Raising Healthy Families with Moms Meet and KIWI

How to Cope with Sensory Overload as a Mom

July 05, 2022 Moms Meet and KIWI magazine Season 4 Episode 6
Raising Healthy Families with Moms Meet and KIWI
How to Cope with Sensory Overload as a Mom
Show Notes Transcript

Your kids are screaming, the TV is on, someone is jumping on the couch, the doorbell just rang, you’re starting to question your ability to function, and it’s only 10 a.m. on a Tuesday. If that sounds familiar, you might be struggling with overstimulation and sensory overload. In this episode, hear from Holly Peretz, mom and pediatric occupational therapist, to discuss how sensory overload impacts us and learn ways we can cope with it as moms.

Chrissy:

Welcome to raising healthy families with Moms Meet and KIWI. We're giving you the tools to enjoy the beauty and chaos of life with little ones in the healthiest way possible.

Maureen:

Hi everyone. I'm Maureen frost, editorial director and today's hosts. In this episode I'm talking with Holly Peretz, a mom and pediatric occupational therapist to discuss how to cope with sensory overload as a mom. This episode is brought to you in part by Hillside Harvest. Every home needs that one perfect hot sauce that with just a few dashes makes any dish tastes better. Hillside Harvest Pineapple Fresno Hot Sauce leverages tangy heat from Fresno peppers and is balanced from the sweetness of organic pineapple juice. Caribbean-American inspired this sauce is a fantastic example of how simple ingredients can deliver a dynamic flavor. With no added sugars and low and sodium, the Pineapple Fresno Hot Sauce is great on everything from grilled wings and pizza to oysters and cocktails. Today we are joined by Holly Peretz, a pediatric occupational therapist with 12 plus years of experience working with children and parents as a therapist and parent educator within hospitals, NGOs, preschools, hydrotherapy and now online. She is also the hostess of the annual toddler play conference. And you can find her online at otholly.com. Thank you so much for joining us today, Holly.

Holly Peretz:

It's a pleasure to be here Maureen. Thanks for having me.

Maureen:

I'm so happy to chat with you about this subject that we have right here. So I am coming to you today as a mom of two ages three and a half and one and a half. And I struggle with sensory overload with my kids. You know, they're the two people on the planet that I love most also my husband, but these two little ones, but they can really push me over the edge. And it wasn't until my youngest was a few months old. And I went back to work and was juggling it all from working from home with a with a bottle refusing baby and allowed toddler and trying to get the naps down so that I could actually work and not rock her and keep the older one from jumping off the couch and breaking bones and, and all this while juggling work deadlines. I had my aha moment and realize how you know overstimulation was affecting me. And I know that I'm not alone here. I read about it now. And every time I see the topic, I'm always you know, hey, well, what does this expert have to say about it? How can I do better? And I know many other moms have the same experiences. So I am so excited to dive into this topic with you today.

Holly Peretz:

Great, I'm so excited as well, it is it's such an exciting thing to talk about. And I'm so glad that you found people that could give you the right information. But it is quite an emerging topic in terms of research and in terms of therapy. And so I'm just so glad that we can talk about this and let other moms also understand a little bit on like the back end of what they're experiencing.

Maureen:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, and once I like understood this a little bit more I, I kind of like gave myself a little bit of like the pressure off and I felt like oh, okay, there's like an actual science behind why I am like, overwhelmed and like get flustered and can't handle this. And it's not just because I'm a It's not because I'm a bad mom, it's just this is this is how our bodies work. So okay, so before we get into sensory overload, I was wondering if you could please just explain a little bit more about what sensory processing is?

Holly Peretz:

Hmm, yeah, absolutely. So we have eight sensory systems that we normally discuss. I know, everybody knows the top five, the see, smell, taste, hearing and touch. But we also in therapy talk about vestibular sense, which is like your sense of movement, and proprioceptive sense, which is your feedback from your muscles and joints about walking, or how you feel when you're walking, where you're laying on the ground, as well as interception, which is kind of the feedback from what's happening with inside your body, like I'm hot and cold, all of that. And all of these are basically filtered through our nervous system in what we call sensory processing. So sensory processing is taking all of that sensory information into our bodies, understanding it and then giving an appropriate response at the back end of that. So our response to something so for example, if you put your hand on a hot stove, you're going to be lifting it up, right, that's a physical response, you've understood the sensation that it's hot, you need to lift your hand, but our responses can always be you know, to our sensations. It can be physical, and they can also be emotional, in terms of what is coming in.

Maureen:

That's great. So now what does sensory overload mean?

Holly Peretz:

Yeah, so sensory overload basically means that the brain is receiving more sensory information than it can handle. I like to think of it in terms of like a cup. So we each have our own kind of sensory Cup, the amount that our body says this is the right amount of sensory information that I can function well underneath. And if the cup is empty, we're like looking for more information. And that might be when, for example, a toddler is looking for more, they are jumping off the couch, I have one like that as well. So I really understand this. And for when it is overflowing, that would be our sensory overload where our nervous system is saying this is too much for my body to handle. So I need to get rid of some of the sensation out of the body in order to keep myself safe, and calm and alert.

Maureen:

Yeah. What does it feel like when you like as a person are going through sensory overload? And what is happening in the body when we feel this way?

Holly Peretz:

So basically, your body is going into a state of stress when you're in overload. And I think we'll talk just now about like the difference between overload and just overstimulation because they are a bit different. But when you're in actual sensory overload, like, it probably won't be that you're thinking your first thought is like, Oh, this is because of sensory like, you can feel completely out of it. Like, whatever fight and flight feels like in your body. That's, that's what you would probably feel like when you're in sensory overload. So it could be like extreme irritability, feeling triggered having difficulty focusing to the point of even feeling like you're off balance. So I kind of came to this information, I've worked with children for years and years and years. Sensory Processing is an area that I'm super interested in, that I kind of came to sensory overload and sensory overload, specifically in motherhood, because I experienced it myself. And of course, like the the difference between overstimulation and overload is basically overstimulation is when you're feeling like slightly triggered, there's a bit too much but you're still managing to somehow handle is it's like that cap is kind of teetering at the edge of being full, but it's not overflowing. So sensory overstimulation, especially for parents, I think that we often just think of it like, I'm feeling overwhelmed, or we put like a very emotional word on it, or even a label for ourselves on on what we're experiencing without kind of really like peeling back the layers and saying like, well, this is information that is coming into my body, and my body can only take so much. So when I had my kind of lightbulb moments of this, I was kind of in a similar situation to what you are now I think my kids were maybe less than a year and about three or less than three. And we were outside. Of course, when you're parenting in public, it's always like just really different. It was hot, we were in like a room with lots of other toddlers, there was no air. And my one child was like just flying all over the room. And my other one was like wanting to nurse but not managing to nurse and my clawing at my chest. And when we were on our drive home, I was like, I feel like I just need to be in like a cold dark room with my hands over my years, gently rocking myself. But that's that's really what like sensory overload feels like. And often we think of like, we take in sensory information. And it's just like, at that time, it's like immediate, but actually sensory information stays in our body for a long period of time. I think it's like up to eight hours. So you could have like, your child's like, you know, those chaotic five o'clock moments where everybody's like crying and everything seems to be like, you know, coming and done. And I feel a bit stressed in that time. But still later in the evening, I still feel like my body isn't right. Like there's something really bothering me. And that that can also be related to that like just sensory overload or overstimulation during those chaotic times.

Maureen:

I'm so glad you said that. That is so interesting to me that it's it stays with you. It's not even like okay, if you had a calm moment, five minutes from them, then it would be over and you would be done with that. Like it definitely stays with you. And you know what, when we're dealing with this day in and day out, like it really does weigh on you last night. Just give a little I didn't want this like all day every day. I feel like especially with working from home now. I you know my kids are constantly there. And my my daughter who's one and a half now. She's in a very mama phase. It's like she says it about maybe 500 times a day. She runs she chases me down the hallway when I'm trying to get back to work. And last night I was sitting at the dinner table like my mother in law was over she had just brought my three and a half year old home and everyone was there was Mama Mama Mama by my three year old was like jumping off of a high chair and I was sitting there I was like I just need to run away and go somewhere quiet. And it's just like there was like, it weighs on you and it's so hard as a parent when like you're you're trying to just compartmentalize, be calm, be present and you can't handle the stimulation like I Personally, I can't do it, and it causes me to be, you know, have a short temper, and to want to run away and not be able to handle my kids emotions in the moment. And like, it's really hard as a parent to be able to do this. And I don't know, I don't know if my husband experiences it as much as I do. Do you hear it from from fathers to or any other caretakers? Or do you feel like it's mostly like a mom thing?

Holly Peretz:

Well, I mean, I think sensory overload is an experience that people have, like, just a lot of people have in their daily life, right? Not even with kids. Like it's, it's a real phenomenon. And that's one of the things that I really want to, I really want to thank you, firstly, for sharing your story, because it is so powerful. And it's one of these things that we need to we need to hear other people's stories. So we can like, as you said, at the beginning, like give ourselves a little bit of a break, like, we are finite human beings, there's, we have a capacity, you know what I mean? And I think sensory, especially, we just always put it on? Well, my emotional capacity is not enough. But actually, if we look at our bodies holistically, you know, the nervous system really connects the sensory systems and the emotional system. So it's, it's completely natural that you would have an emotional response to something that is sensory overwhelming, and kids are sensory, they overwhelm us into systems, like the amount of information that comes into our bodies as parents, especially as mothers, and especially when you're working at home. And that kind of combines, right? Because when we think about sensory, sensory processing, and sensory overstimulation, we think about the actual ability within the body, like what the body is capable of that sensory cup. But then we also think of the environment, how much sensory information is coming in, like, you know, even for example, your husband with children, right now, if we took him to like a rock concert for three days, and he was like in the mosh pit, and everything, maybe he would feel different, like maybe he would experience sensory overload, right. So it's also that environment, and then it's also the task. So as soon as and you may know this really well, like, as soon as you're trying to do something like work, or get out the door, all of that like shouting and screaming, or like the child pulling at your dress, or somebody's sticky hand in your hair, it all feels like just a little bit more because you're also trying to concentrate at the same time. So it's that like full circle of our holistic bodies trying to function within the situation that they're in.

Maureen:

Yes, you you explained it. So well, really, when you're trying to get out the door and you're trying to do something serious. It just that's when it bubbles over for me. So I'm sure many moms out there feel the same way. Yeah, I know my friends talk about it all the time. So um, what can sensory overload actually trigger or, or cause any other mental health or physical health issues?

Holly Peretz:

this a lot in her she's got a new parenting blog, actually, Brain Body parenting. And she talks about like this, this body budget, similar concept to the cup, and how like, we are constantly moving through states of being receptive to stresses around us like having that emotional capacity to be like, yes, you're having a tough moment. And I can show up as a parent that I want to be and all my intentions are falling in line and I can be can be present and all the things that we want to do. So we have moments like that. And then we have other moments where our like stress load on our bodies, again, when we work in trying to get out the door, trying to do all the things and there's a lot of noise, where that stress load is just higher. And it's kind of like our body says to us, you just need to be safe, or that's like what your brain is telling you just need to be safe. And of course, then like the emotional reactions can be bigger than they would if you were in that like receptive, feeling really capable and confident space. So if we look at stress load on on ourselves, of course, it has physical and emotional implications, right? I think sensory, like say for mom who is experiencing sensory overload, paired with like, say poor coping strategies, or just like not enough time to recoup, it's kind of like a recipe for the in three, like for sensory and stress overload really.

Maureen:

Yeah. It's just one of the many things that we have to deal with as a mom, but it really can cloud your days and it can make you feel if you like, say you've experienced it, which I have many times in the last few days. If you don't like respond, well then you feel like so guilty as a parent that you didn't handle that situation, in the gentle manner that we all strive to as a parent. Okay, I'm going to I acknowledge you, I'm going to see your feelings but like right now, you're screaming, I can't handle. So it's a really hard thing to juggle as a parent and to show up in the right way for your kids, because I don't want to project onto my kids the way I'm feeling. But like, it's so true like you, your body literally cannot handle and process it at that moment. And it's, it's hard as a parent. I love learning about those because I feel like I'm getting give myself a little bit more grace to how I wobble over in these situations. So are sensory experiences different for everyone?

Holly Peretz:

Hmm, absolutely, absolutely. Like, if you think about going to the beach, I've always lived like near the coast, and some people love it. And some people will tell you, I'm not going to the beach, I don't like the feeling of sand on my feet. Right? That's a sensory experience. That's a difference in taste. So we generally think of it as like a spectrum. And so some people like more like my mother in law, she can like listen to the radio, have the TV on the on the phone, and give us instructions about cooking all at the same time. And like for me just being in that environment and like, so loud, right. So she like her, she's more receptive to receive a lot of sensory information, especially in auditory. So in hearing, so also, each of your sensory systems will have their own kind of cup size. And so some people might be like, totally fine with tons of noise, but they don't like soft touch, or they picky with food that's like my husband. You know, they're like, they're the way that things feel to them feels a little bit different. So there's definitely a spectrum. Yeah, and when when we go out of that spectrum, is when we're saying like overload is impairing our daily function.

Maureen:

So I mean, it's interesting that you say that, and the sand analogy, I can understand that we live by the beach, too. And I say, like, I don't care if there's sand in the house, like whatever. And my husband is like, not one grain of sand can be there. So he made sure that the kids are all, you know, hose down outside. But I think that one of the things that I like about this conversation is when you think about it, and you realize that everyone processes, their sensory experiences differently, you can understand where somebody else is coming from a lot better than because their experience to a situation is different than your experience to a situation and understanding that you know, can make it a little bit easier. I know that you said that your your mother in law, right? Can can do all these different things with lots of different sensory coming at her. I know that my mom is always like, I have to turn off the music, I have to turn off the TV, I need to look directly in your eyes when you're talking to me. And I'm like, why it doesn't make any sense. Like, just listen and do the-. But now I get it. That's what she needs to be able to feel calm and focus. So it really it's a good understanding and how everyone works differently. And it's really, it's such an interesting field to learn about for especially for me as a person, you know, I'm just coming from this from my individual perspective, but it's very interesting. So, back to moms of young kids, which we both are. Is it just me like, are we just particularly vulnerable to this feeling of over stimulation and of sensory overload? Like what factors are contributing to this sector of society? Is there-Is it true that we are experiencing this more than other people? Or are we just particularly vulnerable to it? How is it working?

Holly Peretz:

Yeah, well, okay. Firstly, like, if you look at the day to day life of a person that is full time caring for children, there is a lot of noise more than any, like normal level of within a house, a house without children and a house children, there's a different noise level altogether, then you think about the amount of touch that you have. And especially if you like say you are still nursing or helping children to fall asleep, and all of these things, there's a lot of body touch happening. And even with toddlers, all that, like you know, pulling out your dress, trying to climb in your clothes, that around. thing for pay do is a lot of touch happening. And then also other things like if you think about your vestibular sense, I remember at one point, just feeling like how many times did I bend over today to pick something up from the floor. It's crazy, like you constantly and there are some sensations when you're using your vestibular sense that are calming, and some that are more like jarring. So that's like experience of constantly bending up and down, up and down to pick something up to pick a child up, put a child down, pick something up, put something down. It's it's just it's a lot of sensory information coming into your bodies. So when I before I became a mom, I've worked with children so I always had experienced a lot of sensory information coming into my buddies right back into my body in one body, and maybe not at home, but definitely in like a full workday with a lot of noise and bending and all of that kind of stuff. But when I became a mom, I was like, this is the is different, it feels so different in my body. And why is that? So the first thing is that we know now with like such a rise in brain imaging and brain imaging research that there are so many changes that happen within our mom's actual brain from pregnancy. And I read a study today, something that like some of the changes continue up until our children are like age six. So there's a lot of changes that happen in our actual ability. And the reason for those is that they prime us to be more receptive to our children. You know, it's like that first night when you come home from the hospital, and it's like, your wake up, if there's like a slight Miss of a breath from your child you like so acutely aware of every little squeak that they make, because that's how your body is primed, you hear a baby cry, that's not even your own, and you start lactating. Like your body is wanting to take in that sensory information, because we as mothers are like prime to to make our children feel safe. So that is definitely one big factor. But then the other factor is that in the role of caring for children, there's a lot of things that we don't necessarily have in our day to day life, that actually would normally help us kind of empty that sensory cup. So a full night's sleep, having downtime, being able to get regular rhythmical kind of movement, like going for walks, or runs or, you know, exercising without somebody climbing on you, because that doesn't really help the whole sensor situation. But all of those things like being outdoors, having natural light, a lot of these things depending on your children's age, and especially when these two you kind of, you're kind of stuck in the in between where you're doing still a lot of sitting to becoming a small one, or to be helping them sleep or nursing or whatever it is. And then also having the older child doing a lot of movement. So we don't have as many of those like release factors built into our day to day life. So yeah, mom's like, there's definitely a lot to be said about moms experiencing sensory overload more frequently than other people.

Maureen:

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Thanks for explaining that. I mean, I've always, you know, heard that you you really do change and physiologically when you have kids, but that this makes a lot of sense how it's tied in. Absolutely. So there's a term that I want to talk to you about, you know, that I feel like I experienced and other moms do we hear the term mom rage. And you hear it a lot when we you know, if you're reading anything geared towards mothers in the content world or anything, can sensory overload or over stimulation lead to this feeling of mom rage?

Holly Peretz:

So as I said, I'm getting it is still kind of an emerging area of research. So there's nothing like conclusively that I can refer back to and say, yes, definitely this is there's a definite link. And there was a study that was published recently on rodents. And they actually found that is the rodent the maternal the mother, rodents that had a difficulty with sensory processing, or that were exposed to more sound information, were more aggressive. And so perhaps, and maybe in five or 10 years, we'll be able to say like, yeah, conclusively, there is some kind of a link. But if we like look back again, to like this holistic picture of who we are as functioning humans that have a certain capacity. And it's really easy to look at our immediate response as being a link to what kind of a person we are, like, I'm a good mom, or I'm a bad mom, because the way I responded, but it actually if we like really look from a bottom up approach, it can be that your body is just trying to keep you safe, right. And if we just put a label on that in terms of like, I'm bad. So that's why I do that. Instead of saying, like, gosh, I can't manage it, when my child rubs off my glasses, it's too much for me. So I need to find a way that that won't happen so that I don't have to respond like that. And they feel safe. And I feel safe as well, because I'm also human on the other side of that red. So I think that really looking at that like underlying thing. And again, like you've been saying like giving yourself a bit of compassion, a little bit of grace and awareness. It just puts us in a better seating to look at the problem and kind of find a solution that actually is a solution and is helpful.

Maureen:

Yeah, I really appreciate you saying that too. Because when you do when you don't respond in the way that you would potentially like to it does make you feel like I'm just I'm not being a good mom right now. I'm not being the mom that I want to be. But in reality, like you're saying, it's really just, we're beyond the point of what we can handle and I saw this good about the mom rage topic. I mean, I am sitting here saying that like yeah, sometimes I have it. But if you look at it, there was another perspective that I like to look at. When I saw it. I really identified with it. If I'm feeling like my reaction And is to snap, it's because my needs are continually not being met in the family in the house or my needs are being met, or the last priority in the home. And I know that a lot of moms experienced that. And that's what leads to burnout too. And that's what leads to not reacting in the way that you really want to react as a parent. And I'm definitely can relate to this, you know, sensory overload, too. So if you're sometimes if I have too much sensory overload, I'm gonna, you know, I'm gonna freak out. And, and it really, it helps to know why I'm doing it. Like, I'm not a bad person. It's just, I can't handle it. So I hope that other moms are hearing this and really feeling like, okay, like, let's give ourselves some grace here. And we understand. So I think one of the biggest things now that I want to talk to you about is like, how can we cope with sensory overload as parents? And what can we do to help ourselves in that situation? So do you have advice for us there?

Holly Peretz:

Yeah, there's actually so much advice. And this is like, the thing that I want to encourage parents with is that this is something that's like, within our physiology, and with our environment, and everything, that there are solutions, right. It's not like one of these labels that can never be removed, there are definitely like things that we can do to hold ourselves. But it has to start with awareness. Like it has to start that we're saying, I'm not going to just say I'm a bad man, I'm going to actually look at myself with compassion and say, What is going on? Like, why is this so incredibly triggering for me, and also recognizing those that like specific triggers, because we will all experience things differently in terms of our sensory caps, you know, whether it's like the sound or the touch, or the constant movement, whatever it is, it will feel different to each person, it's very individual. So kind of breaking also away from this notion that and I find this a lot with mothers, especially that if there's something that we need some like something specific for or like not special treatment, that's not the right word, but like, like you said, your husband doesn't like sand in the house. I think that generally in society, we're a lot slower to say like, oh, well, there's something wrong with him. Why is he so fussy? Goodness me. But as a woman, it's like, if you want to be the fussy one, it's fine. I can handle people spitting up on me. And while I'm carrying something, and somebody's got my hair, and they have, like, I can handle it all, because that means maternal love. Right? And that's like being warm. But we have to, like, give ourselves a break and say, like, because I have a need, which is a human normal, natural need doesn't mean that I'm being like a frantic wife. Or do you know what I mean? Like, there's all of these kind of labels of like, you don't want to be too much for people that we have to get past that. Because actually, if you can, for example, the glasses example, if I can, like know that this thing is like not okay, for me, it really, really triggers me, then I can put boundaries in place that is not going to happen at the same with like reversing reversing is like, I can't have music on when I'm reversing my car, I need everyone to keep quiet. And I can like, you know, foster this in my home, like I'm reversing right now guys, I really need you to keep quiet, instead of being like, Oh, I'm just being fussy. I don't mean to say that. It's like lifting just play shame poor kids, they need freedom in their lives. And, and then you know what happens I try to reverse and I freak out because I'm trying to reverse and everybody is like making a ton of noise. So if we can, like at first just like have a compassionate awareness, see that it's okay for us to put in the things that we need. And it doesn't mean that we're anything but a normal human being with normal needs. I think that that's like really the first step. The second thing that I would say is kind of look at what is coming into your sensory cup. So that like feeling of constantly juggling, work, housework, all the things that we do as parents, and then still like me feeling like we need to be present with our children. And we kind of need to like look at what what is coming in and how much can we can we really manage of different things, like often will, I think get to the end of the day and be like, Whoa, today was a really loud day, but during the day, you don't notice too like oh maybe I shouldn't listen to a podcast today because it's like another thing coming in or you know, maybe I can just take one of these things this extra like going out on another playdate I can take them off my schedule because I've already had to match right, my cup is already at the edge. And then yeah, like just fostering boundaries in a way that is good for you and good for your children. One of the things that I am that I always say as well as like just general self care and like not talking about like going to get your nails done, but like self care, like if we really break down the route of like caring for ourselves will probably also support your What sensory, your sensory needs. Like, if you think about like going for a walk outside, this is a really powerful thing for your sensory needs. Because it's giving you natural light, which is also really good and calming, it's giving you open spaces, so there's not as much echo of the inside. And that noise that kind of reverberating, is giving you that rhythmical movement of walking, and that proprioceptive feedback. So it's there's a lot of good things that come into, like a normal act of caring for ourselves, or maybe like a bubble bath, you know, again, it's like the warmth, the being submerged, you've got all that deep pressure coming in from the water, all of those things that you would think of as, like, general, this is a good way to care for myself, it will they often like kind of work hand in hand with our sensory systems. Now, if you recognize what your your your bracket is, and you know that it's like one specific area, within those areas, like for example, auditory, there's a lot of things that you could do that are like preventative within your home, and like, not have a radio always on in the background, if that's something that you maybe haven't realized that bothers you, but now you're realizing it, then, you know, make sure that's not happening. And like also, like, for example, during fussy times at like five o'clock, chaos time with children, switch off the washing machine, if that's going to be like that extra noise for your ears, like switch off the TV, or the you know, kind of managing the noise within your house. And also, it's something that happens, I don't know if this happens with you, but often when you're in those like times of the day, and then suddenly, there's like, your husband wants to discuss something and it's like, Oh, my goodness, this, and these noises and the washing and everything go at the same time and I can't manage. So being able to like also advocate for yourself and not like a frantic way. But just saying, you know, right now I'm gonna just focus in on this and can we have that conversation later, is a great way to also prevent yourself from getting overloaded. But there's also a lot of things that you can do in the moment, when you're in the moment, you're recognizing that like everything is going haywire. And specifically in the auditory auditory sense, you can start like quieting your voice down, you can try step outside for a little bit, especially if you're with like a crying baby often being outside or like a bit of breeze or cooler weather, like helps, they're crying, they're crying, and they're fuzziness, and will also really help you because again, the sounds aren't bouncing off the walls, or even putting on like a some something in your headphones. Something really calming can be really good to just like smooth that out in the moment. So that's just an idea in terms of auditory. But yeah, there is a lot that can be done.

Maureen:

Yeah. So that's great advice. And I love the going

Holly Peretz:

I'd say it's probably different from everyone outside - because it really helps you in so many different ways. So it seems like you know, sometimes we as moms, we will just our cup will be full and you know, spilling over. So for everyone. And it definitely is an interesting question. I there's, we actively need to counteract that and try to do things that will calm us and calmer, you know our nervous system. Absolutely. So I have a question. So when you say you're experiencing sensory overload, or you just feel feel like you've had an overstimulating day? Would you suggest that doing something like reading a book is is that better than just like turning the TV on? Or zoning out? Or is it different for everyone? think if we traditionally look at like, what we know about sensory processing screens are high stimulation level, and they have blue light. So those things are not necessarily what we would consider traditionally calming. So I also say to people often like if you are if your immediate go to is to go on your phone and scroll on social media. Really think about whether that is helpful for you because it brings up firstly, the blue light and fast images flashing before you you know, and often the stuff that we see is quite triggering or emotional like it elicits an emotion for us in one way or another. So it's not necessarily going to be like your cooldown time. However, like I know that there is a lot of voices coming out of the Autistic community saying that actually for many people, they do find it calming. So definitely again just like look at you for yourself, what what feels the best. But yeah, like in after a very overstimulating day reading could be a great option but also something like making a priority to have like a longer shower bad to get like that and then water therapy in and just help you or yeah even just like taking a few minutes to do like a stretch or some deep breathing like all of these things because we are like these holistic systems. Our what we do physically impacts how we feel emotionally and also from our sensory side.

Maureen:

That's such a good point about the TV being stimulating. And the phones. And if you're doing them both at once, and you've already had, you know, a crazy day, so maybe my my nighttime habits aren't as healthy as I think they are. It's a really good point. Yeah, thank you for sharing that. So one of the things that I find a little challenging is, how do I communicate to other adults? I don't know if I can get it through to my children in the same manner. But how do I communicate to other adults? Like, this is really too much sensory for me right now. And that's why I am not behaving in the best way. Like how, what's the best way to get across to someone who is probably not even aware of what this means, because I know that I experienced that my, I'll just share with you. My mom watches my kids while I work, which is amazing in so many ways. But when my kids are chasing me down the hallway, and I'm trying to get to a work meeting, and you know, so I'm always like, Hey, you gotta take How do I explain to someone? Okay, this is what's happening to me right now I need your help in this situation.

Holly Peretz:

So I think firstly, it's really good to recognize because often these things they don't happen just today, right? They're things that happen like every day, you know, this thing happens. So having a conversation in a time that you're not feeling overwhelmed in terms of your sensory experience, is, I think the best like preventative measure that you can put in for yourself and just be like, just to you, I don't think that everyone might experience a case. When you say I'm feeling like sensory overstimulation, I think a lot of people that sounds like completely woowoo, like don't understand what you're talking about. So you can say something more like it feels I feel very flustered, or words that might resonate with the person that you're talking to a little bit more you can say overwhelmed or flustered or it stresses me out, like it puts, you know, words behind it that that they may understand better. I think that sometimes we want to explain it to them back in terms of our sensory systems or so because we're not yet completely comfortable that like, I'm allowed to say, I'm overwhelmed. This is a lot for me. Right? And you are, you are allowed to say like, like, just when I'm rehearsing and, you know, this is everybody's safety in my hands as I'm driving. I can't have you talking right now, because I can't, that's just what it is. So I think having conversations beforehand, and it doesn't really matter if they fully understand it or don't. But you've said to them, like, in the situation, this is what I need. So can we do that, like getting out the house sometimes like it will be that like you're like in the flesh and then somebody goes off to do something and somebody you know, then your husband wants to make a phone call or whatever and having a conversation beforehand. Because that for us is like one of the the trigger times like this getting out the house is really hard for me, could you do the phone call when we're at the car, because by the end everybody seated and we're not like running around, that would be really helpful for me, especially if it's happens that you see them coming up. And they are like, the research that has been done on the experience of mothering and sensory processing is like getting children to bed, the morning routine. And mealtimes. It's like those are three that people generally find very overstimulating. So thinking to yourself beforehand, like how can I make? Like, well, you know, what do I want them to do? And then just ask them for that thing that you want?

Maureen:

Yeah, absolutely. And sometimes, you know, you're in this situation, and you're feeling flustered, and you're looking at the person who's totally calm, and you're like, why are they handling it right now, and I'm not, but it goes back to what you were talking about, and how everyone processes sensory stimulation in a different way. And it's just, you know, this is communicating your needs and understanding what your needs are in that situation is, is crucial. I think that we all kind of, you know, we matter as moms and I think if we, if we take that into account, like I need to care about and I say this, I've started saying it's my three and a half year old now, like I need to go take care of mommy so that I can take care of you better. If we think in that matter, you know, what, what are our needs? What are our needs, especially in when it comes to sensory processing? It'll help the whole family maybe be a little peaceful, so.

Holly Peretz:

Yeah, and it is like we have to think of it in terms of the big picture right? I know like, there's so much especially in terms of parenting on like you must do it this way, right? Like so many super controversial issues and I'm not gonna say any of them here because I know probably people will have like a really opinions like when it comes to sleep, eating, discipline, timeouts, all these things like this such strong opinions, but if we have to also, like factor ourselves into the equation, because we're not robots, so we have to find whatever solutions we're using that we can find the solution that best fits our wishes as a parent, but also best It meets our needs. Because if we were like taking a mismatch, and we're choosing, for example, that we're like, going to be present, every time a child has a meltdown, and we are incredibly auditory sensitive, this is this is really going to be a mismatch. So you're going to have to add or find ways that you can like find earplugs or do something, that the result is what you know, it's going to be different for each person. But it's not necessarily like you have to weigh the benefits and the cost of everything. Like if you are staying present because of your child's meltdown, because you've been told that's the only way that you can parent. And then for the rest of the day, you are like completely checked out. You don't want to look at them, you're finding it hard to even be around them. Like let's look at the bigger picture. Right? Like what, what, what what we're capable of, and what works well for us.

Maureen:

Yeah, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Yeah, I love that. You're saying that because we there really is like, when you go into parenting, you're like, I'm going to be this type of parent, I'm going to do XY and Z. And then when reality hits, and maybe it's a little bit different for you. Sometimes you can feel bad about yourself, like you haven't measured up to what you want to be. But in reality, like you just you didn't know everything you weren't, you weren't in this situation, you didn't know how you'd react, you didn't you don't know all of the things that go into parenting and all the noise, like we've talked about, and all the different things. So it's really like you have to be okay to pivot and, and change and do things that actually work. Like I know that that comes up a lot like when first time moms and how they thought they'd be and then what they actually are, and it doesn't mean that you've gone down a level in reality, it just means that you didn't understand the full situation before you had kids. And now you do and and now you understand. And now you can you can tackle it in a different way. So it's looking at that as like a positive, you know, like, you've figured out how to make it work for you and not like, oh, I failed or something like that so much better. And I appreciate you sharing that with me. You've made me feel better as a mom. Definitely. And I'm sure there are plenty of moms out there like having this moment like oh my gosh, that's me. And this is this is my family. And now I have some things that I I talk about prioritizing my mental health, but and my my time to relax and unwind. And here's why I have to do it. So that's really good. If Are there any other additional resources that moms should look into if they feel like they can't manage this issue on their own? Or if they're struggling struggling with sensory overload?

Holly Peretz:

And yeah, well, generally, in terms of sensory processing and sensory stimulation, an occupational therapist would be the person that can help you. As I said, it is still like an emerging area of research and treatment. And you can definitely look around in your area. I do have also an ebook on this specifically that you're welcome to. Yeah, you're welcome to connect with me in any any way. I mean, I've been there. So I really, you know, I really understand it's tough.

Maureen:

Yeah, absolutely. And just to share your your website, again, is otholly.com If anyone wants to head over and connect with you, too. Well, thank you so much, Holly, this has been an amazing conversation that I'm sure that many moms out there will connect to and I really appreciate you coming on and chatting with us today. It's been great to have you.

Holly Peretz:

It's such a pleasure. Thank you so much for having me. And Maureen, I just, I really, really appreciate you also sharing so vulnerably because it is it definitely is something that the more light we can share on it. Like the more we can normalize this, the really we put ourselves on such a higher footing in terms of actually getting to the root of the problem. And actually, you know, feeling better.

Maureen:

Yeah, yeah, I mean, sometimes, you know, I'll talk about it all day ever. Anyone that will hear me I'll use everyone as my therapist. But it is good. We need to talk about it because we also feel less alone. And then we can learn more about each other and about how we're all kind of dealing with this too. So I appreciate you sharing your experiences as well. And yeah, this has been this has been a very great episode. Thank you so much. And thank you for listening everyone. Make sure you hit the subscribe button so you don't miss the latest podcast episodes. And thank you to our sponsor Mixmi. Finding a snack that supports your gut and tastes good is what we call a mom when mixed me frozen yogurt is a great tasty snack with enrich probiotics and prebiotic fiber that's important to your gut and digestive health. Mixmi is fermented with six live and active cultures and made with no artificial ingredients. Since each Mixmi frozen yogurt is conveniently packaged in a four fluid ounce cup. It's the perfect healthy treat. Since each Mixmi frozen yogurt is conveniently packaged in the four fluid ounce cup it's the perfect healthy treat. Thanks for conquering healthy living at all ages and stages of life with us.