So, your other half or a special woman in your life is into mindfulness and meditation. What can you get her? her? If (like me) you’ve left Christmas shopping to the last minute, fear not, as you’re still in time to pick one or two presents from this fab list of gift ideas for women. (Oh, and to be fair, they work for men too!) And if you’re reading this after Christmas, you know there are plenty of other occasions, right?!
Spire Mindfulness and Activity Tracker
Available for iOS and Android, the Spire Mindfulness and Activity Tracker is, in a nutshell, a little device that measures your breathing. It detects any changes in your breathing which may indicate anxiety, tension, or stress. And it gently vibrates to alert you to these changes. The idea is that over time you become more self-aware and more in tune with your own body and its responses to any external factors or stressors, even. Every time you notice a change in your breathing patterns, you can stop and take a deep breath to re-focus and re-centre yourself.
And in case you’re wondering why on Earth you’d want to do that, there is (I promise) a very valid reason. Deep breathing is so powerful and effective at calming us down because it activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for our body’s natural relaxation response. For more information on how stress works, you can read this blog post.
But back to our device. How can it measure your breathing, exactly? It has to stay close to your body, so you can clip your tracker (also called ‘Spire stone’) onto your trousers, skirt, or bra. While it measures your breathing, it will also help you track steps and calories. If you download the app on your smartphone, you can then view your stats, and follow some simple, visual breathing exercises designed to help you relax and resume a more regular breathing pattern.
I’ve had my eyes on one for ages, honestly.
Ok, you’re probably wondering what this is. And I also have a feeling you may love or hate this one, but if you know someone who’s just starting out with mindfulness and meditation or has been having trouble falling asleep, a Dodow is definitely worth a try. The Dodow is a device with a light system that helps you to fall asleep naturally. Through a short exercise that lasts either 8 minutes or 20 minutes, it helps you fall asleep faster, and then it switches itself off. Dodow report that ‘60,000 people are already falling asleep with Dodow’ and ‘fall asleep or get back to sleep 2.5 times faster on average’.
So how does it work? The Dodow emits a soft, relaxing blue light towards the ceiling that helps you regulate your breathing. When the light gets larger you breathe in, and when the light gets smaller, you breathe out. Of course, you can easily do all this without the aid of a light-projecting device, or even by following an app or voice recording on your phone, for example. But if you find that none of those other methods really work for you, the Dodow might just be the thing you need.
You just tap on it, and the breathing exercise starts. At first, the pace follows a regular pattern. But as you get more and more into the exercise, the Dodow helps you slow your breathing down progressively. And if you’re not sure about how breathing can help you sleep, I’ve also published a thorough review of the book Breathe Better, Sleep Better, by Anandi, the Sleep Guru. You may find that useful (and perhaps another nice little gift for someone?) I agree this isn’t for everyone, but different things work for different people, and that’s the beauty of it! I know I’m definitely looking forward to trying one out!
Practical Guide to finding peace in a frantic world
If you’re buying for someone who’s into reading, why not get a book (or two?). The book Mindfulness: a Practical Guide to finding peace in a frantic world by Mark Williams is a very easy choice here, and it’s also the very first book I personally read about mindfulness. It’s perfect for beginners, and it introduces the readers to some simple practices that can be incorporated into your daily life.
In his book, author Mark Williams talks about Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), which has been clinically proven to be at least as effective as drugs for depression. MBCT simply helps anyone deal with the busyness of our modern lives. It helps you reduce anxiety, stress, and irritability whilst improving your creativity, focus, and productivity.
If you find reading guided meditation exercises not very effective, the book also comes with a CD or you can buy the audiobook instead. That way, you can literally relax, close your eyes if you wish to, and let the audio guide you through the meditations.
Mindfulness for Mothers
And while we’re talking about books, in my opinion, this book is a must-read for any mums with young children. I LOVED the book Mindfulness for Mothers by Rebecca Ryan. You may have heard me mention this before, as I’ve previously published a full review of this book. And deeply inspired by Rebecca’s work, I’ve also written a separate blog post with 5 mindfulness meditations that you can do in 5 minutes or under. The post is based on Rebecca’s book and shared with her permission and blessing!
If you’re in the UK, the book is only available on Kindle, but if you’re lucky enough to be in Australia, you can get your hands on a lovely paperback edition too.
Mindfulness rustic jar
If you’re looking for something a little cheaper (maybe a stocking filler?) this mindfulness rustic jar is full of daily mindful tasks and challenges. And in fact, you don’t have to get the jar at all. You also get an option to just purchase the cards inside. But you’ll agree that the jar makes for a nicer gift, don’t you think?
The idea behind these daily cards is that they act as a reminder and habit-builder. Practising mindfulness and meditation does give results, but only over time, and if you stick to it. And finding the time and developing the habit are by far the hardest parts of the process! So in this jar, you’ll find 31 postcard-sized folded cards. Each one has an activity on the front and an image on the back. The activities are simple tasks you can perform anywhere and at any time and are designed to enhance your mindfulness.
Stress Less cards
If you like the idea of cards as prompts and reminders to incorporate more mindfulness into your life, these Stress Less Cards look like a brilliant option. I’ve had my eyes on these for a while – subtle hint to anyone buying here!
So what do you get? A deck of 50 cards. Each card shows an effective exercise to help you relieve stress, relax and deal with any anxiety. While at first you’ll need to carry the cards with you, ideally you’ll eventually learn the exercises. And you’ll be able to ‘pull one out of the bag’ whenever you need to.
These cards are perfect for beginners. They give you access to some fantastic NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) techniques as well as mindfulness meditation exercises. In short, you get to learn how to focus on your breathing, observe your body, and awaken positive emotions through effective visualisations. With the deck being nice and compact, you literally get to keep a self-help tool in your back pocket (or handbag!) Pretty cool, right?
The Mindfulness Colouring Book
If you’re buying for someone who you think may enjoy colouring (and yes, I am talking about a grown-up here!), why not look into the Mindfulness Colouring Book – anti-stress art therapy for busy people by Emma Farrarons? I’ve not tried this particular one. But I’ve found colouring is a great, effective way to soothe anxiety and eliminate stress. Any mums with young children who have sat down to colour with them will tell you this!
This colouring book is pocket-sized (A5), and it will literally keep you busy (in a good way) for hours to come. It’s full of beautiful designs, so don’t be surprised if it grabs your children’s attention too. In fact, be prepared to ‘share’. And if you do, make sure you don’t get too hung up if the result is anything less than perfect!
Over to you now. Do you have any gift ideas you’d like to recommend? What do you think would make a great gift for that lady in your life who’s into mindfulness and meditation?
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