The silly season – Why you need to stop and smell the roses

Posted: 20 May, 2016

By: Annabella Sequeira

Section: Education

Silly season smell the roses

Sensory overload and racing against the clock – come up for air and take sensory breaks.

November has crept up on me, and I find myself running from one end of the city to the other like a headless chicken. When I look at the calendar and all the activities (exams, sport, marimbas and nativity plays), that my children are expected to attend in this last month of school, I want to bury my head under the sand and hide like an ostrich. Whether we are teachers, parents or children, we are all under the same pressure to maintain some kind of order.

The reality of the situation is that we are racing against the clock to finish all those tasks that we are expected to finish and time waits for nobody. We get ourselves into such a flat spin that we forget to breathe, to just slow down and to look at things in a logical and orderly manner. In reality time is not moving faster, we are just loading our days with more tasks and we forget to take care of ourselves. We have less patience for colleagues, partners and our own children due to overload.

So before we run ourselves into the ground, let’s take time to live sensibly and sensationally. Let’s decrease the sensory overload that is adding to our stress levels and emotional states by taking sensory breaks. Take at least 20 minutes a day from the sensory input that may be overwhelming you. This is not a luxury, even for a full-time parent and working mom, your survival depends on it!

Sensory Strategies:

• Close your eyes and visualise your happy place
• Walk away from technology for a few minutes
• Read a book
• Colour in – I love those adult colouring-in books
• Listen to calming music
• Put headphones on to block out surrounding sounds
• Find a quiet space
• A deep massage
• A big bear hug
• Deep breathing
• Sit in a swing or lie in a hammock
• Go for a walk in nature
• Play a board game

We are all wired differently and we use our sensory systems in order to calm and alert ourselves depending on the requirement of the tasks at hand. The ability to spend anything from 5 minutes to an hour away from that which is overwhelming and overloading us is important to avoid burnout, something that takes much more than 5 minutes to recover from.

So go ahead, TAKE 5, TAKE A BREAK! Our sanity depends on it.