You’re at the mall finishing your Christmas shopping. The lights are super duper bright, Christmas music is blasting on repeat, perfume is overwhelming from the beauty counter, people are bumping into you, your mask is making it hard to breathe.
What are the symptoms of sensory overload?
I’m pretty sure I can’t be the only one who feels overwhelmed by my own senses at times. Sometimes, there is just too much stimulation, and my brain starts to either shut down, or go into overdrive.
Sensory overload is different for everyone, but it can look like this:
- Anxiety and the inability to relax
- Restlessness and physical discomfort
- The urge to cover your ears and eyes to block out the source of input
- Feelings of stress, fear, or panic
- Feeling 'wound up' or on edge
So...how do you calm down your sensory overload?
Taking control of your reactions, and being pro-active can feel really empowering. Before you go out, you can think about how you might manage overwhelming situations - going shopping at quieter times, wearing noise canceling headphones & blue light glasses, or even just shopping online. It's OK to admit that things are just a lot at times.
You can also try these things in my Sensory Overload 1st Aid Kit. I came up with a list of things I can choose from when things are a bit too much, and I need an internal break. And what better time than the holidays to share this with you lovely folks?! Because I’m sure a lot of us will not only be shopping more, but also maybe welcoming family and friends into our houses this year.
And feel free to add or delete your own preferences as appropriate. This is YOUR list, and the more specific the better!