Anxiety Gift Basket DIY: 9 Things to Put Inside

Anxiety Gift Basket DIY: 9 Things to Put Inside

What do you put inside an anxiety gift basket for a friend who’s feeling anxious? It’s easy to feel like there’s nothing we can do to help when a loved one’s feeling stressed, but a simple gift can go a long way. Here’s what to put inside a relaxing gift basket to help soothe their nerves.

(For those on a budget, don’t worry – It’s easy to choose a few items off this list and put together an anxiety gift basket under $50. We’ll start this list with affordable, easy-to-find items you can pick up online or at your local grocery store. For those who want to go all out, some more premium items can be found toward the end.)

Now, let’s make this relaxing gift basket!

1. Dark Chocolate or Low-Sugar Comfort Snacks

Let’s start with the easiest item on the list. Assuming you know the recipient fairly well, you surely know a few of their favorite snacks. Including some of their favorite treats in the anxiety gift basket is a great way to show them that there are people who know them, love them, and care about them. Perhaps a treat that makes them feel nostalgic, like a snack you used to enjoy together as kids.

You might feel tempted to load this relaxing gift basket up with sugary candy bars. Instead, try to opt for low-sugar options, as high-sugar diets and blood sugar spikes are associated with elevated levels of anxiety. [1]

The best snack for anxiety is dark chocolate, which has been found to reduce perceived stress levels. If your friend enjoys the bitter taste, this is a great addition to the basket. Milk chocolate can work as well, although the effects are generally weaker. [2]

2. Non-caffeinated Passionflower Tea

relaxing gift basket ideas

It’s hard to imagine a less relaxing image than someone curled up inside with a hot drink. But what’s the best drink for anxiety to put inside that mug?

Ditch the idea of anything caffeinated, as caffeine can make us even more jittery and anxious. Even black tea can be high in caffeine and is best avoided by the anxious. This leaves us with caffeine-free, herbal tea.

If you’re not a tea drinker yourself, the task of finding the best tea for someone with anxiety can be daunting. Fortunately for you, I ran an experiment testing over twenty different herbal teas to see which works best at reducing anxiety (click to check it out).

The clear winner: this specific brand of passionflower tea.

Seriously, I keep about three boxes of this stuff in my cabinet at all times. The effectiveness of passionflower tea really isn’t all that surprising, either. Studies have found the anti-anxiety effect of passionflower to be comparable to drugs such as oxazepam or midazolam; without the adverse effects. [3]

3. Mental Health Books or an Exciting Novel

What’s the most relaxing gift to pair with that cup of passionflower tea? A new book!

Books have the incredible ability to transport us into another world, away from our troubles and anxieties. For this addition to the anxiety gift basket, there are really two ways to go:

  1. A mental health book or self-improvement book to help your friend conquer their anxiety
  2. An exciting novel or interesting new read to help your friend take their mind off things
3d cover

Sorry for this bit of shameless self-promotion, but I recently published this awesome book on beating panic attacks and anxiety. It’s extremely easy to pick up and read, teaching over 100 different coping mechanisms to manage stress. I promise it will help.

If that’s a bit too dry for your friend’s taste, an exciting novel works too! It’s hard to ruminate about last week’s bad date or next week’s final exam while your mind’s roaming the halls of Hogwarts or plains of Mordor.

4. Warming, Scented Stuffed Animal

Whether you’re trying to impress your crush at the carnival or cheeing up an old friend, stuffed animals make classically good gifts. For whatever reason, these plushie companions are just soothing to have and to hold when we’re stressed out.

For including in our anxiety gift basket, not just any stuffed animal will do.

I recommend purchasing one of these Intelex Warmies. They’re microwaveable (yes, really) and lavender-scented (yes, really); two factors that make them more relaxing than your average teddy bear. If you decide to purchase one through the link, keep an eye on the brands listed to make sure you’re buying the right kind!

P.S. Although it’s a bit bulky to put in a relaxing gift basket, weighted blankets like these are also great. Something about the weight and warmth works on our brain like a comforting and reassuring hug to reduce anxiety.

5. Lavender Essential Oil (Optional: Diffuser)

Essential oils are easy to lump in with other holistic remedies as being placebo (“hippie magic”). However, science says aromatherapy really can work! In particular, lavender is the most common essential oil used in aromatherapy due to its calming, stress-relief effects. [4]

Lavender essential oil can be applied (in moderation) directly to the skin and inhaled for relaxation. Better than applying oil to the skin, an essential oil diffuser can add to the ambiance while making the whole room smell like lavender.

If your friend doesn’t already own one, you can make this relaxing gift basket even better by buying them one of these essential oil diffusers.

6. Kava Stress Relief Candies

kava kava candy review

Kava is a root that is traditionally ground up, strained through water, and consumed as a drink by Polynesian cultures. The effects of kava are described as being calming and mildly intoxicating, not unlike a subtle buzz or high. For some people, consuming kava can be a good way to relax.

You can learn about the whole process of making and drinking kava here. It’s super interesting.

In the meantime, consider snagging some of these kava candies for your anxiety gift basket. At best, they could just be the anti-stress solution your friend needs. At worst, it’s something fun and different to try!

7. Guided Anxiety Journal

Expressive writing has been found to be a great way to manage our psychological and physical health. Specifically, journaling can be a great way for us to decrease feelings of anxiety. [5]

An anxiety journal like this one can really help provide your friend or loved one with an outlet. On their worst days with anxiety, they can flip open to a fresh page and get their feelings out.

Approaching your budget limit for this anxiety gift basket? Feel free to print out this anxiety journal template I made for free!

Panic Attack Diary Template Printout

8. Adult Coloring Book

Coloring can be a fun and mindless way to get out of our own head.

When was the last time you owned a coloring book? Nowadays, there are a ton of adult coloring books for sale that can help us blow off steam or reduce stress:

  • Coloring books specifically for anxiety relief
  • Funny or amusing (even offensive) adult coloring books
  • Genre-specific adult coloring books
  • More intricate coloring books for the artistically inclined

There are so many options out there, but don’t overthink it; any of them can help with stress relief.

Any of these are good options in a relaxing gift basket for anxiety.

9. Stress Relief Toys

Stress relief toys for anxiety? Not as crazy as it sounds.

Remember when the fidget spinner went viral as a popular way of helping kids with ADHD to focus? Turns out, there are tons of other toys that can help with all different kinds of anxiety disorders.

In fact, the fidget spinner isn’t even the oldest or the most popular! From stress balls to Rubik’s cubes, there are so many options to choose from.

I’ve curated a list of my favorite stress toys for anxiety here. Seriously, check that list out. These items are too fun and cool to pass up in an anxiety gift basket.

10. Breathwork Assist Devices

Here’s a big-ticket item for your relaxing gift basket.

Breathwork is one of the most essential ways to calm someone down during an anxiety attack. When you’re taking rapid, shallow breaths, you exacerbate your anxiety and enter a vicious cycle. By slowing down our breathing, we can activate the parasympathetic nervous system and relax once more.

Unfortunately, getting our breathing under control is more easily said than done when we’re hyperventilating. The good news is, there are some clever new devices that can help with this.

calmigo review

My personal favorite is a tool that helps you pace your breathing with multi-sensory feedback. This device is called the CalmiGo, and you can check out my full review of the CalmiGo here. Essentially, your friend would breathe into this handheld device while lights and vibrational features indicated when it was time to start each breathing cycle. In a few minutes, the user should feel significantly calmer.

Devices like this are not cheap, but you definitely get your money’s worth with this one. To help with the cost, I got a coupon code from the manufacturer for my readers! Use code DONTPANIC for $30 off your purchase!

P.S. These devices also incorporate aromatherapy in their design. I recommend the lavender option for reasons discussed earlier!

More Ideas for Your Anxiety Gift Basket

Looking to go above any beyond, or just interested in even more ideas for your anxiety gift basket? Check out my article on 30+ different gifts for someone with anxiety. The gifts are sorted by price and category; you're sure to find a home run!


[1] National Library of Medicine – The effects of long-term honey, sucrose or sugar-free diets on memory and anxiety in rats

[2] National Library of Medicine – Effects of chocolate intake on Perceived Stress; a Controlled Clinical Study

[3] National Library of Medicine – Passiflora incarnata in Neuropsychiatric Disorders—A Systematic Review

[4] ScienceDirect – Effect of aromatherapy on preoperative anxiety in adult patients: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

[5] National Library of Medicine – Effects of Expressive Writing on Psychological and Physical Health: The Moderating Role of Emotional Expressivity

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About the Author

Years of personal experience with anxiety disorders and panic attacks have led me to devise some pretty creative ways to keep my anxiety in check. In the past, anxiety and panic attacks felt like something I'd have to live with forever. Nowadays, panic attacks are a distant memory for me, and I'm free to pursue passions like writing and traveling the world. Hopefully, the information on this website can help you achieve the same. I do all the writing here myself, so don't hesitate to reach out with questions!

Tyler Ellis

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