7 On Your Side: 7 gifts of 'wellness' for Valentine's Day

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Valentine's Day is right around the corner, and if you're looking for gifts "outside the chocolate box" that are easy on your wallet, consider gifting wellness.

7 On Your Side spoke with author, nutritionist and yoga instructor Laura Cipullo, who has a practice in New York City and owns "The L'ifestyle Lounge" in Closter, New Jersey.

Sharing wellness is inexpensive - even free!

Self-care presents can help those you love to be more present, mindful, peaceful and calm, Cipullo said.

Breathing is Free!

"We're all facing trials every single day, and if you can learn to breathe through it and have these really cool, fun tools to deal with the stress of life, life gets easier and life improves," Cipullo said. "Of course we all like our diamonds, right, we do want chocolate and diamonds too, but those gifts are temporary, in terms of you give it and then it's over."

Instead, think about gifts that don't cost anything, like sharing free videos, apps and articles showing breathing techniques, which reduce stress.

Share Mindfulness

"It's so simple, mindfulness is free, all you need to know is how to breathe," Cipullo said. "You can do that anywhere at any time. I think, even a just minute a day will help somebody engage in a more mindful lifestyle."

Gift Yoga

Gift a yoga session or arrange a group yoga class to donate to a favorite charity.

Give to Charity

"We try to connect in a meaningful way with local charities," said Shari Brooks, a yoga instructor at L'ifestyle Lounge.

For the last several years, Brooks has conducted yoga sessions asking for $10 donations.

Her clients get to choose the charity they donate to every month, and together, they have raised hundreds of dollars for various causes.

"Giving to someone else is really a gift in and of itself,"Brooks said. "Even if it's in a small way, people feel great about that."

Color Yourself Calm

Coloring at all ages also channels creativity into calming the brain.

Coloring books for children -- and adults -- are an inexpensive and easy activity to take your mind off of technology and into a more calming space.

Aromatherapy Alternatives

Also try aromatherapy instead of aspirin or caffeine.

Lavender is calming, and rosemary and peppermint scented oils can help you feel refreshed and awake.

"We offer something to help people feel better naturally," said Kiara LeBlanc, who owns retail boutique Saje Wellness.

Her business offers essential oils, air diffusers and a host of plant based alternatives to pharmaceutical medicine.

"We're really in the world of preventative wellness," she said. "If I'm using peppermint halo oil on my neck and shoulders all day long, I can prevent getting the headache."

Engage in "Self-Care." It's Not "Selfish," it's "Self-full"

Take care of yourself.

Self-care is a journey we can all take to be more peaceful inside and out.

"One of my favorite sayings is you can't pour from an empty cup," Brooks said. "Self-care is not selfish. It's 'self-full.' Not to say you're full of yourself, but if your cup is full and you're taking care of yourself, everyone around you benefits, your family, colleagues and friends."

Bonus: Tips on breathing techniques:

Box breathing:
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Shari Brooks explains and demonstrates box breathing

Ujayi breathing:
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Shari Brooks explains and demonstrates ujayi breathing


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