It's the holidays and, SURPRISE! Everyone is stressed.
Be it the in-laws, end of year deadlines, travel, or all the shopping, this is a time of year that just makes us crazy. And as hard as it is suffering from burnout ourselves, it's even harder watching it in someone you care about.
There are two little words that can help: self-care! (The Oxford Dictionaries just declared “toxic” the word of the year, but they must not spend much time on Pinterest. The word of the year is clearly self-care).
Today's gift idea is for that special someone, your S.O.S., Stressed-Out Spouse (or Partner, or Bestie, or Sibling, or Other Significant Person who needs help). This self-care gift basket will help remind them to slow down and be good to themselves.
I've broken this gift basket concept down into four different elements that are important for centering: sleep, stress reduction, mindfulness, and me-time. The best thing about putting together your own gift basket is that you can scout your local shops for unique, handmade items and support those small businesses.
Boston locals, I purchased everything for this self-care gift basket at Cambridge Naturals in Porter Square, my favorite source for organic and natural products. And of course, I'm including online sources for the rest of you!
Ready to see how you can put together your own epic self-care gift basket for the holidays? Don't worry, I won't judge if you end up wanting to keep it all to yourself!
Keep reading for our tips to make the most relaxing gift ever!
How to Make an Epic Self-Care Gift Basket
DIY Bergamot Pillow Spray
This is my own recipe for a super soothing pillow spray that helped me survive a long bout of insomnia. I've used it every day since and it never fails to mellow me out. Have your loved one spritz it on their pillow and sheets before getting in bed (if it's also your bed, be uber romantic and do it for them!), and they will be drifting off to sleep with a smile.
- glass spray bottle
- bergamot essential oil – reduces nervous tension, promotes calm
- vetiver essential oil – grounds emotions, induces restful sleep
- vanilla extract (yes, the kind you bake with, it's MUCH cheaper than vanilla essential oil)
To make your own bergamot pillow spray:
1. Fill your spray bottle nearly to the top with water. (Distilled water will make the spray last longer, but if it's used in under six months, filtered tap water is fine).
2. Add 40 drops bergamot essential oil, 15 drops vetiver essential oil, and a small splash of vanilla extract. Close the bottle, shake well, and give it a spritz to test. Adjust essential oil amounts as desired.
Our bodies need darkness to sleep. Help that S.O.S. block out all the little electronic lights, street lamps, and other sleep-inhibitors with a comfortable eye mask.
Reducing stress is an essential aspect of good self-care. You can help by taking over some chores or errands so your S.O.S. can carve out some time to detox (even friends can benefit from an extra set of hands). And, these gift basket items will add a little chill to their lives.
It smells delicious AND it's got a great tongue-in-cheek name, what could be better? A relaxing soak is perfect to help ease stress and tension. This particular soak from Little Moon has a very “gender-neutral” scent (i.e., it doesn't smell like flowers). If your S.O.S. doesn't have a bathtub, it would make a great foot soak as well.
Want to make your own bath salt? Try The Merrythought's recipe:
This balm is so relaxing when rubbed onto the temples and insides of the wrists. I love applying it when I know my day is going to be particularly hectic.
Yes, a stress ball! Having a physical object to focus on is extremely helpful for calming nerves. Plus, your S.O.S. will have the strongest grip ever. A stone to keep in their pocket is another great alternative. You can even paint it with a mindful message.
3. Be Mindful
Speaking of being mindful, we all know that studies have proven that mindfulness is beneficial to our emotional and psychological health. Mindfulness effects our bodies too, by lowering blood pressure, relieving chronic pain, improving sleep, and more. I can't think of a better gift than that! Try some of these items to help your S.O.S. start a mindfulness practice.
Sitting down with an aromatherapy candle–with a wooden wick, please–is a great way to start being mindful. The scents engage your senses, and the wooden wick crackles, just like a campfire. Have you ever seen anyone not in the moment when there's a campfire around? Yeah, same effect.
2. Made Out of Stars: A Journal for Self-Realization, by Meera Lee Patel
A guided journal encourages mindfulness by asking you to reflect. I've been following Meera Lee Patel on Instagram, and just love her gentle messages of kindness towards oneself.
For a more minimal journaling approach, try The Five Minute Journal: A Happier You in 5 Minutes a Day, or a simple Moleskine Notebook, for the S.O.S. who already likes to journal.
You just can't have self-care without a little indulgence! To me, relaxing during the holidays (or anytime, let's be honest) is all about little luxuries. This whole self-care gift basket is already pretty luxurious, but I included a few special products to really up the “spa day” feeling.
FACIAL. STEAM. Just those words feel luxurious. Tell your S.O.S. to add this blend of herbs to a bowl of boiling water, and lean over it with a towel over their head. Instant extravagance. If your local natural foods store has a good bulk section, you can even create your own blend.
A totally scientific survey of my circle of friends has taught me that a good sugar scrub is universally delightful. Give one to your S.O.S. to help them scrub away toxins both physical and emotional.
Don't forget a soft, gentle cloth, like a Turkish towel, to make your S.O.S. really feel like they are in a fine spa. Plus, you can nestle all the gift items in the towel for presentation!
So what do you think of this DIY self-care gift basket idea? Do you have someone in your life who could use some extra “them” time? (Better question is probably, do you know anyone who doesn't?)
What else would you include to help make a meaningful self-care basket? Let us know in the comments!