Stress Relief Goodies to Give and to Get

It’s been said, “You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give.”  While certainly a lovely sentiment, the act of gift-giving can be a bit anxiety-provoking – especially at this time of year.  If you feel more than a bit pressured to find t-h-e perfect gift for family and friends, you’re not alone.  The holidays are stressful for just about everyone – even those on your holiday list!  So why not relax and read on for some thoughtful gift ideas to calm the nerves of stressed out co-workers, service providers, friends, and loved ones (and possibly yourself).


stress ball   Two Words: Stress Ball. They provide one of the most simple, yet effective ways to relieve stress and make a great stocking stuffer to boot.  Here’s how they work…Every time we squeeze and release the stress ball, we relieve a little more of the tension from our muscles, until we enter a more relaxed state. They also give our minds something else to focus on (instead of whatever is causing the stress) and their bright colors and fun shapes give us something to smile about.  ($10.50 at


Go Green.  Give those on your list a selection of herbal teas to promote a sense of calm and relaxation.  While there are many types of tea which have been shown to have an anti-anxiety effect, studies have found that drinking five cups of green tea per day may reduce psychological distress by 20%!  (Note: peppermint, chamomile, and lavender teas can also relieve stress and there are also relaxation tea blends you can purchase which combine ingredients for an optimum calming effect.)  If the recipient of your gift is not a fan of hot beverages, you can always opt for a green tea body lotion or shower gel. ($22.00 at


perfSo scentsational!  Certain scents such as lavender, orange, jasmine and the like are known to promote greater relaxation, decrease stress and anxiety, and help to reduce insomnia.  (Who wouldn’t want that?)  While there is a wide variety of aromatherapy gifts and ‘delivery systems’ to choose from including essential oils, candles and diffusers, I love the organic quality of the Anthousa Home Fragrances.  Wooden sticks draw a fragrant liquid from antique-styled glass bottles into the air and it’s nothing short of heaven.  ($68 at


Time is on Your Side.  For the truly overwhelmed, nothing is more valuable than the gift of  time. With that in mind, consider a gift certifgifticate for a few hours of cleaning, cooking, errand running, baby-sitting etc. Whether you hire a professional or do it yourself, chances are it will be the gift that is most appreciated all season long.


samPlay it Again, Sam.  One of the easiest and deepest ways to relax is through music. It can make any task – getting ready in the morning, commuting, paying bills, exercising etc – more pleasant and stress-free.  Because music is a fairly personal choice, think about the type of music the recipient enjoys and go from there. Not sure? You can always try some oldies but goodies from Tony Bennett, Miles Davis, or Billie Holiday.  ($19.09 at CD Universe)


Remember sometimes the best gift that you can give others is to tell them that you do not want to exchange gifts (a.k.a ‘the gift of no gifts’).  Instead give each other the gift of a meeting for breakfast, lunch or a beverage after the holiday season is over.

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