Those born between June 22st and July 22st–roughly–are Cancers, the nurturers of the Zodiac. Known for their selflessness and goofy sense of humor, the “Crabs” are anything but.
While often the center of activity, they’re rarely the center of attention, focusing their efforts on making sure the people around them are happy and taken care of.
The quintessential host, you may spend many summer evenings in their backyard or crash in their guestroom or on their sofa when you have a fight with your partner. While not perfect people, Cancers are very good friends.
With all that selflessness, though, can come a constant state of emotional exhaustion. To help your Crab combat burnout, turn to one of our gift ideas for Cancers of every stripe.
Recharge: In Solitude
After spending the last year pouring themselves out for the partner and their friends, many Cancers may be ready to just get away.
There’s no standard of introvert/extrovert for Cancers, so their enjoyment of solitude may be as short as a few hours or as long as a month, but a little quiet time with our thoughts is important for all of us–to listen to our wants and our needs and where we want to go. Today and in life.
Before you clutch your wallet in despair, a getaway can be figurative. It might take the form of house plants (which have many health benefits). It might look like a pair of noise canceling headphones.
If your Crab has kids, volunteer to take them for a day so your friend can have some peace and quiet–whether they want to get projects done or just have some “me” time. (If babysitting and kids just aren’t your thing, pay for a sitter. The thought still counts.)
Recharge: With Friends*
*Without having to plan everything
I know, you may do things with your Cancer friend regularly.
How nice for you.
Because chances are, they take care of just about everything–picking the place–or offering their own–encouraging people to show up, making sure everyone feels welcome and included… It’s a lot of work.
And while they don’t usually mind, being relied on constantly is like being the mom of your friend group (fully grown adults) and even moms deserve a break now and again.
Why not host a dinner party at your place? Only rule: you are allowed to ask your Crab to do exactly 0 things. Zilch. Nada. Invite a couple of best buds and split the work and the money between the rest of you.
Make sure the food is great and cleanup is covered. Prep it yourself or order in. Let your mantra be: everything is taken care of.
If bringing people over to your house excites you zero much, reservations at a favorite restaurant also work! Just plan ahead regarding parking, allergens, and designated drivers. It’s not a gift if your friend ends up having to put out fires midway through the meal.
You can also riff on the solitude trip away and go as a group of friends. You can even make a road trip of it! Cue up a great playlist and let the good times roll. Don’t forget: trips with groups of people require extra planning. Give yourself time to get your ducks in order before you load everything into your 20 year old Honda and head for the Catskills.
Recharge: With Self Care
Depending on who you are, self care can be a vital part of life, an unachievable but desirable state, or a term dripping with saccharine that is overused and has no ROI.
For those last people, maybe try “system maintenance,” and see if that rings more true for them.
Self care can be whatever you need it to be, whether that’s candles and baths or a day at the gym or a weekend camping and fly fishing. What you’re looking for is what restores you to your most energized state.
(Or, in this case, what restores your friend to their most energized state.)
A little time spent looking better helps many of us feel better. Nail care kits (often called manicure kits) are important for nail health and can clean up the look of our hands. You don’t need to lean into the feminine angle, either. A simple manicure set like this one from Bare Hands will take care of the appearance and health of everyone’s hands. If your Cancer likes to dedicate a little more time to themselves, Dear Sundays has a “buff kit,” which has tools like files, buffers, pumice blocks, and more.
Another place we take care of ourselves is in the kitchen. Making and eating good food that’s good for us is restorative. That doesn’t mean everyone is a world class chef.
Gifts you can give to make the food your Crab makes taste better and be better for them include:
Lodge cast iron–simple to care for, carmelizes food like a boss, and increase your iron intake.
Vitamix Blender–blenders are great for smoothies of all kinds, whether protein centric or green based.
Recharge: With Inspiration
They are rested. They are well fed. Their skin is moisturized and they smell like a dang spa. The final piece of our restorative puzzle for Cancers is more elusive than the rest.
Inspiration is fickle and strikes when we least expect it. But unlike what many of us grew up thinking, inspiration is not just for artists and geniuses.
Inspiration is what causes us to change the world–at all. That is, to make an unexpected dinner. To rearrange the house plants. To redecorate the bathroom. To take a new approach in speaking with the new boss.
Manufacturing these moments of inspiration is impossible, but you can set up the elements that will more likely lead to inspiration with a few offerings.
Consider TV series that have been meaningful to you that your Crab may not have absorbed yet. These might be heartfelt like Schitt’s Creek, thought provoking like The Good Place, or challenging like The Wire. Whatever you choose, make sure you have a story to share with them about why this show made a difference in your life.
A thought provoking but easy to read book can both provide inspiration and some thoughtful solitude. What’s considered “easy reading” will vary from person to person, but consider:
Tracking Wonder, by Jeffrey Davis, an excellent and important reminder and tips to reconnect to our state of childlike wonder which can be transformative to our life.
The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell, about the moment an idea or movement catches on and gains momentum. As with all of Gladwell’s books, it is both deeply insightful and written clearly and simply.
From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life, by Arthur C. Brooks, for those transitioning to a new stage of life, Brooks has made a (third? fourth?) career out of studying happiness–what it is, how it shows up in our lives, and how we can have more of it.
Taking care of someone is entirely personal. It’s specific to them and it’s specific to your relationship. Use these ideas as a launching off point, not a rigid rule book. Look for the pinch, pain, or stress points in your Cancer’s life and think about how you can ease them. It will be appreciated more than you can know now.