In a flash, everything changed. Our cars became doctors’ examining rooms and graduation processions. Virtual became the norm for every interaction from business conferences to birthday parties, after the Covid-19 virus invaded the planet.
Hidden away from family, colleagues and friends, we’ve been forced to rethink how we interact with our world. Count on the five senses to handle the heavy lifting. Each sense signals the brain to help us perceive and understand the world around us.
For those who see this as an opportunity to rethink the basics, here are some simple pleasures that involve each of the senses.
Taste: Savor the sweet life. Select at least three varieties of fresh fruit at the farmer’s market. Clean and prep. Dish up at least a cup of plain Greek yogurt, stir in honey to taste. Layer the fruit with the sweetened yogurt in a glass dish and feast on fruit compote.
Hearing: Listen up. If it’s music that soothes, turn up the volume on your favorite play list. If nature calls, take a walk in the woods, alongside a rustling brook. (Here’s an audio of a stream)
Sight: Get comfy in a cozy nook and reread a favorite book or dig into your “to read” pile. After you’ve read the last page, loan it to a friend, write an online review, spread the word.
Touch: Reach out and touch someone whom you don’t need to be socially distant from. If you’re a solitary person, find a pet to play with. Stroke the velvety blooms of roses, peonies or lilies.
Smell: Consider aroma therapy, the use of aromatic plant extracts and essential oils in massage or baths. Splash a couple of drops of lavender oil in your bath. Apply a drop of vanilla extract on a finger and touch it to a cool light bulb. When the light is lit, the fragrance emerges.
Among the many available resources for ideas and explanations of how to tap into the five senses, these are a few that are available online:
The Heart of Aromatherapy: An Easy-to-Use Guide for Essential Oils, by Andrea Butje. From cardamom to yuzu, this book explores each oil’s aroma, uses and safety tips.
A Natural History of the Senses, by Diane Ackerman, explores the five senses and how we have historically and culturally used them.
The Five Senses, by Tinaz Denizmen, is an interactive poem to teach children about each of their five senses, suitable for two to six year olds.
Marilyn Ostermiller is a professional journalist, who enjoys writing about food and children’s literature.