Sensory hacks to beat stress

You can’t sleep, because your mind is racing. You have constant butterflies in your stomach. You can’t focus on one thing at a time. You forget someone’s name as soon as they introduce themselves. The slightest extra task reduces you to tears…

You know what I’m talking about it. We are all too familiar with the big S. Yes, I’m talking about STRESS.  Stress is currently one of modern society’s biggest health concerns. Stress affects our physical wellness, our mental capacity, our relationships, our productivity and much, much, more. It’s a silent killer.

Unfortunately, very few of us can afford to retire and live a stress-free life sipping cocktails on the beach and reading all day. The fact of the matter is that stress is something we need to learn to manage in our everyday lives. Stress is an everyday reality for most of us and we need to learn to manage it, otherwise it will consume us.

But fortunately, at Sensory Intelligence Consulting® we’ve made it our business to help you manage your stress in a healthy way. We use easy and practical tips and tools to help you reduce and manage your stress levels. Today we want to share a few of our “life hacks” to beat stress with you. These may seem simple, but they are tried, tested and trusted.

Sitting is the new smoking. Many people spend 8 hours or more sitting each day. As human beings, we are designed to move our bodies, and if we don’t, our physical and emotional stress increases. Get up and go to the bathroom, make a cup of coffee, use the stairs, go for a short walk after work, do some stretches before work… regular movement will drastically change your stress levels. You will start to notice an improvement in your mood and a decrease in your stress after you move. It is a quick and easy way to access your body’s natural relaxation response and feel refreshed when you return to your desk.

Most of us have the natural inclination to become less connected and more task-centered when things get busy. We spend evenings checking mail and weekends frantically trying to manage tasks on our to-do lists. All the while our stress increases. At Sensory Intelligence Consulting® it’s about quality, not quantity. It’s about being fully present in the moment with your friends and loved ones. Research shows that people who connect with others as little as once a day, have lowered stress levels. The trick is, it has to be real connection- not via WhatsApp or sitting in the same room watching television. To facilitate real connection, we use the technique of STOP, LOOK and LISTEN

  • STOP – Put down your phone. Let go of your frantic thoughts. Simply stop and be present for the person you are with.
  • LOOK – Look someone in the eyes. Really take in what you see. That’s where real connection happens
  • LISTEN – We tend to listen to respond, rather than truly listen to the other person’s experience. What would happen if you just listened without needing to respond? Just be open to what the other person has to say.

Setting healthy boundaries is a way of protecting your own time and prioritising what is really important. For everything you say ‘yes’ to, you are also saying ‘no’ to something else. Spend some time thinking about how you spend your time. How many things are you doing that is not a priority and increase your stress levels? What are the things you can say ‘no’ to in order to say ‘yes’ to something else? Do you need to maybe say ‘no’ to a birthday party of someone you don’t know that well, in order to say ‘yes’ to spending time with your children? Do you need to say ‘no’ to work this weekend, in order to say ‘yes’ to go for a run? The reality is, you cannot be all things, for everyone, all the time. Decide what’s important and use boundaries to protect what’s important.

Write your to-do list using pen and paper. Using your touch and visual sense, means you are solidifying the task in your brain and increasing your chances of getting to your to-do list. Spend each morning writing down the biggest 3 tasks for the day – our brain works in 3’s. Focus on that and let go of less important, time-wasting tasks. Return at the end of the day and congratulate yourself on your tasks well done!

Now over to you …

  • Do you have any creative hacks to manage stress? Please share them with us.
  • Do you want to take stress management to the next level? Do your Sensory Matrix™ assessment and receive a personalised wellness guide to keep you productive, healthy and happy!
  • Do you want to take stress management to the next level in your company? Contact us to book a workshop for your team.

How being water-wise affects your senses

If you live in or close to Cape Town your bathroom is littered with buckets.  You wear the same pants for a week.  You’ve become a mini-engineer with water-saving gadgets in your kitchen.  Your car is dirty.  You’ve even tried dry-shampoo (and maybe let that one go…).  You are definitely saving water.

Here at Sensory Intelligence® Consulting, we started to wonder about the impact of the water crisis on your sensory thresholds. If you are anything like me, you might have run into some of the following scenarios:

  • Running and exercise have become slightly more difficult for me. It already seems like a mammoth task to drag myself to the streets for a run, but the water crisis added an extra element – now I need to think about when and how I will get myself clean afterwards. I usually exercised after work and then took a quick shower before going to bed. Now I’m unable to shower twice a day.
    The solution: Hopping out of bed early in the morning for a lovely jog on the promenade.
    The benefits: I now see a different sunrise every morning – each one more beautiful than the last. I take a moment or two to enjoy the rhythmic waves of the ocean. And to be honest, I also enjoy moving straight from the couch to the bed in the evening, bypassing the shower altogether!
  • Shower vs bath: Part of my sensory diet used to be a long, relaxing bath over the weekends. I love lying in the bath with a book or simply closing my eyes and taking deep breaths. The drought has definitely thrown a spanner in my bathtub.
    The solution: I’ve measured out the amount of water my 2-minute shower takes. Over weekends I measure out the same amount for bathwater. It’s not ideal and by no means fills the tub, but I prefer this far above a quick lather-on, lather-off shower.
    The benefits: I now enjoy my bath time so much more than in the past and treasure every moment of it …
  • Let’s talk about smells – office smells, body odour, drains and even perfume. Our smell sense is particularly sensitive as it connects directly to the emotional centre of the brain. Some people are more sensitive to smells than others and pick up smells very easily. Strong smells can lead to nausea and poor concentration. I’m not sensitive to smell but even I have noticed the rise of certain smells since we’ve been asked to save water. Some come from flushing toilets with greywater or in shopping malls, not flushing at all. Some people are showering only 3 times a week. Others are wearing the same clothes a few times to do less washing. Even the way we clean our homes has changed to become more water-wise. Along with this, there is a natural rise in unpleasant smells.  And along with that, comes the smells (perfumes, room sprays, deodorisers) to cover the unpleasant smells. This can become quite overwhelming for someone with a low smell threshold, in other words, someone who is very sensitive to odour.
    The solution: Spray a little of your own perfume or a drop of essential oil you like on a scarf and wrap it around your neck.
    The benefits: Having your favourite smell so close by will not only cancel out some of the unpleasant smells, it can also help you to stay calm.

Now it’s your turn.  Please share with us your water experiences.  How has the water crisis impacted your sensory threshold?  And what creative solutions have you come up with to deal with it?

Do our free Sensory Quiz™ for an introduction to your sensory style.

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