Be your own ‘sensory input manager’

Wees je eigen ‘prikkel-manager’

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It happened again, without my noticing. I’ve been feeling super anxious for a while now. And yes, I have an appointment with a client at a school soon. A consultation with a teacher and parent. But that’s nothing to get nervous about, because I’m looking forward to it. The observation, the conversations and the completed questionnaires resulted in a nice report with explanations, scores and lots of tips & strategies. I am looking forward to discussing the report. Or don’t I?

Why am I so hyper? I should be all relaxed. After all, I am sitting in a lovely armchair in the garden, enjoying the beautiful summer weather. While doing some admin, not really my favorite activity. But as an independent entrepreneur you can choose your own ‘office’, so doing admin does not give me any unpleasant thoughts today. And yet… those jitters in my arms and legs, that weird feeling in my body. So recognizable when something very exciting is about to happen.

And then I know; I wasn’t paying attention this morning! On my way to a friend I stopped at the Coffee Company, because I was a bit early for the appointment. I had my first coffee there. At my friend’s house, numbers two and three followed. All with caffeine. And here was the mistake. I forgot for a moment that it is better to drink my coffee without caffeine. One cup is okay, but after two or three cups I just get a little jittery. I sometimes forget that during such a layed back morning.

This is also the moment when I realize that overresponsiveness has happened to me again. I happens once in a while, that I am undergoing life – not thinking too much about things – and that (too much) sensory input comes my way. Then there are unexpected situations in which I either become even more sensitive to input (for example due to stress, not being fit or indeed drinking too much coffee with caffeine) or that I get an overload of input and my sensory system gets flooded (a party that is a little too busy , going grocery shopping at 5:30 PM during a weekday). Resulting in rather unpleasant feelings, such as irritation, anxiousness and being extremely responsive. And this is where I am at now. In my lovely garden, feeling all jumpy.

Fortunately, I can now switch directly to active ‘sensory input management’. I know exactly what to do next. I leave for my appointment very early, so that I get to drive in ‘relaxed-mode’ not having to worry about being late. I put my phone on silent and I also leave the radio off, I put on calming music. And although the school I go to has very respectable vending-machine-cappuccino, I’ll stick to my bottle of water for now.

So nice that I can manage sensory input. I know what I need when things go wrong. Even better is that I can also explain it to others. Because, of course yóu can manage input too. If you also recognize that moment that you suddenly realize that you are overwhelmed by sensory input. Then you can put the ‘brake’ on and make sure you get back into ‘chill mode’. For this you want less input and calming input. Nice to know what you need at such a moment.

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