Compiled by Marilize Fourie & Yumna Razak

Adapted from the April 2022 SAISI Newsletter

We currently live in a highly stressful environment due to the pandemic. As therapists, we can often forget to take care of our own wellbeing whilst caring for others.  We are all trained in various relaxation techniques, yet we rarely practise them. So, let’s see whether these techniques that have been “OT-fied” will help you to incorporate relaxation into your daily lives.


  1. Sensory reminders:

Taste – take a moment, even if it is just five minutes, to truly taste your food.

Hearing – select a nice uplifting song mix to listen to on your way to work, or if your practice is at home, play your song mix as you get your therapy room ready for the day or at the end of the day to unwind.

Sight – make a point of being aware of your surroundings.  Take a look outside the window to notice a bird sitting on the fence, a pretty flower at the side of the road, whether someone you see during the day is wearing something nice, or even a cool cloud.

Smell – we all know the phrase “take time to smell the roses”.  Of course, smell your food and drinks and really enjoy them.

Touch – wear clothes of textures you enjoy, and feel the heat or cold temperature of your food or drinks.

Vestibular – take a moment once a week to swing, even if just for five minutes.  Sit on a therapy ball and bounce.  You know how good being a bit more active can be in helping you relax.

Proprioception – give yourself a hug, jump in the ball or pillow pit, crawl under the crash mat.  Remember that it is also important for you to regulate!

Use your sensory techniques to help you to relax!


2. You can also use your senses to stay grounded: 

  • 5 things you can see
  • 4 things you can feel
  • 3 things you can hear
  • 2 things you can smell
  • 1 thing you can taste

Print the picture (as shown below) and put it up somewhere you’ll easily spot it, so you don’t forget to stay in the present.

3. Relaxation bingo – we have so many cool things in our therapy rooms and you can use them to remind yourself that you need to relax.  A sample card (see below), or you can also make your own relaxation bingo card with your specific sensory equipment on and link them to relaxation techniques.

How it works:  Every time you use a specific piece of equipment, link it to a quick relaxation activity that you can do.  For example, when you use your bean bags, think of a positive thing in your life for each bean bag you use (you will find that the positive things are far more than you can imagine). Once you achieve BINGO you can spoil yourself with something nice, something to reward you for allowing yourself the time to relax a bit…

4. Use of Apps

We have so many wonderful Apps that we can use to assist us in working in time to breathe and take a mental break.  Many of them send you notifications to remind you to take a moment.  These are just a few examples;

  • Relax Melodies: Sleep Sounds
  • Breathe+ Simple Breath Trainer
  • Get Sleepy: Sleep meditation and stories