Holiday gift ideas for the people in your life with mental health conditions

It's the most...well...honestly, stressful time of the year. The days are growing colder and darker and busier. You may be struggling with seasonal depression. You may be stressed about the growing list of things you need to get done in December. And, nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the last thing you probably want to do is shop at a crowded mall.

To help check off one thing on your list, I've put together some gift ideas for those in your life who may struggle with a mental health condition, like anxiety, depression or ADHD. Or, ya know, if you want to buy a present for yourself! Everything on the list is $50 or less and can be purchased online. 

Weighted Blanket

Three years ago, my parents got me a weighted blanket for Christmas, and it's still one of my favorite presents I've ever received. Weighing down the body through the use of a weighted blanket while sleeping regulates the secretion of cortisol - a stress hormone that flares when you're anxious. 

Buy on Amazon

DoorDash or Grubhub giftcard

When I'm in a depressive state, I often feel too drained to cook for myself or even go pick up food. And so I either won't eat, or my dinner will consist of a can of Spaghetti O's or a bag of Doritos. If you know someone who's struggling, the gift of whatever food they want, delivered right to their doorstep, is just what they may need right now. 

Click here for DoorDash and here for Grubhub

Light Therapy Lamp

Seasonal Affective Disorder is caused by the reduction of sunlight during the fall and winter months, and it is estimated to affect 5% of Americans with another 10 to 20% having mild SAD. Light therapy boxes can be an effective way to treat SAD. With light therapy, you sit in front of a special light box, which mimics natural outdoor light, the first hour of waking each day. The light box should provide an exposure of 10,000 lux of light and emit as little UV light as possible. 

Buy on Moodozi

Fidget jewelry

Do you have someone in your life who's anxious —and likes jewelry (*cough* me *cough*cough*)? For me, when I'm anxious, I have the bad habit of biting my nails (yes, I know, not a good habit to have especially during COVID-19). Fidget spinners are so 2017, but fidget rings are the new thing — helping calm your anxiety and look good while doing it. Fidget rings are made of metal and have movable parts to give your hands something appropriate to do when you're feeling anxious. 

Buy on Impulse Modern

Five Minute Journal

Research shows that people who write in a daily positive journal report decreased mental distress and increased well-being, compared to those who do not. Margaux Joffe, founder of Kaleidoscope Society, an empowering community for women with ADHD, recommends the Five Minute Journal. 

She said, "It’s made a noticeable difference — I was more positive, present and felt more in control of my life. The Five Minute Journal is created with leading psychology research and features a simple one-page structured format including gratitude, prioritizing your day, daily affirmation and end of day reflection."

Buy on Urban Outfitters

Daily planner

With ADHD or anxiety, your spinning and distracted brain may make you forget about commitments and other daily to-dos. ADDitude Magazine recommends a planner with sections for goal setting, monthly productivity and hourly charts to help you manage your time.

Buy on  

Door mat reminder

Another perfect gift for your forgetful friend — a door mat that lists all the things you need to bring with you when you leave the house. With this door mat on Etsy, you can personalize the things you need to remember each day, like keys, wallet, phone, glasses, pills, etc.

Buy on Etsy 


We all know that going out into nature is beneficial for both your mental and physical health. But, with temperatures dipping lower and lower, that's easier said than done. So, bring the outdoors inside for your depressed and anxious friends with the gift of plants. Hello Magazine recommends the following plants for best combatting depression and stress: Peace lily, aloe vera, snake plant, lavender, rosemary, jasmine, English ivy, and chrysanthemum.

Buy at Home Depot

Timer cap for medication bottle

There's been many times where I couldn't remember, "Did I take my anxiety medication today?" And, because I couldn't remember,  I've accidentally skipped my medication or took it twice in one day (and, shortly after accidentally taking two Xanax instead of one, I started feeling a little bit too mellow for a work day).  A timer cap is a useful gift that shows when you last opened the bottle so you can remember if you took your prescription that day and to help you avoid a dosage mistake. 

Buy on

IQ Fit Game

ADDitude Magazine says the IQ Fit Game is "challenging enough to keep even the most distracted ADHD brain engaged." It's small enough to travel with and includes 120 brain teasing challenges from easy to expert.

Buy on Amazon

Stress relief lotion 

Have you seen the movie "Superstar," where Molly Shannon's character deeply inhales the scent of her fingers? Well, that's what I look like after I put eucalyptus scented lotion on my hands. I have the bottle on my desk and often, when I get stressed at work, I will breathe in the scent —and it actually does wonders to help with my anxiety (yes, I do work from home so nobody is witnessing this private ritual). The scent also comes as a body wash, candle and oil.

Buy at Bath & Body Works

Bath bombs/bubble baths

My favorite thing to do when I'm feeling anxious or depressed (well, second, after sleeping) is taking a bath. Research shows that taking a hot bath twice a week produces a moderate to persistent improvement of mood for those with depression, as well as helping ease physical tension and relaxing anxious muscles. And bath bombs full of essential oils and swirling colors are the perfect gift for the anxiety ridden bath lover in your life. 

Buy on Lush

Handmade gift

Maybe it's a scrapbook of photos of you together or a painting you created or a scarf you knitted or a letter listing all the reasons you love this person, these are always the gifts that mean the most to me. When you are depressed or anxious, you often forget your own worth. And, when just one person makes you feel like you matter, it means the world. 

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