Who couldn’t use a little bit of a break during the hectic holiday season? Taking time to reset and recharge, even if it’s just for a small amount of time, can have major effects on our well-being, from lowering anxiety to improving physical health. So no shame if you pick out one or two of the items on this list for yourself while you’re technically supposed to be shopping for others. We won’t tell.
One study found that looking at a picture of a loved one can reduce physical pain and stress. Thankfully, Framebridge takes the stress out of framing by fitting your favorite photos in a sophisticated custom frame and shipping them to you, making your gallery wall a snap to create. From $39, framebridge.com
The calming benefits of yoga have been touted for centuries, and some studies suggest that yoga practices can reduce perceived stress and anxiety. This lightweight Yoga Design Lab Travel mat is made from recycled water bottles, which means that your giftees can feel doubly great about helping out the planet while they flow. $49, yogadesignlab.com
Take the adult coloring book trend, which has been said to lower anxiety, to the next level with Kid Made Modern Rock Crayons. The set of 12 smooth, rock-like crayons adds an appealing pop of color to decor when displayed in a dish. And they create unique color combinations that both kids and adults will love experimenting with. $13, kidmademodern.com
Surya Spa’s Ayurvedic Pitta Cooling Soak, made with rose petals and neem leaves, sounds a little woo-woo, but a new Japanese study suggests that baths are more de-stressing than showers, and that submerging yourself underwater can also increase blood flow and metabolism. $35, suryagoods.com
Experts say that that songs with a low pitch and 60 beats per minute, the ideal tempo for synching with your heart and brainwaves, are the most relaxing. Help your giftees cue up their tunes in a bath, at the pool — anywhere — with Ultimate Ears’ Wonderboom waterproof wireless Bluetooth speakers, which float in water and play music clearly even when submerged. $50, amazon.com
Studies show that just anticipating a laugh can lower your stress hormones. The Last Black Unicorn, written by actress and comedian Tiffany Hadish, is chock full of funny stories and personal essays that’ll make your giftee belly-laugh again and again. $15, amazon.com
Your home should be a sanctuary, but a study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that women who described their homes as cluttered felt more fatigued and stressed. An easy fix? Throw all the small items on top of the dresser into one stylish box, like this NowHouse by Jonathan Adler stoneware Wink box, which doubles as decor. $30, amazon.com
Much has been written about the soothing, centering effects of meditation. Help giftees tap into those benefits with a Headspace subscription. It’s research-proven (with 65 more studies in the works) to deliver feel-good benefits, which can range from reduced stress to increased focus. $13 per month, headspace.com
Taking time to get a manicure can add a serious sense of calm to your day (for one thing, you’re forced to unplug because your hands are otherwise occupied.) Plus, research shows that even a five-minute hand massage can decrease anxiety. On top of that, Sundays Nail Studio created their own polish collection that’s nontoxic, cruelty-free, and vegan. Classic manicure, $25; polishes, $18 each, dearsundays.com
Getting a scalp massage has been shown to reduce stress, and the The Ultimate Detangler brush from Tangle Teezer, which has won almost every beauty award out there, is a lovely way to give a scalp a good rub while you’re shampooing (it’s made for use in the shower) of after. $14, ulta.com
Inspirational posters are so ‘90s. Instead, give the gift of a morning mind-clearing session with an enamelware mug that displays an intention that Benjamin Franklin would ask himself in the mornings to help develop his character: “What good shall I do this day?” And don't forget its companion: an evening edition that asks, “What good have I done today?” $24, bestmadeco.com
Plus: Check out our other Gifts to Thrive By guides:
While all of these items were independently chosen by editors of Thrive Global, Thrive may earn a commission on purchases through these links.