Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of the year (duh), but it can be a struggle for people who suffer with their mental health. If you’ve got a pal who fits that description and want to put a smile on their face this Christmas, here are some gifts that I (as a fellow anxiety sufferer) think they’d love.
1. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
The incredibly witty and insightful Jenny is now one of my favourite bloggers, but before I knew her online, I found her through this book. And yes – I totally did judge it by its cover. That raccoon belonged on my shelf. Anyway, this brilliant book shares insights into Jenny’s experience of anxiety, amazing outlook on life and tidbits of her hilarious past – a great combination that certainly made me feel as though I’d found a kindred spirit. (Oh – and you can check out her blog here.)
2. We Are Never Meeting In Real Life by Samantha Irby
Much the same as above, I knew Samantha as an author before I knew about her blog, bitches gotta eat. And I actually think I found her through an Amazon recommendation after buying Jenny’s book. Regardless, Irby’s collection of autobiographical essays are at once funny and heartening and, at points, deeply relatable to the anxious reader – again, another great buy that gave me someone to relate to.
3. A colouring book!
Yeah, yeah. You’ve heard this before. I know. But I’m adding it to my list anyway, for the disbelievers. For the people who think that, while colouring books might be cool for most people, it’s totally not their style. I used to be one such disbeliever – until I combined colouring with sipping syrupy coffees in front of my favourite programmes.
When I’m trying to come down from an anxiety high, doing just one thing – like watching TV, playing a video game or reading – often isn’t enough to distract me from the cacophony in my head. However, combining two things – namely, listening to one of my favourite shows while using my hands to colour in detailed sketches – does just the trick. It’s totally immersive, as all of your senses are occupied (except for taste, unless you throw eating cake into the mix, which I’d totally recommend). You actually feel a great sense of accomplishment once you’ve finished a colouring, too. Plus, now you can get colouring books that range in topic from Lord of the Rings to memes, so really, there’s one for everyone. Try it.
4. Pretty much anything by The Happy Newspaper
Created by the human embodiment of sunshine, Emily Coxhead, The Happy Newspaper essentially relays happy, great news around the world, complete with doodles that’ll make your heart melt. Subscribe to it on behalf of a pal to get an amazing dose of good vibes delivered to their door in 2019, or check out their amazing merch (of which there’s plenty). Whichever route you go down, this gift is bound to make them grin like this GIF of the Grinch.
5. A jar of lovely thoughts
Got lots of nice things you’d like to say to your friend? Cut up some coloured cardboard and scribble each thing down on a separate piece. Then, pop them in a cute jar. Voila! Every time your friend feels sad, the jar will remind them that they’re not alone.
6. You Can Do All Things by Kate Allan
I haven’t personally read this yet, but I’ve followed Kate’s art for a while, and it’s absolutely lovely. She specialises in drawing adorable animals next to heartwarming, life-affirming quotes, so if her Twitter and Instagram feeds are anything to go by, this book will be the best. (She’s also got a daily newsletter which I heartily recommend subscribing to, if you’d like words of encouragement delivered to your inbox every morning).
7. A kit with which to exercise their creative muscles
As discussed in a previous blog post by Amy, creativity can actually be a brilliant form of self-care, and we’d both encourage anyone with anxiety to practice something arty every once in a while. Not only will your creative projects help you to use your brain resourcefully, you might even uncover a talent you didn’t know you had. Grab your pal some knitting supplies, a baking set, book on calligraphy or other to get them started.
Any recommendations of you own? Feel free to share them in the comments below!