The Little $9 Amazon Find That Lowered My End-of-Day Stress
My current life does not cater to my natural HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) tendencies. I’m a mother of five, three of whom are active little boys, and our house is … boisterous. (Of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way.) I’m learning to listen to the sound of sibling scuffles and middle children clamoring to be heard, and doors slamming as kids go outside to rollerblade and then back inside for an urgently needed snack as the soundtrack of the “good old days.”
But I still do find myself overwhelmed — especially at certain times of the day when the combination of noise and the pressure of time conspire to bring out Cranky Mama. So at these times of day in particular, which occur with regularity during the morning rush and the dinner scramble, it behooves the entire family to do what we can to reduce my extraneous sensory stimulation.
To this end, the kids do Power 10s before dinnertime so our physical space is in order. They also know that it’s not the time to, say, wrestle but to instead pick a “calming down activity” like puzzles or coloring. Cutting down on noise, I’ve found, has an outsized impact on my stress levels. But controlling non-living noise-makers is easier than trying to get kids to remember and comply.
Enter: the $9 Amazon find that cut down on noise I wasn’t even aware of. I’m talking about nail-in felt chair pads. I had felt pads on the feet of our wooden chairs, but over time (and lots of chair dragging), the stick-on pads had worn down to the wood and the chairs made horrible sounds when being pulled out and pushed in.
I bought felt protectors for most of our furniture after we had new flooring installed in other areas of our house, and I bought some for our kitchen chairs, too. But these nail in and include a durable layer of hard plastic in addition to the felt, so I know they won’t wear down nearly as fast as the others. Plus, eliminating the sticky stuff means I don’t have to deal with the pet hair and dust that sticks to slipping pads.
The best part of affixing these durable felt pads to our kitchen chairs, though, was the immediate reduction in noise. I’d gotten so used to the chair-dragging sounds that my unconscious brain filtered them out, but, my goodness, does my conscious brain appreciate the deafening silence that now accompanies the act of moving chairs in the kitchen. It used to be “screech” and “draaaaagggg” all day long while I was in the kitchen and kids would come and go. Now, those nails-on-a-chalkboard-like sounds are gone. And seriously, the stress meter needle returned to green.
I know, it’s such a little thing to care about, let alone write about. But honestly, this new quiet is oh-so appreciated. If you want to know how life-changing these felt pads are, take a minute and listen to the sounds in your house. Hear that screech of a chair being pulled out? Yeah, now imagine not hearing that sound anymore.
This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: The $9 Amazon Find That Instantly Lowered My Stress Level in the Kitchen