Gift giving is meant to be an amazing thing, but all too often it causes stress for the giver. Finding a good gift to give to someone you care about can be a challenge, even for someone you know well. This goes double if the person you’re buying for is stressed themselves. Finding good gifts for stressed college students, for example, can be difficult because of the added pressure to help them with that stress.
This is a difficult time of year for college students – upcoming exams, end-term assignments, and financial difficulties around the holiday season can lead to strong feelings of anxiety. Whether as a reward for finishing a tough semester, or a way to help for the next one, gifts for stressed college students can go a long way towards helping them to feel better. If you’re struggling with whether to buy a gift to help them in their personal life or their scholarly pursuits, consider one gift for both instead! After all, the two worlds are closely tied to each other; a stressful school semester usually translates into a tough time personally.
Gift Ideas for Stressed College Students
First thing’s first, however: the best way to approach gifts for stressed college students is to just ask them what they want. As fun as it is to surprise and amaze with your incredible ability to come up with the perfect gift, most people are happier and more appreciative of just receiving a gift they’ve asked for.1 Like with any relationship, communicating with the other person is a big part of finding the best outcome for everyone. There’s also a good chance that they ask for a practical item that you’re unlikely to have guessed on your own, because having one less thing to worry about would lessen their stress.
Still, sometimes the college student in question really has no idea what they want – or what they want is to simply get through the semester in one piece. So if you’re stuck on how to come up with gifts for the people in your life who are struggling, here are our pointers:
- You can’t go wrong with mindfulness. Mindful practices are amazing for fighting stress. Consider what kinds of passive activities a stressed student could engage in and see if you can tie any to their interests. Gift ideas include:
- Essential oils – These are especially useful, as they can be used passively while studying or resting.
- Candles – Similar to essential oils, a sweet-smelling candle can be therapeutic to own, and a great background item for late-night studying.
- Yoga mats/accessories – Promoting activities like yoga or meditation can help encourage healthy practices that are proven to reduce stress.
- Ask what might make school easier. If you’re buying gifts for stressed college students, consider what is causing them stress – school! College is far from easy, and depending on the student’s lifestyle, there may be gifts you can get them that make it easier to manage. For example:
- A file system. File folders, cabinets, and transports all encourage positive organization practices, which make studying, assignments, and future planning much easier.
- Agendas, notebooks, calendars. Regardless of the time of year, there’s always something else ahead. Anything that helps with keeping track of the past, organizing the present, and planning the future is a helpful gift for sure.
- Noise-cancelling headphones. Nothing makes studying easier than taking out distractions. These will almost always help.
- Consider a gift that encourages healthy habits. A student who sleeps well, eats well, and takes care of themselves is usually a happier student than one who does not. Consider what you could get your friends or family that encourages those healthy habits, such as:
- Weighted blankets. These make it much easier to sleep at night, which results in a better night’s rest, which results in better-optimized studying and improved memory when taking tests!
- Sleeping masks. These make it much easier to sleep at night, which… you get the idea.
- School meal plan/gift card. Many post-secondary schools offer meal plans or debit cards used specifically for on-campus dining. These can be great ways to encourage meals eaten every day, especially for students living on campus.
Smart Compression: A New, Different Kind of Present
Another gift idea worth considering is smart compression. eSmartr specializes in creating smart compression sleeves for anyone who could benefit from mental wellbeing. All you have to do is wear it – the Cognitive Boost Technology™ on the inside will then quietly work in the background to promote better focus, enhanced memory, and reduced stress in the wearer. It works through physical stimulation on the forearm – no drugs or electricity! These benefits mean optimized studying sessions, better notes from lectures, and better results from athletic, creative, or personal hobbies and pursuits.
Regardless of which gifts you get for the students in your life, remember that the most important thing is for them to take care of themselves. Healthy, fulfilling life choices will go a long way towards a positive schooling experience. Don’t forget to put yourself in their shoes! And whether for a holiday, birthday, or just because, showing that you’re there for the people who need you is already one of the best gifts you can give.
1. Francesca Gino, Francis J. Flynn, Give them what they want: The benefits of explicitness in gift exchange, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 47, Issue 5, 2011, Pages 915-922, ISSN 0022-1031, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2011.03.015.