Friday, December 4, 2015

Gifts that Aid in Healing

With the holidays just a few weeks away, do you have someone on your list that is affected by a chronic condition or other type of illness or injury? This post is different from Unique Gifts for Hospital Patients as it focuses on presents that can aid in healing.

Keep in mind that many people are allergic or sensitive to smells and lotions. Therefore, avoid these types of gifts unless you know what the person uses. Check products out using the EWG’s Cosmetics Database to learn how safe and healthy products actually are versus how they are advertised. In general, avoid scented items. Lots of companies sell “healing baskets” that are filled with lotions and aromatherapy products that basically go unused.

Below are a variety of ideas, at various price points, including presents you can make yourself.

Anything that helps them de stress/relax
-       • Nature Sound machine. These come with many different sounds and price ranges. Some people find listening to rain or lapping waves a great way to relax or sleep.

-       • Massage: There are many ways to give the gift of massage including a gift certificate for one.
        Depending on what you can afford to spend, consider various types of massage tools- foot, scalp chair      or seat cushion massager; self massaging stick; stones; oils;  
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       • Inversion table
-      •  Relaxing recliner chairs-These come in a variety of price points including ones that fold up.
-      • Cocoon Chair
-      • Items for a relaxation bath such as a lush towel, bathrobe, an LED candle that is unscented. 

-      • Basket of different types of teas. Include a mug, infuser and other items associated with tea drinking.
-      • Journal/notebook and special pen(s)
-      • Gift certificate to a spa day, pedicure, manicure and/or hair salon
-      • Foot spa
-      • DIY projects such as making a Water feature, Zen garden or calming glitter jar 
-      • Items for a meditation/quiet space and/or items to create a healing space-e.g. candles, DVDs of relaxing music, plants, sitting pillows
-      • “Comfy” items such as throws, slippers, PJs , nightgowns, yoga pants etc.
-      •  Eye pillow or neck pillow
-      • Wind chimes
-      •  Mandala coloring book
-      • Spinner Ring-These were designed for hyperactive children, but can have the same calming effect for adults who are stressed. 
-      •  Plants: Consider indoor as well as outdoor plants, decorative as well as edible. Indoor herb gardens can spark up many a meal, so putting a few herb plants (sage, rosemary, mint, basil etc.) into a planter can be both pleasing to the eye and to the palate.
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     Finances are often a major issue that people with chronic conditions stress about, so paying off a fuel bill, gift cards for the grocery store and pharmacy, making a monthly car payment etc. are a good way to help. If they have children, consider starting a college fund for them. Check out In Lieu of Flowers: Financial Help Please!  for lots of tips.

 “To do’s” that aren’t getting done can be a major source of stress for people. Whether you give the gift of your time, or pay someone to paint a room, re tile a back splash or whatever needs to be done, will be appreciated. Be aware of your abilities and time constraints and don’t “bite off more than you can chew.”  It’s best if you are giving the gift of your time to give them a choice of several dates when you can do the work.

 Items that can help improve sleep: This can include everything from volunteering to babysit kids for a night or a weekend so they can catch up on sleep, or purchasing them a special pillow or bedding. If money is no object, the right mattress can help.
-       • Lark in the Dark or Jawbone Up: Think of these as the Fitbit for sleeping as it tracks how you sleep.
-       • Sound machine: The plus here is that it drowns out intermittent noise, such as a dripping faucet, to allow for better sleep.
-      •  Check out the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep Alternatives 

Laughter is the best medicine, so books, movies, toys, posters trip to a comedy club or a “laughter yoga” class make terrific gifts.

Food is critical tool for healing so this is a good time to provide a meal or a gift basket of healing foods, such as fruit, veggies, nuts etc. Also consider giving them a share in a local CSA (community sustained agriculture)

Help to combat loneliness and encourage social connectivity
-       • Create experience gifts: Activities that you will do with them-dinner and a movie; visit to a local museum; picnic and a hike. Keep activities and dates fluid.
-       • Gym membership for a month
-       • Weekend at a retreat center, such as Kripalu 
-      •  Enroll them in a workshop or class on a topic that would be of interest to them


Exercise helps on multiple levels so consider a gym membership for a month or even exercise equipment. Check websites like Freecyle or eBay before purchasing new equipment. Fibits may also be appropriate for some people. Keep in mind that Tai Chi, Yoga and Qigong are not only exercise but contribute to healing, so a gift certificate for such classes is definitely a good option. And then there are the things that encourage exercise-water bottle, DVDs, and various types of gear.

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