There are a lot of gift lists out there. Most are meant to help overwhelmed merrymakers check “holiday shopping” off their to-do lists. While their “great gift ideas” may be pretty and fun to open, they often become thingamabobs forgotten in a cabinet somewhere. Why? Because they simply are not needed. But surely, there must be gifts that are both fun and useful…
Behold! A list of gifts that are both enjoyable and supportive of healing pain. We made this with an eye toward regulating the nervous system, as chronic pain arises from a nervous system that has become hypervigilant and sensitized.
Whether you’re looking for a stocking stuffer or a more robust gift, we have ideas here that will be appreciated and used. Here, in no particular order, are the gifts:
Whether for taking a break during the day or resting in a restorative yoga posture, this eye pillow can take you to the next level of relaxation. It blocks the light and applies gentle pressure to the eyes so you can use it comfortably for longer periods of time.
How this helps pain: Whether they let you see it or not, your friend or family member experiencing pain knows what it is to be exhausted most of the time. Rest is essential for any kind of healing, and chronic pain is no exception. Less light is more conducive to resting, and many have attested that having a bit of weight on the eyes makes for even deeper rest. It’s hypothesized that gentle weight on the eyes stimulates the vagus nerve, which activates the body’s relaxation response.
Personalized coupon book, from $0
For those who like to give experiences or homemade gifts, this is for you! Especially if the recipient’s love language is Acts of Service or Quality Time, you can speak straight to their heart when you create your own coupons.
Fun experiences that can help change pain:
Ideas: spending time in nature, having a night off from putting the kids to bed, going to a sound bath
Ideas: watch a stand-up comedy special on Netflix, hold a living room dance party, create or appreciate the arts
promote supportive social connection.
Ideas: a coffee date, game night with friends, a conversation answering The 36 Questions That Lead to Love (not just for lovers!)
How this helps pain: These types of experiences help regulate the nervous system. Making them a regular part of life can help the nervous system become more adept at self-regulation. Not to mention that strengthening social bonds helps to counter feelings of isolation, a pervasive side effect of chronic pain.
We can hear your doubt from here: A book about the science of chronic pain and how it can change is fun??? Hear us out! This gift definitely leans more “useful” than “fun”, but it has been a game changer for so many people living with pain. It’s an easy read, and Alan Gordon somehow makes the topic of pain science interesting and entertaining.
How this helps pain: Understanding how pain works has been shown to make a positive difference in the pain experience, both in scientific studies, as well as anecdotally.
Subscription to Pain Care Collective, from $49
This online Pain Care Yoga studio offers gentle yoga classes that can be taken whenever the practitioner wants, in the comfort of their own home.Your loved one will be able to breathe easily knowing that these classes are taught by yoga therapists with training in yoga for pain, and all of the classes are designed with pain care in mind.
How this helps pain: Pain Care Yoga guides practitioners in becoming more in touch with the state of their nervous systems and teaches how they can use body-based practices to influence their nervous systems.
Rooted Earth Farm Yoga Mat Spray, from $8.99
There comes a point in every yoga practitioner’s life when they ask themselves, “Am I supposed to clean my yoga mat?” If your friend or family member with pain is a yogi, they will love this yoga mat spray. It is a completely natural product, made with just water, witch hazel, and essential oils, and adds a little luxury to the mundane task of cleaning a yoga mat. This would make a great stocking stuffer!
How this helps pain: This mat cleaner includes three essential oils; tea tree oil has antibacterial properties, eucalyptus is a known pain reliever, and lavender has a soothing effect on the nervous system.