As HSPs, we're learning to embrace the fact that our senses are more fine-tuned to our environments than others. Because I am writing specifically to parents, I want to focus on creating sensory-rich and sensory-happy homes in ways that are practical to life at home with children. And as we have discussed before, life at home can be stinky!
In my original 15 Tips post, I began the smell section by noting that we need to be proactive about smell because I feel that is the most important step parents can take to make sure their noses are happy at home. It's also free! Well, in terms of not spending money, it is free. But it will cost you a little bit of time and effort to maintain a pleasingly-scented home.
So on a practical level, this looks like recognizing the yuck smells and doing whatever needs to be done to eliminate them.
- Take dirty diapers out of the house immediately; or, if that's not possible, flush as much of the solid waste (okay, the poop) before putting the diaper in the trash or the Diaper Genie. (That may feel weird at first if you aren't a cloth diapering family, but trust me, cloth diapering parents are all about flushing toddler poop, so you are in good company!)
- Make cleaning out your fridge regularly a priority. Toss those leftovers that overstayed their welcome and keep an eye on that produce drawer where vegetables and good intentions go to die. Don't forget the freezer! It seems impossible, but bad smells can accumulate quickly in there, too.
- As kids get older, they get stinkier. So much fun! But so much stinky. Teach them hygiene and habits that will help them with smelling nice. When it comes to their bedrooms, some parents may choose to help kids problem solve ways to keep their room smelling - at the very least - okay; other parents may decide that is not a hill they are going to die on and just avoid the funk altogether. It's okay to admit that kiddo stink is hard on your HSP-ness! Work with your kids to help find solutions without shaming them all while reminding them that a Happy Mommy has a Happy Nose.
- Invest in some AIRIA spray from Freshana Organic. Even if they weren't currently sponsoring SortaCrunchy, I would still be singing the AIRIA praise. (Singing. AIRIA. See what I did there?) It truly, truly tackles the worst of family life odors and leaves behind the glorious smell of NOTHING. And even if your kids get in a spray can fight (what, your kids don't?), you don't have to worry one bit about what they just inhaled. 100% natural awesomeness in a can. (Use code "SortaCrunchy" for 20% off your order!)
There will likely be seasons of home life where creating and maintaining a scent-neutral home is all you can do to care for yourself as an HSP.
But there may very well come a day when the fog of a hard season lifts and you decide to step further into the creation of a nice-smelling home. In the 15 Tips, I mentioned some ways to do that. Let's expound on those:
Essential oils can be a wonderful way to bring not only good scents but great health benefits into your home. You could diffuse them using something like a cool mist diffuser (this one diffuses for up to five hours and this one up to eight hours), or if you don't want to mess with a misting device, you might consider investing in something like an ultrasonic diffuser such as Greenair's Nebair.
Another option might be grabbing some aromatherapy inhalers which are kind of awesome because you can take them anywhere - even your Aunt Clara's cigarette-scented living room!
As far as what essential oil works best for creating well-scented homes, that's totally going to be a matter of personal preference! While frankincense is known for its soothing, centering properties, the balsamic notes that some HSPs love might be off-putting to others. The same goes with lavender, an EO traditionally known for its calming and balancing effects, but the floral notes might not jive with you. Consider a trip to a health food store to sniff their collection for sale, or visit with an essential oil distributor (I'm sure you know at least one!) for finding the right oils or oil blends for your home.
(Just a note - though caution should be exercised in using essential oils topically on children under 2, diffusing oils around them is generally considered safe. If you want to double-check before purchasing and using, you can reference this article at Learning About EOs: Essential Oils and Children)
Speaking of using caution around the kiddos - candles can be a great way to scent a home as long as you are able to burn them safely. (Which, with two toddlers on the prowl, I really cannot right now!)
The very best candles I have ever burned are from Pure Integrity. These candles are AMAZING. I could not get over the strength of the scents they throw! And they are paraffin-free, too. (Totally unsponsored, non-affiliate endorsement here. I'm just an enthusiastic fan!)
Some HSPs might prefer the more gentle scent of beeswax candles. Haley of Carrots for Michaelmas adores the ones from Toadily Handmade Beeswax Candles, and over at Red and Honey, you can learn to make them yourself!
I asked our Facebook community about their favorite candles, and you can read what they recommend here.
SCENTS OF NATURE
Something that can be free or very low-cost would be bringing nature into the house. This could in the form of bouquets of fresh flowers, or as I mentioned in the 15 Tips post, simmering spices on the stove. Here are some more ideas to check out:
- DIY Natural Room Scents, The Yummy Life
- 12 Homemade Simmer Pot/Potpourri Recipes, JanDee Crafts
- 7 DIY Ways to Make Your Home Smell Amazing, hello natural
As always, it's incredibly important to start with the fundamentals for HSParents, training your thoughts and choices to affirm that though it may seem impractical to some, the act of creating a home that is a sensory haven for you as a parent can only mean good things for your family, friends, and community. A balanced, centered, peaceful parent is one who can best nurture those dependent on us!
Next up in the series, we'll discuss touch - one sensory element so inescapable in parenthood! But for now, I would love to hear from you Highly Sensitive People on what makes your nose so very happy.
Top photo by islandjoe
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