One of the best gifts for your depressed friend is time. If you’re already giving them that or they live too far away for you to do much more than FaceTime (nice, but not the same), there are some perfect gifts to show you care. Give them a hug with a blanket, whenever they need it. Keep them warm and cozy, make sure they remember to take care of themselves, or spark a revived interest in something they used to love.
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So what kinds of gifts should you get a depressed friend? You could shop for them the way you shop for a friend who’s not depressed–get them something sentimental, based on an inside joke, or something based on the things they enjoy–but if they’re going through a tough time, you’re an amazing, loving friend for searching for something you can give them that will help their mental state. Your friend is blessed to have you.
When I’m at my worst, sometimes I joke that I need to “hire a mom” to come in and clean my house, chat about all kinds of things (but only when I’m feeling chatty), and cook dinner for a week. I’m only half-kidding, though I’d take someone who’d just declutter and deep clean. The cleaning situation ends up being a problem that can easily spiral out of control.
Why Clutter Is a Problem
One small thing your friend is too depressed to take care of even though she knows it’s just one small thing that would take five minutes to handle can add up to 15 small things that need to be done (often that first small thing feels like The Thing That Must Be Done Before Anything Else Can Happen).
Then all the surfaces are cluttered and/or need to be wiped down. Dusting needs to happen before sweeping and vacuuming, toys and shoes are all over the floor and they need to be picked up, too… See how it can get out of hand with just one “daunting” (but not really) task? Then the clutter and sheer overwhelm your friend feels can exacerbate the depression.
Clutter’s already not good for mental health and then they’ll start to berate themselves for not just doing That One Thing days ago.
Should You Try This One?
If you’re comfortable enough with each other to address this in a kind, loving way without making your friend feel embarrassed, you can either offer to clean for them or hire someone to help them get a fresh start in a clean house.
Personally, a clean house feels more hopeful, which is one of the best gifts for a depressed friend. Personally, my mind works better in a clean house; I get out of the sludge-brain state and can think again. Even though I know this and I know how much better it would feel to have everything clean and uncluttered, tackling it when I’m already down feels impossible. I’m sure I’m not alone in that, “Wish I could just hire someone to fix it” impulse.
Which route you go (or if you choose this gift at all) will really depend on your friendship. You certainly don’t want to call out the “dirty house” you saw when you went to visit, but if they mention feeling overwhelmed by it all, take that as an opportunity to offer.
I’m listing this one by itself as a gift for your depressed friend instead of under a separate category. If you really want to spoil someone and have it in your budget to purchase a weighted blanket for someone you love, there are so many options (even a cooling one, if they happen to need one like that even in the winter). I haven’t tried any of them yet, but the reviews on Amazon should lead you in the right direction.
There are a couple of different routes you could go with this one.
Fiction, for an escape. This one’s wide open and really depends on personal taste. I haven’t read a lot of fiction that isn’t for pre-teens or teens lately. I read those to my daughter at night and they’re pretty good but maybe not the best for this post. The fiction I have read just for myself hasn’t really impressed me. If you DO want to know some good series for youngish girls, let me know and I’ll hook you up with a whole list. Lol
Personal development. I like:
- You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
- Miracle Morning Millionaires by Hal Elrod (There’s a series of these for different interests and jobs, so you can pick a different one if you’d like.)
- Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
- Everybody, Always by Bob Goff
- Love Does by Bob Goff
- Come Matter Here by Hannah Brencher (I haven’t read this one yet, but I love other things of hers that I’ve read and feel pretty confident recommending it)
You could even consider a refurbished Kindle stocked with a couple of good books on it if that’s in your budget. I saw some on Amazon for around $60.00.
Essential oils are powerful. There are different ones you can give, depending on your friend’s specific struggles with depression. Lavender (I personally like Serenity from doTERRA, which is a blend that contains lavender) is good if they’re having trouble calming their thoughts, anxiety accompanies their depression, or they’re suffering from insomnia.
Diffusing citrus oils is also good for lifting a mood (but warn them not to use these topically if they’re going in the sun, and even if they’ll be staying indoors, they’ll need to dilute them).
DoTERRA’s Console is another good one that they can diffuse or wear on their skin. Of course, if you’re recommending diffusing and they don’t have a diffuser, you’ll need to give them one of those, too. I like to keep it simple with mine. I ordered this one from Amazon about three years ago and it’s still going strong:
You can give time, even if you just go over to hang out with them and stream a movie on Netflix. Take snacks if you can. Other than the snacks, this doesn’t have to cost anything. You can certainly pay for an experience you think your friend would be interested in. Or you could combine time with the giving of any other gifts in this post.
I know when I’m at my lowest, I may not have the most energy for people in the world, but one of the worst parts of it is the vicious, ongoing track in my head that repeats, “No one wants you around. People just humor you when you are around. Nobody really likes you. They can’t wait for you to leave.” Prove. Them. Wrong. Give your depressed friend the ammo she needs to press pause on that stream of thoughts.
Don’t plan anything that will take a lot of energy from them, but just show them that you do want and enjoy their company. It can be a movie, whether you stream it or plan around the Hallmark Christmas movie schedule. It can be a walk. It can be a cup of coffee, conversation, and/or a puzzle. You could even show up with tea and a ton of old magazines, poster board, scissors, glue, an upbeat music playlist, and other random craft supplies for a vision board-making party. If the opportunity arises to give them a sincere compliment, go for it.
Sometimes the best gift for your depressed friend is something that reminds them of the things they love. Maybe they love to knit, paint, or bake. Maybe they haven’t touched those hobbies in a long time because depression has removed the joy from those activities. There’s a chance that a new thing (beautiful yarn, a set of paint, funny cookie cutters or cake pan) could spark just enough interest to get them to get up and try it again. You could even try yoga class passes and go with your friend.
A New Journal and Pen
Journaling is some of the best therapy for anyone, regardless of whether their mental health is suffering right now. Some people are still opposed to sitting down and letting their thoughts flow onto the page, but a journal and pen combo will make a thoughtful, beneficial gift if you think your friend might be interested. I always recommend this kind (different designs are available):
If your depressed friend already has a journal or tends to be very picky about them, you could try rounding up a few different types of pens and other journaling supplies. At their best, do they like to decorate a paper planner with stickers, washi tape, doodles, etc? You could go that route, too. Pick up a selection of stickers, pens, washi tapes, stencils, and more. Bullet journaling and decorating planners are a big deal now, so finding supplies on Etsy or even Michael’s (always check for coupons before you go there!) is easy.
Of all the gifts for your depressed friend, something comforting may be the most appreciated (other than time, which you could still pair up with these).
There’s something mesmerizing and comforting about the warm glow from a flickering candle in a dim room. Even during my depressed weeks, if there was a candle or fire going, the flames could lull me into a different state of mind. They wouldn’t make me happy, exactly, but they’d thaw the shell of numbness that surrounded me, coax me out of the cycle of negative thoughts I’d been stuck in. The effect wouldn’t last all that long, but even a brief reprieve was nice.
Sometimes it is better to get up and put on real clothes when you’re depressed, but that’s way harder than slipping into a pair of pajamas (or just pajama pants and an old sweatshirt). The right set can feel like a hug from you, even when you’re not there, and serve as a reminder that your depressed friend is loved.
This is similar to the pajamas section. A warm, cozy pair of socks can also feel like a hug and serve as a reminder that someone cares about you. There’s nothing worse than cold feet, either. Fuzzy socks are less expensive and you probably won’t have to guess (and second-guess) the size since the same pair of socks will fit several shoe sizes. Plus, you can find some pretty funny socks out there that are perfect for just about anyone, good for a chuckle. I have a few pairs of socks that make me giggle a little on the inside every time I wear them. These are cute!
I’m listing blankets again because any cozy blanket is good and not everyone can afford to add “weighted blanket” to their list of things to buy for friends (as much as I love the people in my life, I won’t be buying any, either). A nice, thick blanket that’s big enough to curl up in on the couch is still perfect, no matter how much it weighs. If you’re crafty and have the time, a handmade blanket’s a gift your depressed friend will cherish forever.
Self Care Items
These are pretty self-explanatory.
- Bath bombs
- Scented lotions and creams
- A girls’ trip for manicures and pedicures (if you typically drink wine there, try taking kombucha or green juice instead) for a combination of self-care and quality time with a friend.
- Face masks
- Hair masks
- Makeup palette
A Subscription Box
There are seriously SO many to choose from, you can find something for anyone based on their specific interests. Using one as a gift for your depressed friend could be perfect. Because I don’t know your friend, I’ll just make a few suggestions here that would work for a variety of women:
- TheraBox: This is full of things for self-care that are useful and beautiful.
- My Hygge Joy: Remember what I said about pajamas, blankets, and socks? Here’s another gift that’ll bring a little comfort and warmth to your friend’s life.
- Bibliophilic Excursions: Books, treats, and trinkets…what’s not to love?