Chocolates and flowers for Mother’s Day are always nice. But what about gifts that nurture the mental health or self-care needs of the mom in your life?
Mothers put a lot of (physical and mental) energy into helping those around them. While I’m not a traditional mom myself (although I do have three fur babies!), I can imagine the role feels a little thankless or, umm… exhausting… at times.
With that in mind, here are some alternative ideas: mental health-conscious self-care gifts for moms this Mother’s Day (or for anytime, really).
Self-Care Gifts for Moms that Nurture Her Mental Health
When thinking about what to give the mom or mother figure in your life, consider where they are in life now. What emotions might they be feeling? What might they be struggling with? And where could a simple gift possibly help?
The following gifts are just examples of what might be helpful in a variety of situations.
#1 Pre-Scheduled or -Purchased Massage
According to WebMD, some studies show massage can help headaches, insomnia, anxiety, physical pain or muscle tension, and even digestive disorders. A massage can also help us feel more connected and comforted.
If it’s not something Mom would normal get for herself, why not treat her to a nice massage session at a spa near her? Look online for a gift certificate—and remind her to set aside this special time for herself. Tell her she deserves it.
Make it even easier by setting up the time for her. Tell her what you’re doing and find out when she can do it. She won’t even need to stress about the calling and scheduling part.
#2 Mindfulness on the Go Book + Cards
We can all use a little more mindfulness.
But there’s a common problem: The chaos of life can make it feel like there’s no time for it.
It’s the ultimate paradox. For our mental health, we need time to slow down and be more mindful. But if we’re already feeling anxious and overwhelmed, slowing down can feel like going backwards.
Time to start small. Give Mom this short and sweet book on mindfulness: Mindfulness on the Go. (I just bought this for myself and am loving it so far, which is why I’m recommending it.)
Plus, you can buy these accompanying cards for 52 different simple meditation practices you can do anywhere.
#3 Other Mental Health Books Like…
Does she struggle with anxiety, depression, or other mental concerns? While there’s no substitute for professional help, there are some great books out there that may help too.
Here are some I’ve read and recommend or have heard are good (and want to read myself!):
For anxiety or depression:
- Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy: I’ve read this and found it helpful for anxiety and mild depression. It uses cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help you recognize your thoughts and question and rewrite them into a healthier internal dialogue.
For social anxiety:
- The Solution to Social Anxiety: Break Free from the Shyness That Holds You Back: I read this a couple years ago and found the advice really helpful. It helps you challenge your inner dialogue and view thoughts about yourself—and about what others are thinking about you—in a healthier light. Some of the book is more directed at men, but I’m mentioning it here because I found it very helpful as a woman too.
For disordered eating or body image struggles:
- Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works: This book completely changed my life and freed me from a history of disordered eating—and I’ve heard other women say it’s done the same for them. For the mom who wants/needs help making peace with food or her body, this is the place to start.
And the new Intuitive Eating Workbook is a perfect complement to it.
For adult ADHD:
- Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most Out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder: The best book I know out there for adults with ADHD (or who suspect they have it). I’ve encountered many women online who discovered they have ADHD in adulthood and in motherhood. This is a great resource for moms with ADHD or even moms with ADHDers in her home.
If there are other resources you love beyond books, such as podcasts (like the Voices of Mental Health podcast), blogs, or YouTube channels (like this amazing one), share them too! Some people love books but others find bite-sized information online less overwhelming.
#4 Essential Oil Diffuser or Candle
There are a lot of claims out there about the “magic” of essential oils. Whether any of them are true or not, there’s something comforting about a nice-smelling home or workspace. It’s just a nice way to brighten the room without having to do much.
Choose oils or scents you think she’ll really like and find a pretty diffuser or candle that fits her personality.
#5 Meditation App Subscription
It’s hard to feel like you have enough time to stop and meditate. But doing so daily can have huge benefits for your mental health and wellbeing.
And actually, just a few minutes a day can help make life feel less overwhelming—removing that urgency to always be moving and doing something.
Gift Mom a subscription to a meditation app so she’s encouraged to give it a try. These two make it easy to get started:
- Stop, Breathe, and Think is my favorite (plus it still offers free meditations even if the subscription expires).
- Headspace is also very popular, and the narrator has a very soothing voice!
#6 Daily Journal and Pen
For some of us, journaling is a great form of release. I personally find writing helpful for letting go of built-up thoughts, worries, or frustrations I have trouble expressing.
If you feel writing might be good for the mom in your life, consider buying her a high-quality journal and a fancy pen to write with.
Maybe choose one with daily prompts, if you think they’ll help. (Or write a few inspirational muses yourself before giving it to her).
If she’s more into expressing herself online, signing her up for one of these online journals might be best.
#7 Homemade Gratitude Jar
Sometimes we just need reminders about what we’re thankful for in life. Make Mom a gratitude jar she can use for her own giving thanks and having daily reminders of what she loves.
#8 A Reminder to Breathe
Find a cute wall poster or wall art reminding her to slow down and live more in the moment (because who doesn’t need that, right?).
Here are some neat ideas I found on Etsy:
#9 Yoga Mat and Water Bottle
Just like meditation, yoga can be beneficial for mental health—including supporting a healthier body image and more mindful eating. For the mom who wants to be more of a yogi, a good yoga mat and stainless steel water bottle make great self-care gifts that last for a good while.
#10 Soft and Fluffy Throw Blanket or Weighted Blanket
Sometimes the simple pleasures are the best. Give her a comforting blanket to use in the evenings as she’s winding down.
#11 Hand-Written Note About Why You Love Her
We all need to hear that we’re loved and appreciated. Let her know how much you notice everything she does for you (and has done for you throughout the years) with a hand-written note from the heart. Give her encouragement and let her know you’re proud of her.
She’ll be able to keep it and look at it whenever she needs a reminder of how much she’s loved.
#12 Quality Conversation
I think most moms would say that simply having you around is the ultimate gift.
Block off a certain amount of time just for her—whether that’s in person (if possible) or over the phone or video chat.
Plan to listen without distractions, truly asking how she is, and listening more than talking. I think active, attentive listening is the best gift we can give each other.
#13 Planned Night In (or Out)
If you can see her in person for Mother’s Day, why not plan a whole day or night together?
Have that home-cooked meal together or order takeout and rent a movie. Or plan to go out for dinner and a movie or to a concert or other event around town you both enjoy.
#14 Home Cooked Meal or Baked Goods
If she’s spent a lot of time making food for others, flip it around and make something delicious for her. Bake her favorite cookies or make her favorite meal to savor together.
#15 Framed Photo of You Together
Choose a good picture of you together (and other family members, if you want!) and put it in a really nice frame.
If she’s having a bad or trying day (and even when it’s a good day!), she’ll have a constant reminder that an important person in her life loves and cares for her.
Mother’s Day (or any day of the year) is a great time to think about the moms or mom figures in your life and ways you can show them appreciation. Helping them care for their mental health is a great way to do that.
What ideas would you add to the list?