This year we are adjusting to an ever-changing landscape which bring uncertainty to our life. However, we can focus on what we can control to find a sense of security and meet our needs to feel content. Sometimes it is easy to overlook simple ways we can meet these needs. Our senses – sight, sound, taste, smell, touch – are connected to our thinking, mood, and memories. Using our senses our bodies can regulate and feel homeostasis. Together, we can identify how your senses can bring positivity and provide a natural sense of wellbeing and overall calm.
Consider incorporating scents or aromatherapy to help cope with stress. For example, showering and bathing with soaps that smell and feel refreshing and clean or having a pouch of lavender in your car while you drive can be a positive turn for your mood. Special tip: Lavender, Ylang Ylang and Bergamot are helpful soothing essential oils that can calm and soothe the senses.
Have you ever noticed that viewing specific art, media or content puts you in a good state of mind? Pay special attention to viewing things that do not dysregulate your nervous system by either exposing too much media or trauma right now. Some examples could be taking a drive through open and unoccupied scenery, a calm setting of moving water, or a place where you see something beautiful. You can even watch a movie that provides stimulating images and color. The goal is to feel positive and engaged.
Try using soothing things like smooth rocks, gadgets or fidget toys. They are not just entertaining, but they tend to soothe the body and help stimulate the nervous system in a meaningful way. A great example is petting an animal to feel the fur but also the need for companionship. You can also find items around the house that have a hot or cold temperature or give yourself a facial “massage” in the morning. Get creative!
Lastly, find audio that is useful to listen to like podcasts or reflective references that help you find calm or balanced. This is quick and easy to incorporate right away. For example, listening to ocean waves on your device while you are working, or listening to birds in nature or even giving your child something beautiful to listen to such as music.
I invite you to share ways that establishing a new routine has helped you cope during this time – you just might inspire another person.
About Jennifer Rego, MSW, LICSW
Jennifer is a psychotherapist with over sixteen years of experience in the mental health field based in Massachusetts. She provides individual and family counseling, movement-based healing, clinical supervision and facilitates various workshops in the community with other multi-disciplinary professional providers.