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Using your senses to help cope with Lockdown

Love your teddy - @alinabuzunova via Twenty20
Tags: Coping

Our senses can over-function when you're stressed. Isolation induces stress because our survival brain perceives that you're isolated from personal social contact. It will then produce stress to try and make us either initiate social contact – or withdraw to the safest place. You might notice you are smelling or hearing things more acutely.

Soothing the senses can help. Here are some ways ...

The seven senses


Cuddle a soft blanket or stuffed animal. Here's one that is especially good if you are a crafty person. It's a touchpad, made of different textures to decrease anxiety and increase focus. Take a piece of material, board or cardboard scissors and glue. Have a rummage to find pieces of material with a range of textures. Think fur, satin, silk. Look on the garage for other textures, like sandpaper. Cut them into squares and attach them to the backing board. When you're stressed, bored, need something to refocus onto, or just need a break, close your eyes and concentrate on the different textures. This is a fun thing to do with children too.


Have a comforting drink like a hot chocolate. Chewing gum has been shown to relieve mild anxiety. Have a nibble on any aromatics you might have in your garden (good for smell too), like mint, rosemary or thyme.


Get out photos of holidays and fun family times. Find bubbles to blow. Draw or paint (you don't have to be Rembrandt). Find nature videos on the internet, especially accompanied by soothing music. Pay special attention to what you can see when you walk in the neighbourhood or park.


Pay particular attention to what you can smell on your walks. Dab or diffuse lavender, eucalyptus, or any other essential oil you find soothing. Burn incense. Go around your garden and see what interesting things there are to smell.


Play your favourite music, but why not try a different kind, if you like rock, try classical. Put on nature sounds – I particularly like frogs and crickets. Try drumming. If you don't have a drum, try a cardboard box or plastic tub, and of course, play an instrument.

Vestibular (movement)

If you have one, a rocking chair is calming, as is a swing. If you don't have a swing, you could turn it into a project and make one. One of my best friends has one in her living room. If you have a trampoline or rebounder, gently bounce and relax.

Proprioceptive (comforting pressure)

A weighted blanket is the newest way to use this sense to soothe. They can be expensive, so wrapping yourself in an ordinary blanket can be soothing. We like feeling warm and snug. It's tantamount to being held in parents arms or being wrapped up tight in a baby blanket.

Don't let your senses get on top of you. Use them to soothe instead.