Self Care and Your Senses

We hear a lot about the importance of self-care, but sometimes it is difficult to pinpoint the exact thing to do that will help you relax. Forms of relaxation that work for some people might not be calming for you, and that’s okay! We have five senses, and each has the potential to unlock new levels of relaxation for you when you’re in need of some good self-care and calm. 

TASTE

Everyone has a different relationship with food, but we all have some sort of meal or snack that reminds us of happy memories. Whether it’s chicken soup, chamomile tea, or strawberry ice cream, eating something that brings back that sense of calm and comfort is an appetizing way to relax. At the end of the article, I have included a recipe for cinnamon buns that I love, especially because the smell of baking and cinnamon is one of my surefire ways to smile. If you want more ideas for healthy, stress-reducing foods, try 10 Meals That Are Proven to Make You Happier | HowStuffWorks.

SMELL

There is a reason aromatherapy and essential oils have become so popular. There are certain scents, like lavender, lemon, and jasmine, that can boost your mood, lower stress levels, and help you sleep. Additionally, particular scents can jog your memory of events that have happened in your life. This is called olfactory memory, which is closely related to the limbic system, the part of your brain which regulates your mood. 

TOUCH

Touch is another sense that can have an effect on your mood. Studies have shown that when people feel sad, they crave something soft (think comfort blankets). Weighted blankets are used to reduce stress and help release serotonin in the brain (there are risks, however, so make sure it’s not too heavy or you don’t have circulation or sleep problems before using). Warm showers or baths are also great for relaxing you and your muscles.

SIGHT

We all have things that make us happy when we see them (for example, our favorite books, people, or art). There are some things, though, that tends to induce a sense of calm without one having a prior connection to them. The colors blue and green are proven to be relaxing colors, so if your room has a wall in shades of either of those colors or if you have a lot of blue art hanging up, you may have more of a sense of calm in that room than in your bright orange bathroom. Additionally, going on a hike and being surrounded by nature is a great way to detach from your worries and connect to yourself. If you get a chance to see something awe-inspiring, such as a waterfall, the view from the top of a mountain, or a shooting star, you might note a mood increase, a stress decrease, and a heightened sense of gratitude and generosity.

HEARING

Most of us have tried-and-true favorite songs to decrease anxiety and lift our moods and that’s great! For this sense especially, not everything will work for every person, so a white noise generator like A Soft Murmur, where you can create your own mix of sounds, can be helpful. Guided meditation can also help if you need to just focus on your breathing for a while. Classical music may help you relax, as well as providing background noise to your study session if you need music on, but don’t want to get distracted by singing along (I am guilty of this constantly). There were studies done on the instrumental song Weightless by Marconi Union, and apparently, it is the most relaxing song in the world, so check it out! 

Personally, I feel the most relaxed when I can hear rain outside, while I’m under a blanket with a mug of hot tea and something sweet that just came out of the oven—and I know why now!

If you have questions about anything on here, or you want more stress-reducing tips, check out the HereNow app!


Cinnamon Buns

Ingredients:
2 packages of yeast
½ cup of warm water
1 T of sugar
4 ½  cups of flour
½ cup of margarine/butter
¾ cup (soy) milk
½ cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp of salt

Filling:
½ cup of melted margarine/butter
1 ¼ cup of brown sugar
¼ cup of white sugar
2 T of cinnamon
½ tsp of cloves

Frosting:
1 box of confectioner’s sugar
7 T of (soy) milk

Prep:
Dissolve yeast and tablespoon of sugar in lukewarm water. Let the mixture sit for 5 min. Add most of the flour to the yeast. Melt the margarine, let it cool, and add it to the bowl. Add the milk, sugar, egg, and salt. Add the rest of the flour if it is too sticky. Mix until the dough comes together. It should be soft but not sticky. Shape the dough into a ball, coat with oil, and cover. Leave it until it doubles in size. Once the dough has risen, roll into a rectangle between ¼ and ½ inch thick. Brush with melted margarine and sprinkle the sugars and spices. Roll into a large log and slice pieces about an inch long. Coat tins and place each bun facing up. Let the buns sit for ½ hour in a warm place, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 mins, or until golden. Mix milk into the sugar until you get frosting of desired thickness, and spread/pour on buns. Enjoy! 

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