Originally published on December 11, 2020
This Holiday Season, Give Mental Health with our Anxiety and Depression Holiday Gift Guide
The holidays are here and we don’t have a lot of shopping days left; many of us are scrambling to find presents last minute. That’s why I put together this quick, mental-health-inspired holiday gift guide.
While buying anyone a gift related to his or her mental health isn’t without potential risk or sensitivity, I still want to give folks options for their loved ones.
After all, some of my readers have relationships in which giving such gifts is normal, and others just really want to help someone they know, emotionally, this year. Whatever the case, this guide should help you grab that final gift for someone you’re trying to support around the holidays.
And though I’m sure we’d all rather unwrap gift cards to our favorite stores this winter, a present in the mental health realm can go so much further than a few fancy lattes; the right wellness gift for the right person can literally change his or her life.
Let’s face it — 2020 has been a very stressful year. A lot of us could use some relief in the anxiety and depression departments. The good news is, with this list, all of us can get some of that relief at an affordable price.
If you’re familiar with my content, then you’ll know I’m a writer. That’s why this 2020 anxiety and depression holiday gift guide consists solely of books. Yes, I know not everyone’s a voracious reader, but these days, with the rise of audiobooks, all of these titles are now more accessible than ever. Loved ones can buy them in print, load them onto eReaders, or download audio versions and listen to them while commuting to work or doing chores around the house.
Now, before we dive into the items on the list, I have just two quick things to mention. The first is that you can click any image of the books below to be linked out to their sales page on Amazon, where you can then easily / quickly purchase. The second is that these links are affiliate links, which means I make a small commission anytime you purchase through them.
So, with all of that out of the way, let’s finally jump into the list.
#1 – “Rewire Your Anxious Brain” by Catherine Pittman
“Rewire Your Anxious Brain” is a wonderful gift for your loved ones this holiday season because it takes a stigmatized subject (anxiety) and turns it into a straightforward and approachable one. The core concept of the book is that our minds and brains are malleable, and that, with the right thoughts and behaviors (which are all spelled out in the book), we can change the way they respond to stress and fear.
The book also does a great job of explaining where anxiety arises in the brain and how we can sometimes be anxious or fearful for no reason at all. This admission helps readers see that it’s okay to be anxious without quite knowing why. This allows us to break the cycle of fear and stop being “on edge” all the time, which, in turn, helps dial that anxiety back in a positive and cyclical fashion.
#2 – “Get Out of Your Head” by Brian Sachetta
Yes, I know that featuring your own book on a gift guide is a bit of a shameless plug, but I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t think it could help people.
In my book, “Get Out of Your Head,” I show readers ten simple, effective strategies for walking back acute, in-the-moment instances of anxiety. All of those strategies are straightforward and easy to implement, and they all stem from lessons I learned through battling anxiety in my own life.
Though everyone’s taste or preference in a mental health book is different, I try my best to be relatable, and I think that makes the book more digestible. I combine personal anecdotes and lessons learned with scientific studies and the latest, top research. I try very hard to make the writing approachable — as if you were talking with a good friend. For those reasons, I think your loved ones may find my book helpful this holiday season.
#3 – “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” by Lori Gottlieb
Gottlieb’s book was a mega-seller in 2019, so many folks may be familiar with this one already. Whether or not you’ve heard of it before, “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” is a super honest and deep look about emotional health and life itself, written by a psychotherapist chronicling her own journey through therapy.
I think readers will love this one is because it’s so authentic. Gottlieb discusses many of the fears we all have — failure, missing out on our dreams, death, etc — and that hooks readers from the get-go. The stories she tells, both those pertaining to her own life and to those of her clients, are interesting, heart-wrenching, and real.
The message, in the end, is one of hope and solidarity: we all struggle, and getting back on track can be extremely challenging, but it is achievable with the right amount of vulnerability and honesty. That vulnerability is something I think your loved ones will really enjoy about this book.
#4 – “Lost Connections” by Johann Hari
“Lost Connections” is mainly a book about overcoming depression. However, I think anyone who’s battled mental illness before can relate to this one. That’s because, in it, Hari spends so much time discussing the intricate details of our lives and how they contribute to our experiences of unhappiness and discontentment.
When we don’t like who we’re spending time with, when we’re living by the wrong values, and when we’re off track with our big goals in life, we’re going to be at very high risk of experiencing mental illness. Thus, in this one, Hari takes a deep look at how we can overcome depression by changing what we value and reconnecting to the lost parts of ourselves.
Why I think readers will love this one this holiday season is because it addresses the elephant in the room when it comes to mental health — when we aren’t where we want to be in our lives, no amount of medication will magically fix everything. We need to put ourselves back in the driver’s seat and make meaningful change. Sure, Hari suggests, medication can help us do that, but it’s not the only piece of the puzzle. That sort of authentic, soul-driving thinking is what makes this one so relatable.
#5 – “The Depression Cure” by Stephen Ilardi
There are thousands of depression-busting books out there, so what helps this one stand out? Specifically, author Stephen Ilardi leans heavily on evolutionary psychology, showing us that our fast-paced, modern lifestyles aren’t exactly helping when it comes to our mental health.
Our ancestors once moved their bodies frequently, ate plenty of nutrient-rich, whole foods, and spent countless hours socializing. In modern times, however, we’re often sedentary, overstuffed, malnourished, and isolated, and that combination can become a breeding ground for anxiety and depression.
Why I think readers will love this book this holiday season is because it brings forth a rather unique approach to depression. While many of us know that taking medication or thinking better thoughts can help alter our moods for the better, few of us realize just how important our day-to-day decisions (such as what foods to eat and whether or not to exercise) are when it comes to our mental well-being.
Wishing You Happy Holidays and Mental Wellness
So, that about rounds out my quick holiday gift guide this year. Though all the gifts on the list are books, that’s not to say books are the only things that can help when it comes to mental health. We can also give our loved ones herbal teas, subscriptions to meditation apps, and gym passes — but we’ll leave those items for another time and another blog post.
Here, I mainly wanted to put forth some good content that the people on your shopping list can leverage to better their mental health as winter rolls in. As we’re forced to spend even more time indoors thanks to the pandemic, this material will soon become more critical than it ever has been.
So, no matter what you decide to purchase this year, who you celebrate with, or where your holiday travels do or don’t take you, I wish you health, prosperity, happiness, and hope. 2020 was a very challenging year for many of us, but I have a feeling that things will turn themselves around in 2021.
With a few of the books on this anxiety and depression holiday gift guide, I think even more of us will be able to bring about a great 2021 for ourselves, regardless of the circumstances. Happy holidays to you and yours. And, oh yeah, let me know what you and your loved ones think about these books in the comments below.
Thanks for Reading! Curious to Learn More About Anxiety and Depression?
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