Everyone’s talking diets. We’re talking sensory diets (and snacks)
I’m pretty sure that after the festive season the words ‘snacks’ and ‘diets’ are on everyone’s lips (no pun intended!). Today we want to introduce you to a different kind of snack and diet. It will not only keep you healthy, but will improve your happiness and mental health at the same time. We are talking about sensory snacks and sensory diets.
At Sensory Intelligence Consulting we advocate using your senses to improve productivity and well-being. Two of the main tools that we use are called sensory snacks and sensory diets.
SENSORY SNACKS are quick and easy ways to self-regulate (this means calm down and focus). We know that everyone is always pressured for time, so we want to give you quick, easy and practical sensory solutions to help you manage your stress levels. Sensory snacks can take anything from 5 seconds to 5 minutes, e.g.
- Quick breathing exercises,
- Smelling your coffee before you drink it
- Playing with a fidget toy
The idea behind sensory snacks is that we use them every day, and many times a day! To find your own sensory snacks, think of how you use your senses on a daily basis. Do you have a pet? Stroking your pet or burying your face in their fur is a sensory snack! Do you have to sit in traffic every morning? Take 10 deep breaths, or play instrumental music – that’s a sensory snack. Sensory snacks fit into your everyday life and take up no extra time.
SENSORY DIETS are activities to introduce in your daily living to meet your sensory needs in a more prolonged manner. These are the activities we do after hours that we enjoy and that help us to de-stress. It nurtures our sensory needs through exercise, social activities, creative outlets, and other activities that we enjoy. Examples of sensory diets are yoga, running, going for a swim, surfing, dancing or playing outside with the kids. When considering your sensory diet, make sure it includes activities that you can commit to doing on a weekly basis, or even more often. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I love doing?
- What makes me feel calm?
- What gives me energy?
- What should I do more of?
- What should I do less of? (to make time for sensory diets!)
Dr Annemarie Lombard, founder and CEO of SIQ developed the Sensory Matrix™ – an online assessment tool that identifies our different sensory thresholds. The results can assist us to choose activities that are aligned with our base, sensory needs and would therefore be more sustainable over the long term. Read more about it and find out what your sensory thresholds are!