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  • Writer's pictureCaitlin Rosica

Sensory Solutions for Self-Regulation

October is Sensory Processing Awareness Month! This October, I'm focusing on ways that sensory processing can affect an individual in the workplace and giving some thoughts on how workplaces can be better designed to accommodate different sensory needs. This week focuses on sensory seekers and ways to keep employees alert and ready to work!





Have you ever met a kid who LOVES to swing or spin in circles? Well - sensory preferences don’t always change as we grow older, and some adults need sensory input in order to function well! All people, regardless of neurological functioning, use sensory techniques to increase or decrease their level of alertness. When I’m feeling run-down after a long day of class or clinical, I typically will drink some cold water to energize me or will play some coffee shop music to help me wind down. However, some people require a bit more sensory experiences to regulate and get back to focusing, and that’s just fine! There are many ways for companies to provide opportunities for sensory experiences to allow employees to up-regulate or down-regulate their level of arousal and perform at their best.


Everyone processes sensory input differently, so what might make someone calmer and more organized may help another become more alert. I’ve listed some strategies below to help regulate sensory systems in order to be more productive at work.


Vestibular:

  • Walking or taking an exercise break can have both organizing and calming effects on an individual

  • Jumping on a mini trampoline for a short time can provide necessary input to continue working. No trampoline? Try some calf raises!

  • Rocking/rolling side to side on office chair can provide some calming vestibular input.


Proprioceptive

  • Weighted lap vests often serve an organizing purpose and help people focus longer

  • Compression shirts can provide flexibility while engaging in proprioceptive input

  • "Heavy work" is often recommended for organization, but this can be as simple as cleaning your desk or as serious as hitting the office gym to burn off some steam


Taste & Smell

  • Mints like Lifesavers or Altoids can be a quick perk up if you smell it or eat it!

  • Many find that chewing gum helps keep them more alert.

  • Some find that essential oil smells can be calming, but I would be very careful with this tip. Strong smells can be quite bothersome and even cause migraines in many individuals with sensory sensitivities.

  • Drink something cold to give yourself an alerting boost


Sight

  • Watching a spinning or rhythmic object can help regulate your sensory system

  • Bright sunshine can bring some energy back into your day


What ways do you use sensory strategies to help you regulate in your everyday life?

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