Director Top Tips: Sensory Favourites to reduce stress and anxiety

dates-n-mates Aberdeen Director Sarah, has now hosted two anti-stress sensory workshops for our members.

At these events, Sarah prepared stations with different sensory and stress relieving activities and items alongside information about the benefits of each. She also assisted members in trying these techniques which everyone really enjoyed.

In this post, Sarah is sharing some of her favourite stress & anxiety relief activities and sensory tools, which you can try. All of the ideas below are provided by Sarah based on her own experiences which she hopes will help others learning disabilities and/or autism:

Sense: Visual

  • Glitter in water

Watching glitter in water can help people to calm and regulate their feelings. This can help people to stop worrying about their problems or stresses avoiding overwhelming emotions. It is a peaceful visual tool that I would recommend.

  • Mood lights

This helps me reduce a lot of negative energy. I like to turn my mood light on when I come home and make sure the room is dark and watch the colourful patterns on the ceiling while lying in bed.

  • Reversible sequins

I love watching the reflection of colours and shapes of sequins as well as running my hands through it. These sequins you can find on a lot of items such as cushions or notebooks.

Favourite Satisfying Videos to watch

  • Soap carving

The process involves someone slicing a bar of soap into tiny squares and then slowly carving and letting the tiny squares rain down on the table. I like to watch this type of video whilst listening to the satisfying sound of the tiny squares hitting the table through my earphones.

  • Kinetic sand

People who make these videos have different ways of playing with the sand which include slicing into pieces, pressing it down with a potato masher and rolling the sand into ball shapes, dropping them into a glass and pressing them all down to form together. It is satisfying and calming to watch.

  • Cleaning videos

This may sound strange and bizarre to people who absolutely hate cleaning but not only is it oddly satisfying to watch the dirt disappear, it is also a good motivational method to get myself to clean at home. I feel relaxed after I have tidied and don’t need to worry about tidying later. There is a variety of different cleaning videos I like to watch which includes hoovering and pressure washing. Why not give it a try yourself?

All videos can be found by searching on YouTube or Instagram.

Relaxing music - sensory anti-stress tools by dates-n-mates

Music/sounds (auditory stimming)

  • Rain sounds – I like to listen to rain sounds before bedtime because it helps me relax and fall asleep faster. A good night’s sleep is also important for relieving stress.
  • My music – I love to listen to my favourite music from my phone while cleaning. Especially when I am hoovering because I don’t like the noise of the hoover and I can have my music to block it out.
  • Meditation – I like to put on meditation music while I’m having a bath with some lit candles and incense. It helps reduce a lot of stress and anxiety

Scents and Smells

  • Lavender – I like to use lavender scented incense sticks or wax burners when I am at home. I also love to spray lavender scents on my bed and use the ‘Sleepy lavender body lotion’ from Lush. Not only is this is the best anxiety reliever for me, but it can also help me sleep better and reduce anger and agitation. I also like to add a few drops of lavender oil on my pillow to help me sleep and relax
  • Lemon – The lemon scent helps me with concentration, and it contains calming properties that are helpful if I am feeling anxious or run down.
  • Rose – The rose smell can help reduce stress and it is also shown to have anti-depressant benefits used to calm and uplift a person.

Other calming activities

  • Colour therapy – I like to colour patterns and shapes on adult colouring books. This helps me reduce stress and anxiety and it helps me sleep. There are a variety of different books you can buy and try out yourself.

colour therapy for adults with learning disabilities

I hope you can try some of the ideas above whenever you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious and that they help you as much as they help me.

Dates-n-mates Aberdeen Director, Sarah Paterson