tessa forrest mindfulness mental health gifts

Mindful Gift Ideas To Support Your Friend’s Mental Health

Show me someone who hasn’t deal with a little bit of anxiety this year and I will show you a liar. Even with all of the community and self-care networks, professional mental health help and mindfulness apps we could muster, this year has been rough. Whether it was facing down job loss and the struggle of finding work, worsening climate anxiety amidst the bushfires, or the collective awakening to the reality of structural racism during the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement—this year has thrown a lot at us. Something we thought might be very appropriate as we approach the holidays? If you or the people around you have had A Time, consider the below mindful gifts or making them something that supports their mental health.

Whether someone has dealt with mental health issues like depression and anxiety for a while or are just trying to take better care of their head, these are the mindful gifts we think nearly any brain will benefit from.

Mindful gifts ideas to support someone’s mental health journey

A mental-health positive pottery kit

We’ve sung the praises and interviewed the founders of Crockd before, and we’ll do it again. This pottery kit has everything you need to start making some fun shapes and is designed to foster open and real conversations about mental health. No phones, no alcohol, no pressure—just two mates getting out of their own heads and chatting about important internal stuff.

The Original Crockd Kit, $80 from Crockd.

A weighted blanket

A gift we think would be ideal for anyone but especially people dealing with conditions like autism, ADHD, insomnia and anxiety is a weighted blanket. Richie Simon, Director of Cuddle Buddy (the makers of our favourite weighted blanket) explains that a weighted blanket’s “deep-pressure touch on the body stimulates the release of serotonin and dopamine, two brain chemicals that positively affect mood by creating a sense of calm and relaxation.”

In high anxiety moments having the Cuddle Buddy Weighted Blanket around has been invaluable, especially when we’re alone and can’t get either reassurance or a good old talking down from a friend. “Cuddle Buddy’s Weighted Blanket is designed to simulate a comforting hug, enhancing oxytocin by providing warmth, security, and ultimately making you feel at ease,” explains Simon. He’s right and we are extremely here for it. Btw, the cover is removable if you’re getting a little warm around this time of year.

Weighted Blanket, starting at $129.95 from Cuddle Buddy.

Yoga or pilates subscriptions

Okay, as advocates of body positivity and body neutrality, let’s say one thing straight the bat. This is not about losing weight or insinuating anyone should feel the need to change their body. What we would say though is that mindfully moving one’s body has a host of proven mental health benefits. Stretching feels good and if you’re just chucking on a nice YouTube tutorial or following moves you’ve learnt in the past, it’s entirely free! A cute way to deliver this gift might be booking a gentle yoga class for yourself and your friend, but if that’s a little daunting we’d highly recommend an online membership or subscription.

Two online offerings we think are really high quality and offer a variety of intensity levels are Alo Moves and The Spring Collective. Alo Moves is primarily yoga focused, though they also have pilates and HIIT style workouts. I’ve (virtually) discovered some of my favourite yoga teachers via their videos, which are clear, well-shot and, unlike YouTube, blessedly ad-free. The Spring Collective, a beautiful boutique pilates studio in Seaforth offers virtual classes through their TSCOnDemand platform. The classes are designed to fit as much or as little time as you might have and can be done with the most minimal of gear. Just bring yourself and a mat—and maybe a couple of exercise blocks!

Alo Moves subscription, approx $26.75 AUD per month from Alo Moves. TSCOnDemand subscription, $19.95 per month from The Spring Collective.

Guided journals

Over and over we’re told about the mental health benefits of journaling. To be honest, it’s an excellent exercise if only for the fact it gets us away from our phones for a few minutes. While some guides journals can feel a little bit too ‘Live Laugh Love’ and cutesy for us, we are quite into the Do It For Yourself guided journal from Kara Cutruzzula and Tessa Forrest (who you might recognise from her design Instagram @subliming.jpg). The journal is “designed to help reorient your outlook, overcome roadblocks, and encourage mindfulness, with powerful typographic quotes to inspire you.”

Do It For Yourself, approx. $21.40 AUD from Abrams Books.

Fidget spinners or slinkies

mindful gift

Say what you will about fidget spinners and their feverish popularity a few years ago, these things are useful. Whether your friend has TikTok-diagnosed ADHD or is simply a restless person, small trinkets like fidget spinners and slinkies are inobtrusive ways to keep hands occupied. They’re an excellent old school mindful gift for someone’s mental health, and also just very fun.

Slinky Collectors Edition, $15.99 from eBay.

Lead image via Instagram @subliming.jpg.

Monisha Rudhran (@monishamay) is a writer and chronic Pisces. Formerly at Syrup, she's now a Digital Content Producer at ELLE and marie claire Australia. She’s into trying to be a better person and sparkling water.