Sometimes finding the right gift for everyone on your list means considering the needs of someone who has a mental health condition. At this time of year, being intentional about doing nice things for those you love can be especially important. For those who live with a mental health condition like depression, a little extra kindness during the holiday season is essential. In fact, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has reported that 64% of people with mental health disorders experience a worsening of mental health symptoms during the holidays. If someone on your list experiences depression, choosing a gift that shows concern for their needs is a kind way to offer support, and it might just boost their mood this holiday season. Below is a list of 10 gifts for people who live with depression.
A Weighted Blanket
For someone with depression, a weighted blanket can make a world of difference. Research has shown that these blankets improve symptoms of insomnia in people with mental health conditions, and people who use them experience fewer depression symptoms during the day. A weighted blanket can help your loved one to get a better night of sleep, which can boost their daily mood. There are a variety of weighted blankets available at Internet retailers, in various price ranges.
Journaling is often used in gratitude interventions, which ask people to focus on the positive. For example, a gratitude program may ask people to journal about three positive things that happen to them over the course of a week. It turns out that this can be an effective method for alleviating depression, as studies have found that gratitude reduces depression symptoms by helping people to positively reframe their thoughts. A quality journal in a print that your loved one will enjoy can help them to get started with writing about positive experiences. Some journals are specifically marketed as self-care or gratitude journals, which could be a good fit.
The Gift of Your Time
Sometimes the best gift isn’t a material item, but something intangible, like several hours of your time. Living with depression often means losing interest in usual activities, such as time with family and friends or time spent on hobbies. This means your loved one may have a difficult time leaving the house, or even getting things done around the house. Offer several hours of your time to help with cleaning, or plan an afternoon outing together. You might offer to take your loved one Christmas shopping and then out to lunch.
Food Delivery Gift Cards
If depression makes it difficult to complete daily tasks, such as shopping for groceries, your loved one will appreciate a gift card for a food delivery service like Instacart. With this service, you can simply order groceries from home and have them delivered to your doorstep. This simplifies food shopping and gives your friend or family member one less thing to worry about throughout the week.
Essential Oil Diffuser
Essential oils have been identified as potentially helpful as an alternative treatment for mental health conditions, including depression. One recent study found that lavender and lemon balm essential oil were equally effective to the antidepressant medication fluoxetine for relieving mild to moderate depression symptoms. A diffuser paired with one of these oils makes a thoughtful gift for someone with depression.
Apparel Advocating for Mental Health Equity
Today, mental health activists are making a real effort to fight against the stigma surrounding mental illness. One method of reducing the impact of discrimination and affirming the needs of those with mental health conditions is using clothing as a way to communicate positive messages about mental wellness. For example, the Happiness Project sells apparel with affirming messages, and 15% of net proceeds go toward suicide prevention efforts. Your loved one is likely to appreciate a gift that supports this type of cause.
Adult Coloring Books
Some people swear by the benefits of adult coloring books, and it’s for a good reason. A study in the Creativity Research Journal found that one week of using an adult coloring book significantly reduced symptoms of depression. For the artsy type in your life, an adult coloring book can be an excellent mood booster, and it’s an affordable, easy-to-use self-help tool.
Depression can interfere with a good night of sleep, so your loved one who struggles with depression will appreciate gifts that help them to get quality shut-eye. Aside from weighted blankets, there are numerous gifts on the market that can contribute to a better night of sleep, including pillow mist, white noise machines, silk eye masks, and soothing bath salt blends. Pick one of the items on this list, or put together a gift basket.
Massage has been identified as an effective tool for reducing symptoms of depression. A gift card to a local massage clinic can be a thoughtful gift for someone who lives with depression, especially since the condition is linked to somatic symptoms like pain. Alternatively, you could consider an at-home massage tool, like a massage chair or neck massager.
Give the Gift of TMS
In some cases, knowledge may be the best gift you can offer to someone who has depression, especially if you know they have been struggling to find quality treatment. If someone in your life just hasn’t been able to get the help they need to alleviate depression symptoms, you might consider telling them about the benefits of TMS. This non-invasive treatment modality is effective for treatment-resistant depression, and it uses a small device placed on the head to stimulate areas of the brain responsible for mood regulation.
Pulse TMS offers this service for those in the Los Angeles area. Contact us today to learn more.