Giving gifts is fun, but many people don’t have the money to buy everyone close to them a gift this time of year. Here is a list of some free things that would make excellent presents for someone who struggles with symptoms of mental illness.
- A homemade meal. A pan of lasagna, a pot of soup, or a batch of chili (or one of their favorite dishes) is a perfect gift for someone with a mental illness. Who wouldn’t like to have a prepared meal ready for them to eat? There are times when cooking seems impossible to someone suffering from symptoms of depression, schizophrenia, or anxiety (This may be considered an insensitive gift if the person suffers from an eating disorder, but in most cases, it will be a welcome holiday treat).
- Make the person a small book of upbeat or motivational sayings. My husband made me a book like this (it has about 50 small pages) and I flip it open to a new message each morning. The message I flip to is what I try to focus my thoughts around. I keep it next to my computer and read the daily message many times throughout the day. It helps keep my mind focused on positive things.
- Give the person in your life a “no excuse necessary to cancel plans” card. It is kind of like a get out of jail free card (from the Monopoly game) for those of us who can be overcome by symptoms of social anxiety, depression or just the need to isolate.
- Give the person a business size card with the words, “Call me 24/7 if you ever need to talk.” It is often hard for people with a mental illness to reach out and ask for help. If the person in your life knows that you are available to them any time and that you really mean that, it can be one of the best gifts they receive.
- If the person on your list has kids, offer to babysit for them one night while they do whatever they want. If they don’t have kids, you can offer to go grocery shopping for them, drive them to their next doctor’s appointment, take a walk once a week with them, or set up a day to have coffee with them.
It isn’t hard to think of meaningful gifts that cost little to no money if you keep the person you are giving to and their possible limitations or needs in mind.
If you have a mental illness what free gifts would you like to receive this year? If you know someone with mental illness what do you think they would be the happiest with?
Gift photo available from Shutterstock