like the full-size version, the mini has adjustable settings to dial in the appropriate amount of scent to the space, while the Aera app makes it easy to set schedules and control strength. The mini nightlight is another bonus, as is the price — the smaller diffuser is less than half the price of the original.
Aera diffusers work exclusively with their own scent capsules though, so this is not the kind of diffuser you can add pure essential oils to. The company’s aromatherapy line includes fragrances specifically designed to promote de-stressing, relaxation, and focus.
- plug it in anywhere
- adjustable settings let you control the strength
- connects to an app to set schedules
- can’t add your own essential oils
Best portable aromatherapy set
- Price: $$
Plug-in diffusers are great, but they limit where you can reap the benefits. With the Pocket Farmacy, which is completely portable, your gift recipient has all the benefits of aromatherapy at their fingertips, no matter where they go.
This best-selling essential oil kit comes with five blends, including one specifically for stress relief, in a compact, zippered, washable pouch. The blends can be applied topically for calming aromatherapy and include:
- Peppermint Halo
- Stress Release
- Pain Release
The kit is available in four stylish colors, including a beautiful botanical print, and gift your loved one a kit that will travel with them wherever they go.
- comes with five blends
- fully portable
- wide range of uses, from stress relief to pain management
- no refills are available (you have to replace the whole kit)
Best bath salts
- Price: $
A soothing scented bath can help relieve stress and tension, and Herbivore’s soaking salts are particularly calming. The Himalayan pink salt, ylang ylang essential oil, and vanilla oil in these soaking salts infuse bath water with minerals like magnesium, selenium, zinc, and iron.
In addition to their aromatherapy benefits, Herbivore’s bath salts can help soothe dry skin. Plus, in their transparent glass jar, these large-grain, pale pink and white soaking salts look beautiful in any bathroom.
A happy bonus? All Herbivore products are natural, vegan, and cruelty free.
- softens skin in addition to calming stress
- subtle scent
- salts may not fully dissolve in the bath
- Price: $$$
Any cozy blanket can be calming. But weighted blankets are specifically designed for relaxation and anxiety reduction, which is why this is an excellent gift for anyone who needs some additional stress relief.
This weighted blanket from Casper is made with a microbead fill for a hugging sensation and even distribution. Choose from three weight options (10, 15, and 20 pounds), and keep in mind that the rule of thumb for the best weight is 10 percent of the user’s body weight to ensure optimal comfort.
Casper’s weighted blanket is available in three colors.
- comes in three weights
- quilted air channels prevent overheating
- may help improve sleep
- Price: $$$
The jarring wake-up call of a traditional alarm clock can be an anxiety-provoking way to start the day. The Hatch Restore not only solves that problem, it serves quadruple duty — it’s a sound machine, sunrise alarm, alarm clock, and meditation app rolled into one. It’s specifically designed to help people fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake in the morning in the least disruptive manner possible.
The Hatch includes a soft-glow reading light with no blue hues, an array of soothing lights and sounds, wind-down meditations, and an alarm clock. The bedside device works with a free companion app, so your gift recipient can personalize a bedtime and wake-up routine that calms the mind and minimizes early morning anxiety.
- serves as an alarm clock, meditation app, and sound machine
- contains no blue light
- allows for a personalization of bedtime routines
- requires monthly or yearly membership
Best wearable gift
- Price: $$
A cozy, oversized, wearable blanket can help your gift recipient feel more secure (and comfortable). The one-size-fits-all design works for most sizes and shapes, and includes a generous hood and pocket for extra coziness. The wearer can roll up the sleeves to move about freely or curl up on the sofa to be completely covered. The Comfy Original comes in a variety of colors, with a quarter-zip option, and it’s machine washable for easy cleaning.
- warm and cozy
- allows arms to move freely
- doesn’t come in a plus-size version
Best gift set
- Price: $$$
If you’re not really sure what to get, this gift set covers all the bases. It includes items designed to inspire balance, promote calm, and encourage mindfulness:
- A Life Balance journal includes space for daily thoughts, soothing artwork, and Q&A sections designed to inspire thoughtful responses.
- An eraser set designed in the shape of stones is inspired by the meditative practice of stacking stones. Zen reminders are imprinted on the sides of the erasers, which increase in size from 1 to 4 inches.
- Dream Catcher herbal tea blends floral rose petals, chamomile, and lavender for relaxation, and this keepsake tin includes 15 sachets.
- The Paddywax ceramic candle is scented with matcha tea and bergamot. A glass vial of mini matches is also included.
- includes five gifts that aid in relaxation
- Q&A prompts in journal
- all teas are caffeine-free
- no option to customize tea flavors or candle scent
Best for sore muscles
- Price: $$$
Stress and anxiety can create intense physical tension that manifests as sore muscles. The Aku Mat may look a little intimidating, but it combines the benefits of acupressure and reflexology to help relieve some of that physical tension.
Over 2,500 tiny metal spikes are designed to stimulate nerve centers for improved blood flow and lymphatic circulation, which releases endorphins and can provide some pain relief. Stepping or laying on the Aku Mat can help relax muscles and joints, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve sleep quality.
It’s a great option for loved ones who are interested in reflexology, yoga, or acupuncture.
- relieves physical tension
- can improve sleep quality
- takes some getting used to (can hurt a little at first)
|Price||Best for||Why we love it|
|Serenilite Hand Therapy Stress Balls||$||anyone who fidgets often||It comes with two stress balls for less than $20 and is a discreet way to channel anxious energy.|
|Fiona, Alex and Charlie Moment Pebble||$$$||someone who needs a reminder to breathe||It’s a portable prompt that can remind you to breathe when you’re out and about and in a potentially stressful situation.|
|Cammie and Kip Weeks Therapy Dough||$||the person who needs some grounding||Tactile therapy can help bring you back to the present moment and reduce stress and anxiety. It’s infused with essential oils for added benefit.|
|Mountains on Fire Jigsaw Puzzle||$||the introvert||It helps keep your brain occupied and diverts attention from worrying. The puzzle is beautiful, too.|
|“Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… And It’s All Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson||$||the person who has trouble letting things go||It provides small, actionable steps that you can implement immediately.|
|“Adult Coloring Book: Stress Relieving Designs”||$||anyone who appreciates a creative outlet for anxiety||It’s a creative way to channel your energy and can provide a meditative experience.|
|“The Five-Minute Journal”||$$||anyone that’s “too busy” for self-care||It’s an effective tool that can help relieve stress and anxiety with a minimal time commitment.|
|Aera Mini Diffuser||$$$||the person who wants to bring aromatherapy with them from room to room||It’s a portable way to bring aromatherapy into any room.|
|Saje Pocket Farmacy Physical Edition||$$||someone who’s away from home a lot||It allows you to take the power of aromatherapy with you wherever you go.|
|Herbivore Calm Soaking Salts||$20||the self-care lover||The salts are infused with essential oils and contain magnesium — two things that can help reduce anxiety.|
|Casper Weighted Blanket||$$$||someone who carries stress in their body||It comes in three weights and has small channels that help distribute beads for even pressure.|
|Hatch Restore||$–$$$||someone who has trouble sleeping||It functions as a gentle alarm clock, sound machine, and meditation app in one.|
|The Comfy Original Sherpa Wearable Blanket||$$||the comfort seeker||It provides the coziness of an oversized, plush blanket, but leaves your hands free so you can go about your day while wearing it.|
|Life in Balance Gift Set||$$$||anyone who loves sipping tea while journaling||It includes five gifts that aid in relaxation, making it an excellent choice if you can’t decide on one item.|
|Aku Mat||$$$||sore muscles and physical tension||It mimics acupressure and reflexology to help improve blood flow and alleviate pain and tension.|
While many people with anxiety experience similar symptoms, it can be a very personal experience. The ultimate goal is to help relieve stress, tension, and anxious thoughts, but the best way to get there depends on the recipient.
When purchasing a gift for someone with anxiety, think about what they enjoy. Do they like to take baths after a long day? If so, bath salts or an aromatherapy diffuser may be a great option. Do they like to channel their energy into a creative outlet? In that case, a journal or adult coloring book may be more fitting.
You’ll also want to consider their lifestyle. If they spend most of their time at home, something that adds value to their day-to-day home life, like a comfortable blanket, will be a welcome addition. If they’re always on the go, a portable aromatherapy kit can help provide relief anywhere.
Another thing to think about is their main concern. Do they have trouble sleeping or winding down? A weighted blanket can help with that. Do they fall asleep just fine, but have trouble waking up? If so, a gentle alarm clock like The Hatch Restore may make it easier (and less jarring) to get out of bed in the morning. If sore muscles are the biggest complaint, an acupressure mat may provide the most relief.
How can you tell if a loved one has anxiety?
Unless someone tells you outright, it can be difficult to identify anxiety in a loved one. You may notice that they seem nervous or jittery, especially in stressful situations. They may also seem aloof or easily distracted, or as if they’re not fully paying attention to what you’re saying.
You may also notice that they avoid situations or social events or leave events or crowds early. However, symptoms of anxiety can vary between individuals.
What products should I avoid for anxiety?
When choosing a gift for someone with anxiety, the emphasis should be on things that are calming and soothing. Avoid things that are noisy, especially bright, or jarring. It’s also important to take personal preferences into account here.
If you know the person well, consider their anxiety triggers and avoid anything that can set them off.
What anxiety products are best for kids?
Kids generally have shorter attention spans than adults, so the best anxiety products for them are things that will keep them entertained and busy. You’ll also want to make sure it’s age-appropriate and safe for use.
Coloring books, fidget toys, anxiety jewelry, and aromatherapy dough are all excellent options.
Shopping for others can be tricky, and that’s particularly true if you know your gift recipient deals with symptoms of anxiety. Keeping a few things in mind for the most appropriate, appreciated gifts for people with anxiety can make all the difference.
Jessica Timmons has been working as a freelance writer since 2007, covering everything from pregnancy and parenting to cannabis, chiropractic, stand-up paddling, fitness, martial arts, home decor, and much more. Her work has appeared in mindbodygreen, Pregnancy & Newborn, Modern Parents Messy Kids, and Coffee + Crumbs. See what she’s up to now at jessicatimmons.com.