Stress can be an enemy to anyone. Whether you have a controlled level of stress or stress that contributes to an anxiety-related condition, everyone is prone to moments when they’re flooded with sudden bouts of worry. For me, it’s when I feel like I’ve done something wrong — and I really haven’t, but my mind continues to persuade me that I have. Then I imagine that everyone is mad at me … and you can see how it all goes downhill from there.
When these moments hit and I feel like I’m turning into a temporary head case, my immediate reaction is to walk around, repeatedly ask the person if they’re upset at me, or eat gross amounts of food — none of which is a truly satisfying solution.
REALATED: The United States of Stress
That’s why I rounded up some of the most highly rated subscription boxes claiming to help relieve stress and put them to the test. Each month or quarter, these boxes handpick relaxing items like herbal teas and self-help books and deliver them straight to your doorstep. Each time you receive a box it's full of completely new items! No fuss, no muss, just soothing products to help us reach that seemingly impossible state of calm.
In pursuit of the pipe dream that is serenity, I decided to find the best of these boxes. With each one, I’ve given detail as to how they are presented, what’s inside, and whether they actually work. So here’s to a new, healthier tactic to managing stress!
Price $35/month; Buy It Here
Box reviewed November 2017
What’s inside Yogi Calming tea, a turquoise aroma diffuser bracelet with peppermint essential oil, The Little Zen Companion by David Schiller, Rinse Bath & Body Handy-Tizer skin and surface cleanser, a Positive Energy candle, and an Apple Cinnamon RXBAR
Overall grade A-
Thoughts If you’re really looking for Zen — and I mean like, real Zen — Calmbox is the one for you. I, personally, wouldn’t consider myself a hardcore yogi, but I do enjoy Yogi tea, as well as the occasional Buddha quote (which the Zen Companion book provides). The candle, which smelled like a wellness retreat to Bali, was a nice touch.
I wasn’t sure how the RXBAR was supposed to help soothe me, but I love RXBARs, so that’s fine.
Though most of the things were great, I do have to say that the tea tree oil Handy-Tizer cleanser was strange to me. A sanitizer for both skin and hard surfaces? Weird. Not saying it didn’t work to clean surfaces (my desk has at times been sadly neglected, and I have procrastinated in buying sanitizer wipes), but the stark smell was a little much. On top of that, it gave my skin a strange tingle that made me even more skeptical. So the cautionary hypochondriac in me has decided to keep it at my desk as a surface cleaner, and (maybe) skin cleanser if I’m feeling rebellious.
Price $29.99/month; Buy It Here
Box reviewed April 2018
What’s inside Respyre Citrus Chamomile loose-leaf tea, White Orchards loose-leaf tea, Sweet Orange Cedarwood essential oil, and Sweet Orange Cedarwood candle
Helpful? Not completely
Overall grade B
Thoughts While Respyre’s wellness box was minimalist, to say the least, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t effective. Respyre takes great care of their business, which is why all their products are handmade and sourced from raw materials worldwide. That’s a ton of effort to put into a month-by-month box. And it might be worth it … I won’t lie, that citrus chamomile tea was amazing.
For its price, though, the box doesn’t completely deliver compared with the number of items you receive with other subscriptions (because, let’s be honest, that totally matters). And Respyre’s box also doesn’t have the same month-to-month variety as others; each month includes tea, candles, and essential oils. So if quantity and variety are important to you, you might consider checking out the market before committing to this one.
3. Anxiety Gone
Price $39.99/quarter; Buy It Here
Box reviewed Spring 2018
What’s inside Lavender sachet, lavender gardening kit, Hi, Anxiety: Life With a Bad Case of Nerves by Kat Kinsman, lavender bath salts, White Tea hand gel, lavender linen spray, a stone with the kanji (Japanese symbol) for courage, and therapeutic worksheets on self-soothing by Loretta Breuning, PhD
Overall grade A
Thoughts Yes, there was a lot of lavender. But lavender is often used to help relieve stress, so I thought it was a great choice. I particularly appreciated the sachet to put under my pillow as I sleep, the self-help book, and the lavender gardening kit that would give me an activity to do when I’m stressing over things I can’t control. Plus, I don’t see any downside to keeping my apartment smelling like a French lavender field.
As the name suggests, Anxiety Gone really makes an effort to ease the feelings of nervousness experienced by people living with an anxiety-related condition. I thought this box was the most ideal out of the four for anyone dealing with anxiety (or anything close to it). Overall, it seemed well-packaged and very thoughtful.
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Price $34.99/month; Buy It Here
Box reviewed Self-Love 2018 box
What’s inside Free one-month subscription to Lunar Yoga online yoga classes and meditations, Roses n Rosé Cinnamon plumping lip scrub, a rose-scented candle, Gypsy Soul body mist, So Posh Beauty French Neroli Rose body oil, Etude House Apricot lipstick, a water bottle, foot wipes, and a self-care-themed assessment
Helpful? Sure, why not?
Overall grade B+
Thoughts Well, my first thought after “Free yoga?!” was: “Wow, there’s a lot of stuff in this box!” The goodies just kept coming! Therabox was great because it provided so much variety and many different ways to keep calm (a self-help checklist, guided online yoga, soothing body oil, and the rest) — though I had no idea what the foot wipes were doing in there.
In terms of the number of items, Therabox greatly succeeded. But as I mulled it over in comparison with the three other boxes, I found that Therabox didn’t have a central theme. Calmbox has a Zen vibe, Anxiety Gone focuses on lavender and anxiety, and Respyre delivers handcrafted teas, oils, and candles. But Therabox seems a little scattered.
Personally, I enjoy surprises, so I would order the box again. But if you’d rather know what you’re getting from month to month, it might be worth going with one of the other options.