Our 5 senses (sight, hearing, smell, touch & taste) have an incredibly powerful effect on how we feel mentally. Here are 15 things to do in bed to engage each of your 5 senses in a positive way to provide anxiety & stress relief and care for your mental health and wellbeing.
Disclaimer: This post is intended for informational purposes only. I’m not a qualified practitioner and I’m not encouraging anyone else to do this. Please consult a qualified practitioner before implementing these things or changing your current treatment plan. This post contains affiliate links, meaning at no cost to you I earn commission if you click on a link and make a purchase. See my full disclaimer here.
Looking after our mental health is just as important as our physical health. My physical and mental health is closely linked – when my pain, dizziness, nausea or other symptoms worsen, my anxiety and fear heightens too. Yet I often solely focus on easing my physical symptoms and neglect looking after my mental health too.
The power of our 5 senses to improve mental wellbeing
Jay Shetty in his podcast On Purpose speaks about the powerful effect our 5 senses – sight, hearing, smell, touch & taste – have on how we feel. Finding things that you enjoy, that make you feel good and make use of all 5 of our senses is most effective at taking care of our mental health and easing anxiety and stress, as it helps bring our mind and body back to the present moment, preventing us from mulling over the past, reliving previous experiences or worrying about potential future events.
15 things i do in bed to care for my mental health
Below are 15 tools I use to engage my 5 senses for anxiety and stress relief, which can all be done in bed, so they’re especially beneficial for days when symptoms flare and you’re bedbound.
Sight for anxiety and stress relief
1). Bible verse/Quote. Have your favourite bible verse or quote hung up in your room for you to read every time a negative thought occurs or your mind wanders into the past or future.
2). Photos. Have photos of family and friends around you to look at. Look back at photos of weddings, holidays etc. and relive these happy experiences.
3). Watch your favourite tv show.
4). Watch a comedy or light heartened film. Avoid horror movies as these can increase anxiety and fear.
5). Read a book.
SMELL for anxiety and stress relief
6). Essential oils. These promote relaxation and emotional wellbeing, decrease heart rates and ease anxiety and stress (1). The most commonly recommended ones are:-
- Lavender (UK Link/US Link)
- Frankincense (UK Link/US Link)
- Geranium (UK Link/US Link)
- If you don’t have a diffuser (UK Link/US Link) you can use roller balls (UK Link/US Link) and roll the essential oils onto pulse points on your body.
7). Burn a scented candle. Pick a natural toxin free candle that is made from soy wax with a cotton wick like Tofu, Touche or Octo in the UK, or Mile High Life, Prank Kiss or All Fur One in the US. Regular candles are made with paraffin wax and synthetic fragrances which release toxins when burned that can worsen symptoms.
HEARing for anxiety and stress relief
8). Music. Listen to your favourite music. Slow tempo calming music has also been shown to calm the nervous system, which reduces heat rates, promotes relaxation and provides anxiety and stress relief (2).
9). Play an audiobook. This is especially useful if you’re unable to read or hold a book.
TOUCH for anxiety and stress relief
11). Weighted blanket. Cover your body with a weighted blanket, such as Mela Comfort in the UK or YnM in the US. These apply light pressure to the body which instantly calms the nervous system, relieving pain, easing tension and anxiety and improving sleep (3, 4).
12). Squeeze a stress object. The most commonly recommended ones are:-
- Squeezing a stress ball (UK Link/US Link)
- Using a fidget spinner (UK Link/US Link)
- Using a fidget bracelet (UK Link/US Link)
Pay attention to the colour, weight and texture of the object. Focusing on every detail helps ground you, brings your mind and body back to the present moment and provides a distraction from anxious and stressful thoughts. Gripping and releasing a stress ball has the additional benefit of helping muscles relax, relieving tension.
TASTE for anxiety and stress relief
13). Eat nourishing foods. What this will look like will be different for everyone. I avoid gluten, dairy, refined sugar, soy and caffeine as these worsen my symptoms and increase anxiety and stress. Fruit, nuts and seeds require no prep and can be kept by your bed anytime you need a snack. Nakd bars and Go Raw bars are also great snacks, which are free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar and vegan friendly.
14). Herbal teas. These are great for anxiety and stress relief and improving sleep, which is especially vital during flares and bad days. The most commonly recommended ones are:-
- Lemon balm (UK Link/US Link)
- Lemon verbena (UK Link/US Link)
- Chamomile (UK Link/US Link)
- Passion flower (UK Link/US Link)
- Lavender (UK Link/US Link)
You can combine some of them into one tea like in my Sleep Tea Recipe.
15). Lemon water. Have a bottle of lemon water by your bedside table to keep hydrated throughout the day. Staying hydrated eases the intensity of anxiety and stress, while also reducing fatigue, increasing energy levels and improving concentration, memory and alertness (5).
other mental health blog posts
Click to read my other blog posts with other tips and strategies that help me care for my mental health & wellbeing:-
- 12 Vagus Nerve Exercises To Improve Mental & Physical Health
- 5 Simple Swaps To Ease Morning Anxiety & Stress
Other health blog posts
Click to read my other blog posts with other tips and strategies that are helping me improve my health manage my conditions:-
- Managing Symptoms – 6 Things To Do In Bed
- 10 Free Ways To Improve Your Health
- Morning Routine – 7 Things That Ease My Symptoms In The Morning
- Hydration – 9 Tips To Stay Hydrated
- The Elimination Diet That Eased My Symptoms
- Toxin Free Lifestyle – 6 Free Ways to Start (& Why It’s Important For Health)
- 6 Detox Pathways To Support To Remove Toxins & Improve Health
- 15 Easy Ways To Detox Your Home (& How It Can Help Ease Symptoms)
- 10 Tips To Stay Cool & Survive The Summer Heat
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I hope these tips are helpful. How do you take care of your mental health? What tips do you find best for anxiety and stress relief? I’d love to know what benefits you. Leave me a comment below or message me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Youtube.