How do you feel when you hear your mom’s voice?
If you’re like many people, the sound is comforting to you. In fact, when Mom talks, your brain may come to life in a way that is totally unlike how it responds to any other voice. That’s what scientists discovered in a 2016 study. Imaging scans revealed that children’s brains responded much more strongly to their mother’s voice than to any other voice.
You’re not a child any longer, but mom still has a special hold on your brain… and your heart. No matter what your age, Mom is still Mom, and on Mother’s Day, you have a chance to let her know what she means to you.
Spending a little extra time with mom or at least letting her know she’s in your thoughts can have more of an impact than you may realize. Scientists discovered in 2012 that companionship, including from adult children, seemed to have a protective effect on longevity for seniors. Of course, healthy habits help too, and as one of Mom’s cherished people, you are in the perfect position to encourage her to take good care of herself.
The following 20 Mother’s Day gift and activity ideas help you show your love while giving Mom something that will boost her mood, increase her activity levels, help her relax, and encourage her to take good care of herself all year long.
1. Give her a helping hand
If you live nearby, don’t underestimate the value of giving Mom a helping hand. Moms are usually focused on what they can do for others, and may not ask for help. Yet there are so many ways you can make her life easier.
Think about things like cleaning house, sprucing up the yard, helping her go through “old” stuff with an eye toward donating those things she doesn’t need anymore, or even just cooking a nice old-fashioned meal. It may also be fun to create your own “coupons” with each of these tasks listed, so Mom can choose to use them when she needs them.
If you don’t live nearby, you may still be able to contribute this way. Arrange for a housecleaning service, hire a handyman to fix broken items around the house, employ a gardening service, or send a gift certificate to her favorite restaurant.
2. Send a caring package full of healthy goodies
Instead of sending the traditional bouquet of flowers, try putting together a box full of healthy goodies instead. Pack it with a box of her favorite tea, a meditation CD, some healthy snacks like nuts or whole-wheat crackers, nourishing skin care lotion (made with natural ingredients), a new book about healthy living, tasty spices, Epsom salts for the bath, or a pair of nice cushiony socks good for walking.
3. Send an herb indoor growing kit
May is the perfect time to be thinking about gardening. Even if your mom isn’t into tilling up the soil, she may still enjoy getting her fingers a little dirty in an indoor herb garden. There are several kits out there that give you everything you need to get started: planter and tray, seeds, soil, and instructions. You can find them online or in general department stores like Target.
Gardening is a really healthy thing to do, as we mentioned in our previous post on indoor gardening. It improves mood, reduces stress and anxiety, and can help prevent depression—all great benefits for mom.
4. Send a healthy cookbook
If your mom likes to cook, she may enjoy trying out some new recipes. Look for books that provide healthy meals that aren’t too complicated, and that are fun and engaging to read. There are many options out there—use what you know about your mom to make this a personal gift.
5. Plan a special event
When was the last time you did something with mom that created a cherished memory? If it’s been awhile, put your planning skills to work. Think about what your mom really enjoys. Maybe she’d love to see a concert, play, or big-time sporting event. Maybe a day at the spa is more her speed (a massage would be super healthy and relaxing), or maybe she would like a trip to a cabin in the mountains.
Even a weekend road trip can get you away from the bustle of life where you can reconnect with each other. Set up the details yourself, and then let Mom sit back and relax and enjoy the experience.
6. Make your own pampering products
When we talk about taking care of our health, we often forget about our skin. Yet skin is the body’s largest organ, and needs our care, especially as we age.
Mom may not buy her own pampering products, but you can help her enjoy some luxurious skin care by whipping up some of your own solutions. With a few simple ingredients from your kitchen, create a do-it-yourself scrub, mask, or lotion that will have your personal touch on it.
You don’t have to get complicated—experiment and have fun. There are many recipes online, but in general, use ingredients like brown sugar and natural oils (olive, coconut, jojoba) to create a nice exfoliating skin scrub. Ground coffee and oatmeal also help slough off dead skin cells and reduce irritation and redness.
Mix the ingredients together and put into a Mason jar with a ribbon and bow, or use some of those economical travel bottles to hold your new skin-care solutions. To make a moisturizing mask, use ingredients like smashed avocado, yogurt, honey, mashed strawberries, and natural oils. Making these solutions can be a fun activity to do with the kids or grandkids!
7. Get Mom going on yoga
If your mom isn’t already doing yoga, you may want to get her started. There are many good DVDs out there that will help her learn, or you can sign her up for a class. Make a present of some fun yoga equipment, like a yoga mat, stretching bands and blocks, and a DVD set. If your mom is already doing the downward dog, try getting her some new gear, like workout clothes, a natural candle for meditative effect, or some grippy yoga socks.
8. Beef up Mom’s workout fun
If your mom is already a fitness buff, she probably loves new workout clothes. As mentioned above, you can get her a new outfit or a gift certificate to her favorite fitness store. Gym bags, hand weights, new resistance bands, a rebounder, or a workout video are all fun ideas that will help insert some novelty into Mom’s regular exercise routine.
9. Invite Mom to walk more
Walking is one of the healthiest forms of exercise we can do. Research has shown that it helps keep the pounds off, maintain a healthy heart, and support a positive outlook. Find a way to get Mom walking some more.
You can commit as a family to walk together at certain times of the week. Get everyone new walking t-shirts to symbolize the commitment, with maybe a special fleece jacket for Mom. Or, promise to meet up for an hour once a week to go exploring. If Mom likes technology, present her with a new pedometer to help her count her steps. You can choose the simple types or go for something more encompassing like a FitBit—use what you know about Mom to make the best choice.
10. Help Mom get a good night’s sleep
Sleep is critical for good health, and it’s likely Mom isn’t getting enough. She’s usually the one worried about everyone else getting enough sleep.
There are all kinds of things you can do to improve her sleep habits. Start with the mattress—if it’s old or just not of high quality, give her a coupon to go shopping for a new one. Healthy mattresses aren’t cheap, but they’re worth every penny for long-term health.
If her mattress is great, then think about her pillow, sheets, or blankets. Renewing any of these can make bed a more inviting place. If there’s a television or computer in the bedroom, move them to another location, as these types of technological gadgets have been shown to interfere with quality REM “deep” sleep.
Moms usually cherish nightgowns, slippers, and robes, so these make great gifts. Think too about things like white noise machines, especially if noise tends to wake her up at night, and heavy, dark drapes to keep the light out. A good humidifier can make the room much more comfortable overnight, and an alarm that wakes her up with gradually brightening light would likely be much more pleasant than that incessant buzzing or beeping.
11. Give Mom the gift of relaxation
Moms have a lot to worry about, and often worry is their constant companion. You can help Mom relax with some natural herbal teas. Skullcap, lemon balm, and chamomile all have compounds that help encourage relaxation. They not only help relax the brain, but they ease muscle tension, too.
A soothing massage oil can also help ease muscle tension so Mom can relax. Try grape seed oil or almond oil along with a few drops of essential oils like lavender, bergamot, tangerine, and geranium. An aromatherapy diffuser with some of these essential oils provides another method of relaxation. Simply inhaling their scents can bring on a feeling of calm.
12. Create a special video
If your family is far from Mom this mother’s day, create her a special video so she can see your faces. Allow family members to describe their favorite memories with Mom, or let them display their talents in a song dedicated to her.
If you and your siblings are spread around the country, get everyone to make their own video, and then send them all to Mom at the same time. You can even splice them together if you like—ask a friend for help or look online for instructions on how to combine different videos into one. Put some of Mom’s favorite music in the background and let her watch your special movie on her special day.
13. Write a letter
With email, text messaging, video chatting, and other forms of popular communication, we’ve lost the art of letter writing. That’s unfortunate, as there’s nothing quite like holding an old handwritten letter in your hands that pulls at the heartstrings.
If you really want to tell Mom you love her this year, write her a heartfelt letter. Write it by hand on a nice piece of paper and send it through snail mail. This will be a gift she will cherish for years to come, because it will hold your true feelings.
If you’re not a natural writer, just pretend you are telling a friend about your mom. What would you say? Maybe you would share some treasured memories, or explain how your mom made a big difference in your life. Don’t worry about it being perfect. Just write from your heart, and your Mom will love it.
14. Give Mom easy ways to enjoy healthy foods
Your mom may want to eat healthier, but be lacking the tools she needs. Some ideas may include:
• new juicer for her green smoothies
• salad spinner for her leafy greens
• storage containers that keep produce fresh longer
• microwave steamer
• yogurt or bread maker
• popcorn maker
• measuring colander
• indoor electric grill
• oil mister
• green non-stick frying pan (made without dangerous non-stick chemicals)
There are a lot of options, and anything that makes healthy eating easier will be welcome!
15. Support Mom’s sport
Is your mom a golfer? Does she enjoy cycling, swimming, playing tennis, pickel ball, or running? Whatever she’s into, help her do more of it. When we really enjoy exercise, we do it more often, which of course is great for our health.
Consider getting her some new clothing, sunglasses, helmets, or gear. Or better yet, spend a day enjoying Mom’s sport with her. Take the family golfing, biking, or swimming, and let everyone enjoy the type of exercise Mom likes best.
16. Allow Mom to enjoy healthier tap water.
There have been a lot of reports over the past couple years about contaminated tap water. Lead was found in the water supply in Michigan, and polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs like PFOA) in a number of city public water supplies in the U.S.
Though most tap water is still safe, we know that chemicals can get into the water supply. Usually they are at levels too low for us to detect, but over time they can damage our health. Help Mom and the whole family enjoy safer, better tasting water with a quality water filter.
Check out the Environmental Working Group’s guide to find the best one for your home.
17. Brighten up Mom’s living space
Did you know that pictures of nature help ease stress? Scientists have found that pictures of the great outdoors can help reduce anxiety and increase focus and attention.
You can use that information to help brighten up Mom’s working or living space. Purchase a couple of beautiful pictures of nature that she would enjoy, or better yet, take the family on a field trip in the country and let everyone capture what appeals to them. Choose your favorites, frame them, and present them to Mom as her personalized mood-boosters for Mother’s Day.
18. Give a gift that gives all year
Think about a subscription that Mom might enjoy. It may be to a health magazine, but there are other options. Fruit-of-the-month clubs, snack delivery services, wine-of-the-month organizations, or even a regular delivery of various teas can all bring joy and health into your mom’s life each month. Some of Mom’s local health stores may also provide in-season produce deliveries that she would love.
19. Help Mom enjoy a good laugh
Studies show that laughing is great for our health. It relieves stress, boosts mood, and even burns calories. In her busy life, Mom may not be enjoying enough laughter. Help remedy that with a trip to the comedy club, a night out for a funny movie, a humorous book or DVD, or a family skit. When you all enjoy some laughs together, it helps the whole family feel closer.
20. Remember Mom
If your mom is no longer with you, you can still honor her on this special day. Light a candle near her picture, spend some time doing something she liked to do, or visit a special place you liked to go together. Re-read some of her old letters or emails, or create a collage of cherished images and frame it. You may also donate to one of her favorite charities, or take a care package to a dear friend of hers in her memory.
Honoring your connection with Mom can help you feel close to her again.
If you want to discover the nature’s secret remedies for healing and fat burning, then check out the Best Foods That Rapidly Slim & Heal In 7 Days program.
Rick Kaselj, MS
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