Interoception (inner sense) drawing…🧠

Hello! Here is drawing number six (part of a series on our 8 senses, scroll back in my feed to see my previous drawings!) ✏️ which is all about Interoception which is a lesser known sense that actually helps you understand and fell what’s going on inside your body (think of it as an inner sense)…

  • A sensory diet is important! It’s a way of self regulating (like using fidget and stim toys) and usually involves physical activities like rolling on a yoga ball, having time on a swing or trampoline, heavy work activities like using weights or lifting and carrying things. The idea is a sensory diet helps you to become more grounded as you are getting the regular input that your body needs. As a result you may feel calmer and more in control of your behaviour and mood. I’ve definitely seen the benefits of having a sensory diet (for example I use a therapressure brush to do body brushing which has helped me to desensitise my limbs to touch).
  • I never feel full…like my stomach and brain just doesn’t have that sense wired in..it’s really odd and can be annoying (comment down below with a hands-up emoji to join the club) I experience this even more in restaurants, due to the busy, noisy environment I literally cannot connect to what my stomach is feeling because I am filtering so much other information.
  • Visual cues – these can be super helpful, especially to remind ourselves to do daily tasks like personal hygiene, to drink and eat enough and what to expect during the day. I know a lot of people use social stories (google the term for more info, they were developed by Carol Gray in 1991) as a tool to help with self care skills, social skills, changes in routine, etc. You can make Velcro versions so you can easily change out what your day looks like.
  • Hypersensitivity to pain…if you’re a sensory being you may well be hypersensitive (over-sensitive) to pain…I know I am!! I am very tuned in to pain and when something hurts it REALLY HURTS even if it’s something small like a cut it’ll be super distracting to me. Equally you may be hyposensitive to pain (under-sensitive) and not realise if you are hurt/injured.
  • Grounding exercises – these are super useful when your mind is whirring, thoughts swirling and your heartbeat feels a bit rapid and all over the place. Most smart watches have in-built breathing exercises / apps built into them (e.g Apple Watch does, my Fitbit does too!) and these can be helpful in terms of distraction by looking at something visual and timing your breath along with an animation. Of course there are lots of different grounding exercises, another good one to use when you are overwhelmed is to sit and use your senses to ground you, name a few things you can hear, smell, touch, see, etc. This can diverts your brain and distract you.
  • Alexithymia is a difficulty in recognising emotions and identifying feelings. This is something my autism assessor said she think I might struggle with. I definitely find it super difficult to explain my feelings to others because I genuinely cannot recognise or process my own emotions.

    Do comment down below if you can relate to anything in my drawing or anything I’ve said, I’m always keen to hear how everyone copes with these things. Two more drawings to go in this little series!

Fidget and Stim Toys ✨

I did a little photoshoot with my small box of fidget and stim toys (because why the hell not?). I think I underestimate how helpful these can really be and I forget to use them if they aren’t in my line of sight, which is when I end up biting my nails, bouncing my legs or flicking / fidgeting using my eyelashes and eyebrows.

I appreciate those might sound weird but literally if I have nothing in front of me I somehow unconsciously resort to doing these things which can end up being a little bit destructive. I’ll list the links to the fidgets below (or head over to my YouTube channel and they are linked in an older sensory box video I did)

Most of the fidgets are from Amazon, The Works, Flying Tiger, The Entertainer or direct online stores:

Sight and Visual Processing…👁

Sight and Visual Processing…here is a new drawing (part of a series on our 8 senses, scroll back to see my previous drawings!) ✏️

  • Mood lighting is…THE BEST. I have @philipshue lights in my bedroom and it makes the world of difference especially before bed as it’s such a calming way to unwind rather than having my main light on 💡
  • DO NOT get me started on a rant about fluorescent and neon clothing. I once ranted for a solid few minutes on my podcast (search 21andsensory hehe sneaky plug right there) about a guy who worked in my open plan office who ALWAYS hung his bright yellow fluorescent cycling jacket in my view EVERY DAY. Gees it was too much to handle visually! I knew he was unaware the pain it was causing me but it’s the little things like this that can really affect my mood and ability to generally function! 🚴‍♂️
  • Visual stims such as bubble liquid timers, desktop and fidget spinners are the best! 🙌🏻
  • Lights flashing such as sirens, alarms and cameras can be disorientating and bewildering 🚨🚔📸
  • Bright screens = not okay with me. I always have my screen brightness down whether it’s on my phone, tablet or laptop ☀️😎
  • Aaaah clean and tidy places fill me with joy visually! Tidy room = a tidier(ish) mind for me 😍
  • Okay ewww colourful shelving at supermarkets = NOT cool. I cannot find what I need (cereal aisle, confectionery aisle, you know what I mean) it’s borders on physically painful to walk down these aisles and it messes with my mind trying to process all the colours at once 👀
  • And finally…hello sequins. I have sequinned fidgets, notebook, doorstop and a pillow! I love the sight of sequins especially in sunlight (and the sensory feedback in terms of texture too!) 💚

So there you have it, what do you love and hate in terms of visuals? Comment down below!

What is stimming? 🤷🏻‍♀️

Hi everyone 👋 this is a post in collaboration with the wonderful @agonyautie. Sara suggested working together on a post together all about stimming and what it looks like visually. Here are some wise words from @agonyautie:

‘Stop shaming stimming. Stimulate yourself through your senses. Have fun, Stim freely, be respectful of others and Stim Shame Free. Make sure to stim safely and stim boldly!’

I’ve tried to visually represent in my two illustrations ✏️ the wide variety of things that can be referred to as stims (which is short for self-regulatory behaviour). Stimming helps a person to self calm and process overwhelming environments. Some stims can be quite subtle such as hair twirling or chewing whereas others are more noticeable and can be destructive such as skin picking (dermatillomania) or hair pulling (Trichotillomania) which can cause damage.

It’s important to recognise that stimming safely (whether you are a child or adult) is okay and not something to ever be ashamed of. It should not be looked down on or discouraged. Go forth and stim freely! 🙌

Link to my original Instagram post here

Good Distractions (a new drawing!)✏️

 

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Hi everyone! I’m back with another original drawing ✏️ let me know what you think of it in the comments below ☺️ so I thought I’d do a drawing including the things that help me when I feel a bit of a meltdown coming on…

Featured items:

Moleskine journal 📔 – I usually go for a blank paper one for doodle but they do lined and dotted paper ones too.

Drinks and snacks: a good old cup of tea ☕️ an Costa Coffee strawberries and cream drink 🍓 a good old glass of orange juice or squash 🍊 a nice big apple 🍎 some digestive biscuits 🍪 and I had to include some form of chocolate so I went for Cadbury Dairy Milk 🍫

Fidgets: Notebook from Flying tiger covered in amazing sequins you can stim back and forth with 😍 a good old fashioned Rubik’s Cube that I found secondhand 🧠

I also have the most amazing Chewigem berries chewellery necklace! 🍇 I picked the blues and greens theme! 💙💚 it’s very chunky and each bead is covered in little nubs for sensory appeal and greater feedback when chewing. The beads have a heavy sort of weighted feel and I just like to hold and fidget with them. It’s hardwearing so would work well for more robust chewers!

And finally a squishy ball with gel beads in it from The Works Stores which is fab for having in a coat or hoodie pocket! Feel free to share my drawing on social media but please credit me 🙂

My fidget and stim sensory box!

Hi everyone! I thought I’d upload a video on my fidget and stim sensory box. It’s travel friendly and super useful when on the go! Feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel: 21andsensory. All the links are below…

I am a Chewigem Affiliate! They are company who have years of experience, designing, adapting and creating a range of chewing, fidget and sensory aids for children and adults. Check out their website.

Thanks for watching!

My latest Chewigem purchase…

My latest purchase from the fab Chewigem 😍🙌 this is the berries necklace – it’s very chunky (beads approx 28mm in diameter) and the necklace comes in a whole range of fun vibrant colours, I went for the blues and greens theme.

Other colour combinations are:

  • Black/Grey/White
  • Blues & Greens,
  • Pinks & Purples
  • Rainbow
  • Reds & Blues

Each bead is covered in little nubs for sensory appeal and greater feedback when chewing. The beads have a heavy sort of weighted feel and I just like to hold and fidget with them. It’s hardwearing so would work well for more robust chewers.

I find it’s a much harder chew compared to the Raindrop which I also bought from Chewigem (see my blog post reviewing it here) but I like that it’s a different density as I can choose between which chewellry I think I need / would be best to wear by strength and flexibility. I find if I feel super anxious or agitated a tougher chew works better because then I don’t have to worry about leaving marks or damaging it.

In conclusion: I would definitely recommend! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I am a Chewigem Affiliate! They are company who have years of experience, designing, adapting and creating a range of chewing, fidget and sensory aids for children and adults. Check out their website.