The holidays aren’t always ‘cheerful and bright’ for everyone. The Christmas Season can be a stressful time, and for some such as myself, it can mean grieving for loved ones that they have lost. My sister died Thanksgiving weekend when I was nineteen. My grandmother Violet died Thanksgiving weekend last year (2018). Therefore the holidays, at times, are a time of stress and sadness. This is true for many people. I decided to develop my top 10 favorite holiday wellness gifts to help myself and others stress less this holiday season.
1. Give the Gift of Yoga
Provide someone special with the natural stress relief of a Yoga gift card! Yoga has many physical health benefits including: increased flexibility, increased muscle strength and tone, improved respiration, energy and vitality, maintaining a balanced metabolism, weight reduction, cardio and circulatory health, improved athletic performance and protection from injury (American Osteopathic Association, 2019). Yoga not only improves physical health, but mental health as well. Research has shown that yoga decreases cortisol levels (stress hormone). People can experience lower levels of stress/fatigue/anxiety/depression. Additionally, those who practice yoga have noted improvement in their quality of life and mental health (Link, 2017). The Yoga Zen in Caledonia sells Yoga Gift Cards in Caledonia. They offer a variety of classes and massage services as well. Twisted Hot Yoga in Caledonia offers a variety of holiday gift packages and gift cards including my favorite, 30 days for $30!
2. Mindfulness Cards
Simple Practices for Every Day Life by Rohan Gunatillake (Author)
Mindfulness has also been proven to relieve stress. The American Psychological Association lists numerous proven benefits of mindfulness including stress reduction, improved working memory, improved focus, decreased emotional reactivity, and improved relationship satisfaction among many benefits (Davis & Hayes, 2012). You can get these cards on Amazon for $15! These cards contain 50+ mindfulness exercises and inspirations for every day. There are even mindfulness cards for kids and teens: Mindful Games Activity Cards: 55 Fun Ways to Share Mindfulness with Kids and Teens (buy on amazon) by Susan Kaiser Greenland and Annaka Harris
3. Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets are therapeutic between 5 to 30 pounds (Sampson, 2019). The pressure mimics a therapeutic technique called deep pressure stimulation (Sampson, 2019). Deep pressure stimulation is a technique that uses hands-on pressure to relax the nervous system. This may relieve pain, lessen anxiety, and improve mood (Sampson, 2019).
TIPS FOR CHOOSING THE CORRECT WEIGHT
A weighted blanket should be 5 to 10 percent of your body weight (Sampson, 2019). Adults can use medium-large weighted blankets ranging from 12 to 30 pounds (Sampson, 2019).
For a 20- to 70-pound child, a small weighted blanket should weigh from 3 to 8 pounds.
For a 30- to 130-pound child, a medium weighted blanket should weigh from 5 to 15 pounds (Sampson, 2019).
Older adults may want to use small or medium weighted blankets ranging from 5 to 8 pounds (Sampson, 2019).
**Weighted blankets are not recommended for infants or small children****
Where you can find one? Find it on Amazon ranging from $40 to $150 dollars.
4. Adult Coloring Books or a Good Book
According to the American Art Therapy Association, art in itself, is a therapeutic process. Making and creating artwork can be used as a vehicle to “explore feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety and increase self-esteem” (Fitzpatrick, 2017). Adult coloring books can be a means to improve your mental health! My personal favorite adult coloring book: Harry Potter! Adult coloring books can range from $7 to 15 dollars and are sure to be a relaxing gift for all ages! You can also give the gift of a good book. Currently I am reading The Handmaid’s Tale. I don’t get enough time to read and would love to have a list of more good books to read. Do you have a good book you are reading? Leave me the name of the good book you are reading on this blog post and I will share the list with my patients (and read a few good books myself)!
5. Gratitude Journal
Believe it or not, there are many health benefits that a gratitude journal can provide for people. Amy Morin LCSW (2015) wrote an article for Psychology Today listing the health benefits of gratitude as being: Improved empathy, decreased aggression, improved sleep, increased happiness, reduced depression, improved self-esteem and more!
Here is a good example of a gratitude journal that you could give as a gift on Amazon for $16.
Wishing you a very merry, healthy, and well Christmas and Holiday Season. Hopefully these ideas will make a great stress relieving gift for someone you love!
Davis, D.M. & Hayes, J.A. (2012). What are the benefits of mindfulness? Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/07-08/ce-corner
Fitzpatrick, K. (2017). Why adult coloring books are good for you. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2016/01/06/health/adult-coloring-books-popularity-mental-health/index.html
Link, R. (2017). Thirteen benefits of yoga that are supported by science. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/13-benefits-of-yoga
Morin, A. (2015). Seven scientifically proven benefits of gratitude. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201504/7-scientifically-proven-benefits-gratitude
Sampson, S. (2019). Weighted blankets: Do they work? Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety/do-weighted-blankets-work
The Benefits of Yoga (2019). Retrieved from https://osteopathic.org/what-is-osteopathic-medicine/benefits-of-yoga/