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SAM comes to the rescue and helps you survive the sensory overwhelming holidays!
10 tips for happy holidays without overstimulation. Specially for highly sensitive children and adults.
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There are a number of exciting yet stressful weeks ahead. The holidays are often packed with extra stimuli. The days are different, the classroom is festively decorated, cheerfully meant Christmas songs in the shopping centre, brightly shining Christmas decorations in shop windows, busy family gatherings full of high expectations and loud fireworks during (but often also days before) New Year's Eve.
Even your own living room is no longer safe from all these decorations and festive stimuli. Your nice quiet spot in the house is rudely disturbed by a colourfully decorated Christmas tree full of (flickering) lights.
This time of year brings extra tension and stress for highly sensitive children and adults. Not surprisingly, outbursts and meltdowns due to overstimulation occur faster and more often. So it is extra important to eliminate annoying stimuli and de-stimulate in time!
We would like to share 10 tips with you that will help you get through the holidays without overstimulation. So that everyone can enjoy themselves!
TIP 1: Avoid annoying clothing irritations
We too like to go to a party dressed up nicely, but get the itch from stinging seams and irritating labels on the inside of that fancy horror shirt. We wear an ultra-soft SAM base layer under our party outfit: a tank top, t-shirt or longsleeve. Ideal to avoid feeling that unpleasant feeling. Or how about the Stylish Comfort trousers for adults? Stylish on the outside, super soft on the inside! This way, clothes don't create extra stimuli, because there are already plenty of those during these holidays.
TIP 2: Eat before you go to the party
This may seem crazy, because often the party is actually a Christmas dinner or New Year's brunch, but we never leave for the party hungry. We eat and drink before we go. That way, we can wait longer for food without getting 'hangry'. And don't like a dish? No problem, we've already eaten so we can skip some.
TIP 3: Ask if you can arrive before everyone else
Entering a busy room with many people is often difficult for highly sensitive people. Ask if you can arrive half an hour before the start of a party, so you can slowly see everyone entering and get used to the amount of stimuli slowly building up.
TIP 4: Empty your stimuli-bucket in the car
Make sure you can start the festivities with as empty an stimuli-bucket as possible. Is it a long car ride to the party? Perfect! Listen to your favourite music on the way there and use the soothing Feel Good weighted collar to unwind. The fewer stimuli in our bucket when the party starts, the better.
TIP 5: Be upfront about what is going to happen
To make the party as predictable and enjoyable as possible, clarify as much as possible beforehand. Who will attend. What will be on the menu. What the (global) schedule is. The more clarity, the better. If unexpected things do happen on a party day, it helps to "subtitle" them live. Explain what is happening, what you see and hear, why it is happening and how long you expect it to last. This way, you help increase predictability.
TIP 6: Take regular sensory- time-outs!
Take your weighted cuddly toy or your SAM slow down collar with you and retreat for an occasional stimulus time-out during Christmas celebrations. Regular moments of relaxation, with safe and comforting deep pressure stimuli, will calm your overstimulated body and help prevent overstimulation.
TIP 7: Fidget during Christmas dinner
The SAM Stress Ball and Chewy Fidget have saved the party on several occasions! They provide a welcome distraction while sitting neatly still at the Christmas table. They help regulate stimuli and have a calming effect.
TIP 8: Don't turn presents into surprises!
The idea of surprises creates extra tension. My son only likes a surprise when he knows what the surprise is. And sometimes even that is too exciting. In that case, it helps to also know how it will be wrapped and when it will be gifted. Choose the presents together in advance and wrap them in transparent foil. Not exciting? Wonderful! That's exactly the point. This way, unwrapping will be a party for everyone.
TIP 9: Go to bed with an empty mind
After an exciting day full of stimuli and impressions, take the time to discuss them with your child or write them down for yourself. This way, you can go to sleep with an empty mind. Make sure you take enough time for this, even if you got home later than expected and it is way past bedtime. Good night!
TIP 10: Create relaxation moments | De-stimulation is key!
After a busy family day, plan a lovely day to relax. Let things go. Lower the demands and expectations on yourself (and your child) and do only your favourite things. After a day of high expectations and lots of things that 'had to be done' now take some time for nothing at all. Provide pleasant, safe, predictable stimuli! We like lying in our hammock with the SAM slow down collar then. But you can also think about watching a Disney film from your Big Bird's nest, a lovely bath with your luxurious bath foam, your favourite food, your favourite audiobook or just lounging around all day in your home suit. Oh and don't forget to put your phone on silent and the doorbell off so you can enjoy and recharge undisturbed!
We hope you find the tips valuable and that this will make the stimulating holidays a real celebration for everyone!
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