If you live in or close to Cape Town your bathroom is littered with buckets.  You wear the same pants for a week.  You’ve become a mini-engineer with water-saving gadgets in your kitchen.  Your car is dirty.  You’ve even tried dry-shampoo (and maybe let that one go…).  You are definitely saving water.


Here at Sensory Intelligence® Consulting, we started to wonder about the impact of the water crisis on your sensory thresholds. If you are anything like me, you might have run into some of the following scenarios:

  • Running and exercise has become slightly more difficult for me. It already seems like a mammoth task to drag myself to the streets for a run, but the water crisis added an extra element – now I need to think about when and how I will get myself clean afterwards. I usually exercised after work and then took a quick shower before going bed. Now I’m unable to shower twice a day.
    The solution: Hopping out of bed early in the morning for a lovely jog on the promenade.
    The benefits: I now see a different sunrise every morning – each one more beautiful than the last. I take a moment or two to enjoy the rhythmic waves of the ocean. And to be honest, I also enjoy moving straight from the couch to the bed in the evening, bypassing the shower altogether!
  • Shower vs bath: Part of my sensory diet used to be a long, relaxing bath over the weekends. I love lying in the bath with a book or simply closing my eyes and taking deep breaths. The drought has definitely thrown a spanner in my bathtub.  
    The solution: I’ve measured out the amount of water my 2-minute shower takes. Over weekends I measure out the same amount for bathwater. It’s not ideal and by no means fills the tub, but I prefer this far above a quick lather-on, lather-off shower.
    The benefits: I now enjoy my bath time so much more than in the past and treasure every moment of it …

  • Let’s talk about smells – office smells, body odour, drains and even perfume. Our smell sense is particularly sensitive as it connects directly to the emotional centre of the brain. Some people are more sensitive to smells than others and pick up smells very easily. Strong smells can lead to nausea and poor concentration. I’m not sensitive to smell but even I have noticed the rise of certain smells since we’ve been asked to save water. Some come from flushing toilets with grey water or in shopping malls, not flushing at all. Some people are showering only 3 times a week. Others are wearing the same clothes a few times to do less washing. Even the way we clean our homes has changed to become more water-wise. Along with this, there is the natural rise in unpleasant smells.  And along with that, comes the smells (perfumes, room sprays, deodorisers) to cover the unpleasant smells. This can become quite overwhelming for someone with a low smell threshold, in other words, someone who is very sensitive to odour.
    The solution: Spray a little of your own perfume or a drop of essential oil you like on a scarf and wrap it around your neck. 
    The benefits: Having your favourite smell so close-by will not only cancel out some of the unpleasant smells, it can also help you to stay calm.

Now it’s your turn.  Please share with us your water-experiences.  How has the water crisis impacted your sensory threshold?  And what creative solutions have you come up with to deal with it?


Karlien Terblanche is a specialist Sensory Intelligence® facilitator for adults and corporate groups. She holds a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Stellenbosch and specialises in the field of mental health. She has extensive experience in the area of sensory integration in adults and is currently exploring sensory mindfulness as a preventative strategy in mental health and wellness. She is passionate about working with both individual clients and groups and aims to guide her clients to reach their full potential. She fully believes every person can become the hero of their own story.