For some reason, it almost always happens when I’m putting away the groceries. Something about coming home from a crowded supermarket, changing environments and touching lots of textured, smelly foods sends my neurodivergent brain into sensory overload. Suddenly I’ll feel like I’ve stuck my head in the freezer along with the mushy peas — I become claustrophobic, frozen and overwhelmed by every sensation.
Sensory overload can be a common experience for me and other neurodivergent people, including those with Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Tourette’s, among others. And while I’m proud of my disability, life with sensory processing issues isn’t always easy — sometimes it feels like the world just wasn’t designed for people like me. That’s why I love my apartment. In my own space, I can use tools and technology, like Google Assistant, to set up accommodations that work for me, without any judgment.
Google Assistant Routines have been particularly helpful to me in managing my sensory overload. When you set up a Routine, you can trigger Google Assistant to automatically perform multiple actions at once. For me, this means that with just one command to my Google Assistant, I’m able to transform my room into a sensory-friendly space. I do that with a four-action custom Routine I created specifically to meet my needs — I call it “Zen Mode.” Here are the actions that happen whenever I activate my “Zen Mode” Routine, and why they’re helpful to me.