Like our body, our brain needs a spa too!
-I hear everything, the sound of you scratching your neck, the car that drove by 2 blocks to the east, my own heartbeat, I hear them constantly and loud, it’s everywhere. I put my hands on my ears and sit down-
One of the simplest solutions to relieving stress and exhaustion is having a spa day. You surround yourself with good music, nice scents, and in a less busy environment. What you see, what you hear, and what you smell has a direct impact on how your brain is releasing hormones.
“I can handle everything better now; I don’t know what happened but everything isn’t affecting me as much”– this is what you would normally feel after a spa day. If you took a regular spa day for yourself, it would have a long-term effect on how you face and handle stressful situations.
Think of when your child has a meltdown, their brain has been focused on everything that triggers its overwhelm for so long that it needs to release the built-up discomforts all at once. By introducing Sensory Enrichment activities to the brain, you give it a chance to take a minute and relax. It goes from exploding to a calmer state and is better prepared to face sensory matters. A common issue with autism is the sensory overload the brain experiences. Helping the brain regulate its dopamine and serotonin levels can help lift the overwhelming feeling.
Sensory Enrichment Therapy exposes the brain to new experiences which leads to the development of new connections. We are able to achieve this by combining the sense of touch and smell.
Nurturing the sense of touch and smell is crucial since these two are the first two senses a child develops. They are related directly to our safety system. Some of the kids on the ASD don’t like the sense of touch. It’s important to acknowledge what they like. Therefore, if they prefer deep pressure, start with that and gradually shift to a gentler touch.
If someone walked up to you and put something in your face and said: “Smell this,” Your immediate reaction would be to take a step back. In order to implement this in a way that isn’t intrusive we introduce the concept of “The Scented Hug.” Apply the scent you want on your shoulder or to a towel and lay it on your shoulder. Then bring your child into your arms and give them a backrub. In this case, you don’t trigger their safety signals and are able to give their brain its “Spa Treatment.”
We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to take a spa day for yourself too. You cannot pour from an empty cup so make sure you are taking care of yourself as well as your child.
Many of Mendability’s protocols act like a spa day for the brain.
Check out our blog post about how to implement the same impact for when your child comes home: 6 Steps to Relieve After-School Overload