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Sensory Soothers

looking up at the sky through the tops of tall maple trees

We build soothing sensory activities into our Vitalize Kitsap Clubs each day, and wanted to share some of our favorites that you might enjoy too. Sensory activities like these help center us in our bodies, soothe anxiety, focus our thoughts, and help us be fully present and engaged with each other. Seriously, these are good for ALL of us!

Here are a few Vitalize Kitsap favorites:

  • Go outside. You can go for a Forest Bathing walk/roll/hike, or you can simply step outside and take a few slow, deep breaths.

  • Cuddle under a weighted blanket or stuffy/plushie.

  • Run your hands through a bowl of glass beads, marbles, or smooth glass drops. A bowl like this looks beautiful in your office/home, so it will bring some visual joy even when you're not enjoying the feel and sound of the glass tumbling over your hands and through your fingers.

  • Put on noise-canceling headphones and play a game of solitaire or simply shuffle a deck of your favorite playing or oracle cards. Enjoy the feel and sound of the cards, and stop as you like to enjoy the images if you're shuffling through your favorite oracle deck (there are so many of these available, or you can make your own using images you love).

  • Turn off the lights and light a candle or put a fireplace video on your laptop and zone out, gazing at the flames.

  • Hum a long note to create vibrations in your chest, head, and lips. Basically pretend you're a cat - we humans can't purr quite like cats do, but we can hum. Enjoy the resonance of the humming in your body and let your brain take a break from analyzing the day. Just hum.

  • Take a laughing breath break: This is our version of Laughter Yoga. Sit or stand comfortably and say “HA HA HA” out loud, giving each “HA” a good out-breath. Smile between “HA”s - Even if you don’t feel happy, SMILE. Then do some more “HA HA HA” breathing. Doing this alone will cheer you up and center you, and if you do this with a friend or group you are guaranteed to start laughing for real.

  • Take an aromatherapy break. This can be as simple as taking the top off a bottle of your favorite essential oil and taking a sniff, or you can mull some spices in a pan of water on your stove, use an essential oil diffuser, put some vanilla on a piece of flannel and store it in your pocket for soothing sniffs during the day, wear an aromatherapy pendant, etc.

  • Hug yourself. Wrap your arms around yourself and hug tight. Repeat as necessary.

What's your favorite dopamine sensory activity? Please add to our list!

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