Not everyone knows the right thing to say to someone going through a shit time. Sometimes there is nothing you can say, and sometimes just a little surprise to show you care can mean the world.
My best friend lives up the other end of the country and has been having a truly rotten time lately. Everything seems to be going wrong at the same time for her. She suffers, like me, from anxiety; so I thought I would send her something to cheer her up, but more importantly to help her relax.
I’m a ‘useful’ present giver. I don’t believe in giving people prezzies that aren’t useful in some way, so I sat down and had a think about the sorts of things she would like that would also do her good. And then I went shopping to see what I could find that would match.
This is what I ended up with:
To help her stay calm
I found this in TkMaxx. It’s chock full of essential oils and things that support anxiety and depression, soothe frayed nerves and reduce cortisol levels as well as looking gorgeous floating around in the tub.
I wrote a list of what all the ingredients did and tied it around the bottle with some string, so she could see what they were supposed to do. The product itself is extremely pungent – it’s certainly far too strong for my nose, but I have a super-sensitive sense of smell anyway, and I suggested she actually mixed this stuff in with regular epsom salts so she gets the benefits but not necessarily at full-whack. I think it also makes things look a little extra-special if you take the time to dress them up a bit and include handwritten notes.
An essential oil blend I made with bergamot, sweet orange oil, and grapefruit and a base of sweet almond oil which she should rub between her palms and inhale when she feels anxious.
They do sell these little dropper bottles on Amazon but I wanted to get this sent off to her as soon as possible and didn’t want to hang around for ages waiting for an Amazon delivery because I don’t have prime, and I also didn’t want 5 of them. My local independent pharmacy also sells them for about 60p each, so it’s worth checking in with a pharmacy first to see if you can get them there and support a local business.
A Kinder Surprise egg
Because who doesn’t love Kinder?
Lazy Day Tiffin Bites
I got these in Sainsburys. My friend is lactose intolerant (no reason why she can’t give the chocolate part of the kinder egg to someone else and keep the toy!) and these are vegan, free from wheat, dairy, gluten, eggs. Chocolate also contains magnesium which helps balance cortisol levels and de-stress you. Chocolate is also well known to increase your levels of serotonin which then increases your dopamine (aka your happy hormone).
Rosemary from my back garden
I love making packages that include dried/fresh flowers and herbs, especially ones that are useful as well as pretty. This is home grown rosemary that’s not been squirted with any sort of pesticide. I wrote a little label with instructions for making a natural DIY hair rinse that will leave her hair feeling super soft. Rosemary as an essential oil also helps to improve memory and reduce cortisol (stress hormone). I don’t know what effect fresh rosemary would have on this, but every little helps, right?
Some stickers of unicorns
Just because it’s something silly and sparkly and I knew it would make her smile and she could use them in her journal. I got these from the kids stationery section in Sainsburys.
I used the brand Montagne Jeunesse for years before I started making my own and trying to cut down on plastic. I did contemplate making her a handmade one but to be honest, the shelf life of DIY masks isn’t great and they ideally need to be stored in the fridge for the most part so I didn’t really want to stick something like that in the post. Montagne Jeunesse are a fairly decent brand, they don’t have a huge number of nasties in and are cruelty free with a leaping bunny logo on the back to prove it.
A Pack of kleenex
This might seem a bit of a strange one, but when people suffer a loss there is so much to organise that they forget to look after themselves properly – especially when they have a bunch of other things on their plate on top of it, and little every-day things get overlooked. Upset noses get very sore with constant snuffling and wiping, and even something as simple as a packet of super soft tissues to take to a funeral, instead of a rolled up wadge of toilet paper can help make a difficult day a tiny bit easier.
All that was left to do after that was to wrap it all up.
I use brown paper and string for all my gifts now because I think it looks lovely, and I really don’t see the point of having a roll of giftwrap for every occasion taking up space I don’t have. The string I use is just garden twine that is compostable, and the paper itself can either rot down or be recycled as it doesn’t contain any coating or polluting inks.
(the heavy air bags was just a running joke we had that I thought would be funny to include)
Something like this doesn’t cost very much to make, but it does make a huge difference to someone who is going through a crap time – to let them know that you’re thinking of them.