I am always in the market for some good gifts for relaxation. These days it may seem like it takes an act of Congress to get your Zen on. Between demands from others, social media blaring in your face, and news headlines that make you want to shove your head in the sand, it’s seriously a wonder that you’re still walking around without a suit made of bullet proof bubble wrap. It can be really difficult to make the “nagging” that is constantly repeating go away.
Over the years, I have accumulated a nice little toolbox of gifts for relaxation that I SWEAR by when I am in need of a soothing pick-me-up. I mean…these things have been life savers in helping me maintain my sense of peace and mental health even when things have gotten extremely challenging.
So without further ado, here we go.
**Disclaimer: There absolutely, positively, are affiliate links throughout this post.
My journal has been my saving grace for years, and this one is my FAVE. I am a huge elephant fan, so that might have something to do with it. Every single morning I write in it, non-stop, and just allow my brain spaghetti out. No interruptions, and not judgement. This is done totally Julia Cameron style, from her book The Artists Way. I wake up first thing in the morning, do my yogatation (yoga + meditation), and then I get to writing my 3 pages. It clears my mind. It allows me to get any “gunk” I have in my system out and onto the page. It allows me to make space for amazing ideas that want to come in. Since it’s a stream of consciousness, I don’t allow myself to sit and ponder. I just let it flow. It takes less than 10 minutes, and it’s a great habit to start.
The Sonno Zona Weighted Blanket was a game-changer for me. I had been toying around the with the idea of getting one of these for quite a bit when my wife finally surprised me with one for my birthday. Ever since that day, I began the practice of leaving work, excited to throw off my clothes and tuck myself in for a nap. This blanket and I, we have a relationship. When I am having a stressful day at work, I just think about how nice it will be to be swaddled up with it. One of the best perks is that it seems to regulate my temperature. If it made me breakfast, I’m pretty sure I would never leave the bed. My sleep is AMAZING. I honestly have never slept better. I got a twin sized one since…ya know…I share a bed and weighted blankets aren’t necessarily everybody’s thing.
3. My Rocks (Specifically, Hematite)
I know how this makes me sound. Kinda nutty, and maybe even pretty “woo”. I was introduced to the idea of using healing crystals for relaxation by my Nia trainer, Ann. I let her know that I was having the WORST trouble sleeping. That was when she suggested that I grab myself some hematite or blood stone. Back then I was totally new to this idea. It seemed sorta weird, but I guess I was willing to try anything since my sleep sucked so bad. I ended up scoring a hematite bracelet in a subscription box that had arrived in the mail, and I was hooked. I could not believe how much calmer I felt all because of this rock. Today, I must say…I’ve got a little problem. I can’t stop collecting ALL the rocks.
I will write another post all about healing crystals at another time. For now, what I will say is that for me, they work. I’m not saying they’re going to work for everybody. When I pick them up, they make me feel warm and fuzzy…especially hematite. It just seems to be my jam. If you think it may be your thang, go try it out. Take yourself to a crystal shop, start picking them up, and see what works for you.
Mmmk…I love my yoga, but I can’t stand slipping on my yoga mat. A few years ago I began a quest to find the perfect yoga mat. I checked out ALL of them. Even Manduka. By golly, I believe I found it! I wanted the padding, but I didn’t want the foam. I wanted a towel-like surface, yet yoga towels were too thin. I wanted it to be washable. I wanted it to be non-slip. Well, I have to say that it’s been about 4 years and I am STILL deeply in love with my Aurorae Synergy Yoga Mat. It is one of my favorite gifts for relaxation, and my favorite place to get my Zen on first thing in the morning…and even later on in the day.
This is one I only recently added to my list of favorite gifts for relaxation, but I LOVE them. I happen to sleep with a few very heavy sleepers in my room. My pup has no problem sawing logs…rather loudly. It doesn’t matter what I do…the little dude is like a little noisy lump. I, on the other hand, wake up to every little pin drop. I’ve always been a super light sleeper. The good thing about this is that I would be an excellent companion should the ninjas attack in the middle of the night. Thankfully, I have my amazing Kokoon Noise Cancelling Headphones to help me out these days.
These things are amazing. My wife and I have been comparing them to her Bose Quiet Comfort Noise Cancelling Headphones and there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference in quality. The thing with the Kokoon headphones is that not only do they have incredible sound and noise-cancelling functionality, the design is less bulky, allowing me to drift off to sleep with them on. I would like to use them throughout the night, but it’s going to take a little getting used to. I think that in time, they will become a life saver (especially on those nights when the Little Snoring Boy goes to town). In addition, these headphones come with a rather impressive Kokoon Relax App. So far I have been lulled to sleep with meditations intended to induce the Relaxation Response. Many of the tools in the app use CBT, so I have a feeling that this will quickly come in at a close second behind my blanket. Between the two of them, I’m afraid I may never leave the bed! You can find out more about how they work HERE.
6. Meditation and Expression
Ack! I know. It’s like every time you go to someone about relaxing they’re pushing this meditation thing on you. But hey…there are a few things you’ve got to know about this little “magic pill” of a solution. First, I will be writing a TON more about this, and perhaps maybe even offering some classes. Second, you need to know that meditation is not necessarily something you do sitting down, and there are some amazing gifts for relaxation out there these days that can help you master it. Some of the most influential meditators that I know of are people that prefer to meditate through movement. This could mean dancing, rolling around on the floor, doing art, and making music. The truth is, meditation is something that happens when you “join forces” with whatever you feel is much bigger than you, and you create something amazing. I happen to be one of the weird ones that likes sitting, so I do. I used a little app called Headspace to help me with that, along with some mindfulness training. But truthfully, it doesn’t matter HOW you do it. It’s just that you DO. Yet another AMAZING way to do this is by joining one of Tamara LaPorte’s Lifebook classes (or any one of her classes, for that matter since she’s AMAZING).
The point here is that you need to find something that takes you “home”…to your inner pilot light. Whatever will get you there IS meditation. Of course if you want to keep it super simple, you can always check out the Body Scan Meditation HERE.
That’s right. I’m not going to go into a ton of detail, but I really didn’t want to wrap this post up without mentioning one of my favorite gifts for relaxation on this planet…an incredibly powerful, waterproof massager. The fact is, your body is here to explore all sorts of things. This is part of what makes the world exciting. Without getting graphic, this thing does a GREAT job. I thought that when I purchased this it was going to be some sort of giant magic wand with a big cord you plug into the wall, circa 1980. It wasn’t. It was actually this adorable little wand that is smooth to the touch, has a handful of different speeds, and has this mysterious elusive charging port. It came with a fancy little bag so you can take it with you for…whenever. The best part: It hasn’t goes off in my luggage ONCE!
If you haven’t afforded yourself the luxury of getting yourself a little Battery Operated Non-Binary Friend, do yourself a favor and pick one up. Sexuality is a part of being human. It is part of keeping yourself healthy and stress-free, and this, my friend, is a great way to “bring it home”.