4 Tips for Overcoming Sensory Overload

Nicole Ellis
3 min readMay 18, 2023

This article was originally published at betterwithkick.com.

Photo credit: Getty Images Pro via Canva

Dealing with sensory overload can be pretty intense and tough to handle. This can happen when there’s too much input from your senses, like loud noise, bright lights, strong smells, rough textures, and lots of visual information. It can leave you feeling stressed out, anxious, and completely worn out, which can really affect your productivity and well-being.

When it comes to getting stuff done, sensory overload can make it hard to concentrate on tasks, finish up work, and stay focused. It can also cause you to make mistakes or slip-ups, which can just make things even more stressful. As for your well-being, sensory overload can be really tiring and bring on physical symptoms like headaches, tense muscles, and fatigue. And the emotional symptoms like anxiety, irritability, and frustration can take a toll on your relationships, mental health, and overall quality of life.

In recent years, and likely a direct result of adding “mother of two under three” to my job description, I have become keenly aware of how much more sensitive I am to light and sound and am excited to share a few findings, tips and tricks that help make it more likely that I’ll make it through a marathon day.

  • Identify Triggers

To deal with sensory overload, the first step is to identify what triggers it for you, like loud noises, bright lights, yucky smells, or a cluttered space. In all likelihood, it’s a combination of many small things that add up over the day.

  • Create a Sensory-Friendly Environment

You can also try some other strategies like creating a more sensory-friendly environment, using noise-canceling headphones, adjusting the lighting, using calming scents, and decluttering your workspace or home.

One of my new favorite products is loop earplugs. I can attend industry events longer and am more likely to maintain my cool during the evening shift with two toddlers. Bad mom move or genius parenting hack, you can be the judge of that.

  • Practice Self-Care

Taking care of yourself with things like deep breathing, mindfulness meditation, yoga, exercise, sleep, and healthy eating can also help reduce stress and anxiety. These are also easier said than done so give plenty of grace during the extra busy days, weeks, and seasons.

  • Bonus Tip for Parents

Parents with young children may find themselves managing sensory overload while actively parenting. (It’s me, hi!) Children are also easily impacted by sensory overload so, create a sensory-friendly environment for both of you. Using headphones to reduce noise, providing sensory toys for playtime, taking a walk, and playing outside are all great options.

Managing sensory overload is super important for keeping up your productivity and well-being. By knowing your triggers and trying out strategies like a sensory-friendly environment and self-care techniques, you can boost your productivity, lower your stress and anxiety levels, and enjoy an overall better quality of life.

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Nicole Ellis

Starting conversations about bettering business in a post-pandemic world. Providing resources to help improve business, work-life balance, parenting and more.