We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.
No one is immune to stress — you might even call it society’s common denominator. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the world, stress has only grown among Americans.
According to the American Psychological Association, nearly 8 in 10 adults say the coronavirus pandemic is a significant source of stress in their life. Stressors like job stability and safety cause emotional tensions to rise as well, making stress management techniques vital.
When left unchecked, stress and anxiety can have major side effects. It can pose long-term cardiovascular, sexual, digestive, and mental health problems.
With pressure on the rise, everyone could benefit from the gift of relaxation. By reading customer reviews and reviewing studies on techniques for stress relief, we’ve rounded up 25 stress relief gift ideas for the people in your life.
Our list of recommended products is based on a mixture of personal experience, high ratings of at least 4 or 5 stars, and best-selling items.
- $ = under $25
- $$ = $25–$50
- $$$ = $50–$99
- $$$$ = over $100
- Price: $$$$
- Pros: This blanket has a range of colors and can promote restful sleep.
- Cons: Some reviewers thought this product was overpriced and the holes in the knit kept them too cool.
- Best for: hot sleepers
Weighted blankets can be a useful and cozy tool to add to your arsenal of de-stressing products. The blanket’s heaviness emulates deep pressure stimulation therapy, which can help relax the nervous system.
While there is a multitude of blankets on the market, Bearaby weighted blankets are by far some of the most stylish. Perfect as a couch or bed throw, the chunky knit blanket comes in six colors.
Another major perk of the Bearaby Tree Napper is its cooling effects. The blanket is made from eco-friendly eucalyptus fibers and Tencel Lyocell fabrics that can wick away moisture — a necessary feature for hot sleepers.
The Tree Napper blanket comes in weights of 15, 20, and 25 pounds, and the brand recommends the blanket be roughly 10 percent of a person’s body weight.
- Price: $$
- Pros: This massager provides adjustable neck and back pain relief.
- Cons: Some reviewers complained about receiving defective massagers or felt the pressure was too strong.
- Best for: anyone with neck and back tension
When stress creeps up on you, you might feel tension in your neck and shoulders. The Neckteck neck and back massager is a luxury that won’t break the bank.
The device is a best-seller on Amazon and has amassed nearly 28,000 reviews. The shiatsu massager has eight nodes that knead deeply into the skin at three different speed options. Bonus: The massager is heated, which can help boost circulation and reduce stiffness.
Whether your loved one has a case of text neck or they just need to decompress, an on-demand massage is a gift that will be put to good use.
- Price: $$$
- Pros: Products are cruelty-free with a range of scents.
- Cons: One reviewer says that the Watermelon Splash bath bomb included black seeds that required extra cleanup in the tub.
- Best for: bath lovers
Nectar’s set of donut-themed bath bombs are a sweet (pun intended) gift for the bath lover in your life. The pastel color palette and whimsical shape make the set a playful touch for a bathroom counter. Nectar’s bath bomb formula includes kaolin clay, Epsom salt, and skin-nourishing almond oil. The colorful bath products are handmade in Las Vegas and use natural, vegan-friendly ingredients.
Hot baths have many health benefits like stress relief, reduced inflammation, and a better night’s sleep. Of course, bath bombs are one way to make a healthy habit even more enticing for your loved one.
- Price: $$
- Pros: This mask blocks light and aids sleep.
- Cons: Some reviewers wished the sleep mask was heavier.
- Best for: anyonewho has trouble falling asleep
If you’re shopping for someone who loves their weighted blanket, a weighted sleep mask sounds like a natural progression. The unique design of the Nodpod mask helps block out light and provides deep pressure, similar to a weighted blanket, on your eyes. There’s no strap or Velcro, so it won’t be too tight or get stuck in your hair.
Many reviewers found that the Nodpod mask helped them calm down at night and get a restful sleep. Some verified buyers also claimed the sleep mask helped alleviate their headaches.
- Price: $$$$
- Pros: This diffuser has a modern design and comes in eight colors.
- Cons: The stone can stain if you have any essential oil residue on your hands. Some essential oils are toxic to pets, so pet owners should check with their vet before using a diffuser in their home.
- Best for: peoplewho enjoy room scents from air fresheners and candles
Aromatherapy has been a longtime natural treatment for stress, and a growing body of research continues to suggest its effectiveness. A 2017 study found that when using lavender essential oil on participants receiving a massage, those receiving the oil reported a 12 percent decrease in stress, while those only receiving a massage noticed just a 3.3 percent decrease.
The Vitruvi stone diffuser dilutes essential oils and disperses them into the air, filling the room with the aroma of your choice. The modern design is sleek and subtle, making it a great addition to a nightstand or countertop.
- Price: $$–$$$$
- Pros: Readers can choose a book from five options.
- Cons: This option is only available in the United States.
- Best for: avid recreational readers
Opening a book helps readers enter a different world with new perspectives. Reading can help increase empathy, enhance your vocabulary, and even reduce stress. One 2019 study found that recreational reading helped reduce psychological distress in university students during the school year.
Book of the Month takes the guesswork out of picking a specific book to give. The membership, available in plans ranging from 3 to 12 months, ships a new book to the reader’s house each month. Readers can choose from five books that are vetted by the Book of the Month team, including some early releases for the VIP bookworm in your life.
- Price: $$$$
- Pros: You can wear the cylinder open or closed for two different styles.
- Cons: The Cor pendant comes with three Cor Wick inserts. Each wick lasts about 1 month, so gift receivers will have to purchase refills.
- Best for: stylish friends who love a conversation piece
The line of pendants from Cor has managed to make aromatherapy a wearable companion, and the minimalist style looks effortlessly cool and stylish.
However, these gold and silver pendants are more than just a fashion statement — they’re also a covert stress relief tool. The pendant is a vessel for Cor Wicks, the brand’s essential oil blends that fit inside each pendant. The inserts come in various scents, including a “Calm” blend with lavender, chamomile, neroli, Rosalina, and linaloe berry.
- Price: $$$
- Pros: This themed care kit has sustainable packaging.
- Cons: There are currently no reviews on this product.
- Best for: homebodiesand anyone who needs to unplug
Over the last year, everyone’s spending a lot more time inside. Give your night in an upgrade with the Calm Club Big Night In kit.
The curated box includes essentials for curling up on the couch like cozy wool socks, a soy wax candle, and a ceramic mug for your favorite hot beverage. For mindfulness, Calm Club also includes a wooden puzzle to help focus your thoughts. Of course, there’s also a sleep mask for when it’s time to turn in for the night.
This care package is a great hint for workaholic friends who could use a little self-care.
- Price: $$
- Pros: This collection has a variety of caffeine-free flavors.
- Cons: A few reviewers didn’t like the flavors, though many enjoy them.
- Best for: anyonewho enjoys tea in the evening or those who want to avoid caffeine
DAVIDsTEA has more than 150 loose-leaf teas to choose from, which can feel overwhelming for shoppers. The sampler features 12 tea leaf blends designed to aid relaxation and sleep. Options include popular chamomile and rooibos, as well as blends like Halo Headache and Lavender Buttercream.
Conscious shoppers may admire the sustainability efforts of DAVIDsTEA. The fair trade-certified brand is allied with the Ethical Tea Partnership, an organization with a mission to make the tea industry more sustainable and fairer for tea farmers, their families, and the environment.
- Price: $$
- Pros: Amazon reviewers enjoyed the quality and scent.
- Cons: Some Amazon reviewers complain that the scent doesn’t fill the room.
- Best for: anyonewho enjoys setting a relaxing mood in their home
When in doubt, candles are always a good idea. Tucked away in a Brooklyn factory, Apotheke has been hand-pouring candles and bar soap for a decade. Founder Chrissy Fichtl started concocting scents in her kitchen and selling at local flea markets until a West Elm debut put the brand on the map.
Apotheke candles are a minimalist and versatile choice to incorporate into any home, regardless of decor. The Hinoki Lavender candle comes in a chic frosted glass, but the design is the icing on the cake. The earthy scent blends notes of Hinoki cypress, lavender, lotus flower, and sandalwood — a soothing fusion that can burn for up to around 70 hours.
- Price: $$$
- Pros: Calm suggests meditations based on your ratings and new content is frequently being added.
- Cons: The app requires a commitment to see the full benefits of meditation.
- Best for: anyone whowants to dabble in meditation or learn new relaxation techniques
Calm is an award-winning app that provides calming techniques, morning stretches, guided meditations, and sleep aids. The app is available for iOS and Android devices as well as desktops and has a 4.8-star average rating in Apple’s App Store. Among the many tools within the app, users can learn and meditate with the stars.
From meditating with professional basketball player LeBron James to taking a master class in creativity with Elizabeth Gilbert, the membership sprinkles celebrity-led content into the experience. Some sleep stories on the app are narrated by A-listers like Kate Winslet and Harry Styles. Yes, you can give the gift of falling asleep to the sound of Idris Elba’s voice.
- Price: $$$
- Pros: Studies show that plants can boost mood and productivity.
- Cons: Plants require weekly care and a watch for bugs.
- Best for: People who enjoy connecting with nature
Plant-lined shelves and hanging pothos plants have taken over Instagram feeds and TikTok videos. With more time at home than ever, garden centers have been teeming with new customers and many reported a huge boom in 2020.
But plants are more than just a pretty thing to sit on the windowsill. Research finds plants are powerful tools to boost positivity and concentration. A 2020 study analyzing the impact of indoor plants in work environments concluded that plants decreased anxiety in employees in a Japanese office.
When buying for a plant newbie, aim for one where a green thumb won’t be a prerequisite. The ZZ plant is a hardy piece of greenery that can survive in low light and requires minimal maintenance.
- Price: $$
- Pros: Journaling reduces stress and can help organize thoughts.
- Cons: The lined sections for prompts may make some users feel limited, ships from Australia which incurs high shipping cost to US.
- Best for: people who find it easier to reflect when using writing prompts
Small habits like keeping a journal can help reduce stress symptoms. The Press Pause journal is chock-full of writing prompts and questions that can help guide writers who are new to journaling. The 52-week journal also includes inspirational stories from writers who share their own journey with mindfulness.
Taking a small portion of the day to jot down goals, reflect on gratitude, and document memories can create a special memento to look back on in the future.
- Price: $
- Pros: Reviewers found the book’s pictures to be calming.
- Cons: Some Amazon reviewers complained that the book came damaged, though there are no reviews on the Barnes and Noble listing.
- Best for: anyone looking for inner reflection and enjoys finding new stress-reducing techniques
Author and mental health activist Moorea Seal is known for her line of journals that focus on subjects like bravery, togetherness, and happiness. Her book “52 Lists for Calm” is teeming with thought-provoking prompts for each week of the year.
The prompts are separated into four sections: Present, Look Back, Move Forward, and Release. Seal’s journal features images and illustrations designed to spark serenity in users. She also incorporates mindfulness strategies, essays, and quotes meant to help those who are struggling with burnout.
- Price: $
- Pros: This puzzle has beautiful photography on both sides for a 2-in-1 product.
- Cons: Some Amazon product reviewerssaid puzzle pieces weren’t sturdy and can tear.
- Best for: people who enjoy hands-on activities
Fine art photographer Gray Malin has traveled the world capturing beauty from a bird’s eye view. His aerial photos of candy-colored beach umbrellas and crystal blue waters have become his trademark.
Rather than lining the halls of a gallery, Malin’s work has evolved into a lifestyle brand. His photography is emblazoned on phone cases, coaster sets, postcards, and tote bags.
The artist’s two-sided puzzle features Hawaii’s famed Waikiki Beach on one side and a verdant Kauai coastline on the other. It’s the perfect calming tool for a friend who needs to step away from their screen and focus on the moment.
- Price: $$
- Pros: This is a cute way to get your calm on.
- Cons: A few reviewers complained of a bad smell after microwaving.
- Best for: anyone with a playful side
Heating pads can be used for injuries and pain, but their value doesn’t have to end there. According to the American Psychological Association, muscle tension is “almost a reflex reaction to stress.” Chronic stress can make you feel constantly guarded, and when that tension hits the neck and shoulders, it can cause headaches.
Since heat can help loosen muscles, a heating pad can be a handy tool for stress relief. Put a unique spin on the traditional heating pad with this adorable sloth plushie, which can be microwaved or frozen to offer relief.
- Price: $$
- Pros: Scents included with these products are cruelty-free.
- Cons: There are currently no negative online reviews for the Miss Patisserie steamers.
- Best for: peoplewho like to unwind in the shower, especially those who don’t own a bathtub
Are shower steamers the new bath bombs? These essential oil-infused shower steamers are one way to bring your hot showers to the next level. Break off a piece of the Miss Patisserie product and place it on the floor of the shower — the scents blend with the hot steam and fill the shower with an aroma designed to soothe.
The package comes with six steamers with essential oils like juniper berry, lemongrass, lavender, eucalyptus, jasmine, and orange. The de-stressing steamers are also cruelty-free and vegan-friendly.
- Price: $
- Pros: Many shoppers felt the eye patches left them feeling refreshed.
- Cons: Some reviewers found the eye gels to be too slippery.
- Best for: people who stare at screens for long periods of time or experience poor sleep leading to tired eyes
When shopping for a skin care devotee, eye gels can be a nice pick-me-up to add to a regimen. Patchology Moodpatch Chill Mode eye gels have a cooling effect that soothes.
The gels are infused with cannabis seed oil, which contains the anti-inflammatory gamma-linoleic acid to soothe the skin and purports to encourage cell turnover. The product’s allantoin and rhodiola extract help to calm redness while the reishi and snow mushroom extracts hydrate the under-eye area.
Similar to the time-honored method of using cut cucumbers on your eyes, the eye gels are cool to the touch. The eye gels can help depuff tired eyes in the morning or provide a little indulgence after a long day.
- Price: $$$$
- Pros: Reviewers applaud the alarm’s customizable programs and call it a “peaceful” way to wake up.
- Cons: Reviewerscomplain about the device’s reliance on Wi-Fi.
- Best for: anyone who has trouble waking up from the sound of their alarm
Getting adequate sleep is necessary for a healthy life. A general rule for adults is 7 to 9 hours of sleep, and sacrificing extra Zzz’s can have a detrimental effect on wellness. Research shows that 21 percent of adults report feeling more stressed, while 37 percent find themselves feeling fatigued or tired because of stress.
With sleep being such an important part of life, the Hatch Restore can be a helpful aid for loved ones in need of some quality shut-eye. The Hatch Restore is a multi-use relaxation tool that features a sound machine, meditation app, and a sunrise alarm that simulates the morning sun. The device also includes a soft-glow reading light.
- Price: $$
- Pros: Reviewers found it to be gentle and non-irritating on skin.
- Cons: Some reviewers wished the foam had a stronger scent.
- Best for: anyonewho enjoys long baths
Celebrate your friend with a little bubbly — no, not that kind. Neom Real Luxury Bath Foam from their ‘Scent to De-Stress’ line is a fragranced formula that contains lavender, jasmine, and Brazilian rosewood. The effervescent foam also works to soften and soothe the skin with ingredients like coconut oil, aloe, and almond oil.
Neom sells branded gift bags and boxes that may come in handy for those sending gifts long-distance.
21. Embroidery Kit
- Price: $
- Pros: The template makes it easy for beginners.
- Cons: Embroidery hoops are not included with some design kits.
- Best for: crafty friends and family members
Much like adult coloring books, activities that require focus and distract from self-awareness can result in relaxation. Etsy has a stockpile of crafting kits that focus on everything from candle-making to pottery. Embroidery — the skill of hand-sewing art onto fabric — is a popular craft on Etsy’s marketplace, where more than 618,000 embroidery kits are available.
Fiber arts like sewing have been incorporated into art therapy programs and explored by researchers. The embroidery trend has also captured consumers: Google Trends shows a 2020 surge in embroidery-curious users searching for ways to start the craft. Etsy seller snugglymonkey has garnered more than 20,000 reviews and provides embroidery hoops, patterns, and supplies for crafters.
- Price: $$$
- Pros: This pillow can offer support to enhance a yoga practice.
- Cons: Some reviewers found the bolster pillow to be too firm.
- Best for: yogis and the yoga curious
Any yogi knows that the best part of a yoga practice is Savasana (aka Corpse Pose). Using a yoga bolster can alleviate pressure on joints and deepen the stretches of certain poses. Bolsters are similar to a pillow but feature a firmer foam that provides lumbar support.
This AJNA yoga bolster is highly rated on Amazon. It has a 4.8-star average rating with more than 2,500 reviewers — 88 percent of which gave the pillow 5 stars. “As a yoga teacher I’d absolutely recommend this bolster,” says one Amazon reviewer.
- Price: $$$$
- Pros: This robe can be used after a shower or for lounging.
- Cons: Some reviewers complained about the fabric snagging easily.
- Best for: people who enjoy comfortwear
Cozy weekends need their own uniform. Parachute’s soft rib robe is made from 100% cotton terry cloth, a material that many reviewers call “cuddly.” While comfort is key, Parachute’s clean design features ribbed lines and side-seam pockets.
Gray and white are two reliable color choices, but the robe is also available in a rustlike ‘clay’ color like the one on Popsugar’s list of colors dominating 2021 runways.
In the reviews, 81 percent awarded it between 4 and 5 stars. Warning: You may be tempted to buy the Parachute robe for yourself. “I loved this robe so much that in a matter of two days [I] bought one a day for other people. They love their robes too,” writes a verified customer.
- Price: $
- Pros: These capsules come at an affordable price point compared with competitors.
- Cons: Some reviewers felt no positive effects over their time of use.
- Best for: anyone who wants to incorporate supplements into their wellness routine
A flurry of vitamin brands has emerged on the market with an aesthetic of simple design and familiar fonts that have come to symbolize modern wellness. While stress-relieving supplements sound appealing, some brands can cost upwards of $60 for a month’s supply. Rae Wellness, founded in 2019, has supplements starting at $14.99. Its DeStress capsules have the same ingredients that aim to combat stress at a far more accessible price.
Studies conducted on ingredients like the Ayurvedic herb
- Price: $$
- Pros: The oil can be used for multiple purposes.
- Cons: Some reviewers felt they ran through the product quickly.
- Best for: beauty and skin care lovers
Aveda Stress-Fix Composition Oil is an aromatic product that can be used as a body oil, scalp oil, or bath additive. The multiuse product blends certified organic lavender, lavandin, and clary sage scents into its formula. The composition’s jojoba and sunflower oils also moisturize and work as antioxidants.
A perk of this Aveda oil is its ability to multitask, making it more than just a one-trick pony of a present. It can be used from head to toe, acting as a pre-shampoo scalp massage oil or a nourishing foot rub for calloused feet. The Aveda website also suggests adding a few drops of oil into the bathtub for a full-body soak.
Everyone experiences stress, but persistent stress can have long-term consequences on your overall health. Stress can cause emotional and physical symptoms like headaches, acne, digestive issues, low libido, tense muscles, low energy, and changes in appetite.
When stress persists, it can have detrimental effects. Long-term stress can cause:
- mental health conditions, like depression and anxiety
- gastrointestinal issues, including gastroesophageal reflux disease and gastritis
- heart disease and increased risk of heart attacks
- high blood pressure
- increased risk of stroke
- a lowered immune system
- an impact on fertility
Managing your stress levels can help improve your quality of life.
Everyone encounters stress in their lives. Work priorities, family, health, financial stability, and current events can all play into major stressors. Honestly, just the act of gift-giving can be stressful!
Stress-reducing habits and activities can transform a person’s day and bring relief. Bringing a little relief into a friend or family member’s life with a thoughtful present can be an impactful and memorable way to show you care.
Jillian Goltzman is a freelance journalist covering culture, social impact, wellness, and lifestyle. She’s been published in various outlets, including Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and Fodor’s Travel Guide. In addition to writing, Jillian is a public speaker who loves discussing the power of social media — something she spends too much time on. She enjoys reading, her houseplants, and cuddling with her corgi. Find her work on her website, blog, Twitter, and Instagram.