On my zoom appt with my therapist last week, she suggested using things that use my five senses. I then remembered that years ago I compiled this list. The collage is my own.
Because I have ADHD and OCD, I tend to get overwhelmed by too much stimulation to my senses.
So I came up with ways to “nurture” myself, and give my senses a break, by concentrating on just one at a time. This is my “Therapy By Senses”:
You don’t have to had ADHD for this to work. In today’s society many of us are so tied up with technology and multi-tasking, that we have lost “touch” with our other senses. By isolating one sense at a time, you can learn a lot about yourself and the world around you. These were written with women in mind, and adults, but many of them can used by men and also by children, couples or as a family. Only do things that call out to you.. doing something that makes you uncomfortable won’t make you feel better.
Listen CD’s or tapes of environmental sounds.
Laugh! Watch a comedy movie.
Listen to a ballet and dance.
Sit in your backyard or in a park and listen to the birds.
Sing as loud as you can to the radio in your car.
Go to a symphony orchestra performance.
Listen to someone talk to you without worrying about what you will say.
Listen to books on tape while walking, driving, resting.
Listen to music of one instrument, such as cello or harp or piano.
Borrow music CD’s of symphonies.
Go to concerts of various music genres.
Hang up windchimes, inside and out… it creates positive chi around you.
Invest in a tabletop fountain.
Watch tropical fish swim in a home aquarium.
Watch for a shooting star.
Walk through a garden in full bloom.
Watch ocean waves ebb and flow.
Look for the first sign of spring; the first robin, crocus, etc.
Paint with watercolors, oils, acrylics.
Take pictures of things, not people. Try using black and white setting on your camera.
Look at something, really look at it for the first time.
Buy paints in the primary colors … what new shades can you make?
Put on different kinds of music and paint to the music.
Rest with cucumber slices or wet tea bags on your eyes.
Go on a whale watch in the ocean.
Watch a baby, or a kitten, or puppy move.
Lie on the grass and watch the shapes that clouds make.
Make an adult blanket, using soft fabrics in your favorite color. (Buy remnants of fabric you like to touch… velvet, satin, fake fur, plush, cotton. Try to get them all the same color. Cut out squares of each all the same size and sew together into a patchwork quilt. touching soft material helps when you feel stressed out. Kind of like an adult version of a baby blanket.)
Make a collage using assorted textures of paper, fabric, natural
Use various grades of sandpaper, sand a piece of wood smooth.
Walk barefoot on a sandy beach.
Have a snowball fight in the middle of the summer. (You have to plan ahead for this one.. in winter make snowballs and save them in the freezer until a very hot day and then take them out and enjoy. We did this one year during a 4th of July party.. while all of the guys were in the hot tub, all of the women pelted them with ice cold snowballs.. it was totally unexpected and a blast!)
Learn American Sign Language.
Carve and whittle a walking stick.
Go ice skating, especially on a hot day.
Get a body piercing and/or a tattoo.
Try mehendi henna temporary tattoos.
Try body painting, glitter gels, rhinestones and jewels glued on.
Learn to play an instrument; piano, harp, guitar, that uses your
Make love, have sex, self-pleasure.
Do yoga and tai chi, see how it increases your personal chi (qi).
Paint your toenails and fingernails with colorful nail polishes.
Run, walk, swim, move….. Notice how it makes you feel.
Do some hands-on crafts; claywork, ceramics, pottery.
Get an acupuncture treatment.
Plant seeds in the earth.
Cuddle up in a warm pair of flannel pajamas, under a soft blanket before a roaring fire on a cold night.
Receive a Therapeutic Touch treatment, such as Reiki.. giving it can be as beneficial.
Enjoy the feel of doing needlework; hand-quilting, crocheting, cross stitch, embroidery, beadwork, needlepoint, lacemaking, weaving. Again, anything that requires hand work.
Buy a soft sweater or silky blouse and wear it right next to your skin.
Enjoy the smooth feel of your legs just after shaving them and smoothing on lotion.
Do some messy childhood tactile arts; playdough, fingerpaints, mudpies….
Hanging wet laundry on an old-fashioned clothesline, and then folding the crisp dry clothes later.
A hot bath with lots of soft bubbles.
Hug a big, soft, plush teddy bear.
Dance; take classes in ballet, modern, hip hop, lyrical, tap, belly-dancing, square dancing, western line dancing, ballroom, salsa.
Walk in the rain without an umbrella. (If you are from Seattle, you probably already do this.)
Smooth on a soft body lotion, on arms, legs, feet, hands….
Get a massage, AND a facial, AND foot reflexology.
Play with a Relaxing Rice Box: Color raw rice with a few drops of one color of food coloring and a few drops of desired essential oil. Let sit and dry. Store in a low wooden box. This rice is very relaxing to play with, sift thru your fingers, fill small silver or wooden cups, pour out. Revert back to childhood. I had a big rice box (that held 50 pounds of raw rice) for my daycare and it was amazing how playing in that immediately calmed the kids down.
Trace a long a finger labyrinth. (You can finds these online… trace on the computer screen or print out… you can also make your own from wood, clay, embroidered, etc.)
Take a hot steamy shower.
Give and get lots of hugs.
Sit outside and feel the warmth of the sun on your face.
Invest in a good aromatherapy book and some essential oils; such as lavender and orange or grapefruit. Lavender relaxes you, citrus energizes.
Make aromatherapy playdough. (Any playdough recipe with essential oils and food coloring added… purple and lavender, orange and orange, peppermint and red, etc).
Smell the air just after a big rain storm.
Use lavender essential oil spray on your pillow at night to promote sleep.
Do steam-inhalation to clear out your sinuses. Use clary sage and eucalyptus to help with sinus problems. Put both in a steaming bowl of water and use a towel as a tent over your head.
Shop for scents: walk into a bakery, to Starbucks, a fishmarket, etc
Use an aromatherapy burner. Fill the burner bowl with warm water, essential oil and light the candle.
Place essential oil onto a warm, filled bath and relax.
Place 1 or 2 drops essential oil onto the skin. Be sure to add to a carrier oil first, most essential oils should not be used “neat” or undiluted directly on to skin.
Add about three drops of your favorite Synergy blend to sweet almond oil for a massage.
Add 20 drops of essential oil to 4 ounces of water in a spray bottle. Spray throughout the house.
Make or buy potpourri and put around your house to gently scent the room.
Add essential oil directly to the vacuum cleaner bag before vacuuming. One way to do this is to add a few drops of an oil to baking soda and vacuum that up.
Put 5 drops of your favorite fragrance in with the clothes wash. Especially nice for lingerie.
Wear your favorite essential oil in a special aromatherapy necklace.
Make a pot of hot simmering soup rich with beef broth, vegetables and herbs.
Rice Healing Pillows: Use tea towels or a large wash cloth. Sew them up on three sides and fill with rice and herbs. Warm up in the micro wave and place where you have some aches and pains.
Buy flowers for their scent.
Make citrus fruit pomanders with whole cloves. Piece the fruit with the point of a knife and push in the cloves. These can be “cured” in a low oven for several hours and they will last for several years. Kept fresh they will last for several weeks in the summer and months in the winter.
Make scented sachets for your drawers and closets.
Plant scented geraniums around your front door.
Buy a new perfume, and perhaps the bath products to go with it.
Burn some incense and meditate.
Grow a fragrant herb garden.
Make homemade scented soaps and candles.
Drink clear clean water, and think about the taste.
Do tastings. You’ve heard of wine, cheese, and beer tastings… how about chocolate, nuts, exotic fruits…
Hot chocolate chip cookies and ice cold milk.
Eat a pint of your favorite ice cream directly out of the carton without a shred of guilt.
Eat a roasted hot dog at the beach or at a baseball game.
The taste of kissing someone after drinking a glass of wine.
Sautéed garlic and onions in anything.
Fresh hot bread dipped into extra-virgin olive oil.
The rich tender taste of a delicious prime rib.
Fresh strawberries, raspberries and cherries.
Catch snowflakes on your tongue.
Get your teeth cleaned at the dentist.