Area Guides

6 Sensehacking Break Experiences for Stress Relief

Our busy lives can so easily begin to dull our senses and experiences; ever-distracted by work, we can become driven by busyness, always riding on a wave of stress and the endorphin-inducing buzz of our phone.

We can so easily forget what it’s like to slow down, break through the hum-drum and re-sensitise ourselves. Reconnect with our senses and with nature so we actually hear the birdsong, recognise the rush of trees in the wind or the calmness we feel when we listen to waves lapping at the shore.

It is important that we disconnect from work, schedules and the kids’ school timetables sometimes so we can reconnect with ourselves, with nature and with our senses. We’re talking about the idea of ‘sense-hacking’ life. Stirring things up a little, by changing the scenery, the sounds, the temperature, the aromas, so we can re-engage, renew, and reawaken.

For times of stress or anxiety we can call on our senses to help us restore mindfulness and calm. Try this simple but very effective grounding exercise which calls upon the senses in moments where life may be feeling overwhelming, it will help to carry you through the emotions you’re experiencing and keep you in the present moment.

Stop what you’re doing and sit for a moment. Breathe in deeply, then out deeply, and then as you stay with the relaxing breath, in your mind list:

  • 5 things you can see?
  • 4 things you can touch?
  • 3 things you can hear?
  • 2 things you can smell?
  • 1 thing you can taste?

Another way to halt monotonous cycles, gain fresh perspective and re-engage the senses is to get away from the usual routine.

Our experience breaks here in the New Forest promote deep relaxation by tapping into the healing properties of our ancient woodland location through popular activities such as forest bathing. Whilst our spa, SenSpa, looks to address stress and tension through hydrotherapy, Thai rituals, and traditional therapies, to rebalance and restore.

Discover just some of the sensehacking experiences you can discover at our Brockenhurst hotel:


Engage your ears and listen. Often these days we find relaxing soundscapes and playlists on apps or platforms like Spotify to help us feel relaxed or get to sleep. During your visit to our National Park, however, sensehacking comes in the form of surrounding yourself with the real sounds of our forest. Close your eyes and listen to nature; to the wildlife. Hear the birdsong, the insects in flight, the ponies’ brays, the babbling brook, the wind through the leaves… When was the last time you stopped and just, listened.

Meanwhile, if you’re enjoying a treatment at SenSpa or relaxing in the Hydrotherapy Suite, calming background soundscapes, thoughtfully selected, will lull you to sleep or simply lull you into a comforting calmness.


Step into SenSpa’s Hydrotherapy Suite to restore balance and ease tension; alternating between hot and cold water can improve circulation and reduce muscle tension whilst taking a few moments to focus on your breath and be present in the moment can help to reduce anxiety and stress, and improve mental clarity.

Or pack a picnic and venture to the coast or the forest for wild water therapy. No matter whether you like to wild swim or simply listen to it flow, water is known to ‘trigger the parasympathetic nervous system’, the system responsible for our “rest and digest” response, opposite to the sympathetic nervous system which drives our “fight or flight” response. Water also boosts the feel-good hormones, serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine.


Being in nature is a therapy unto itself. Nature is not simply something to view from the office window, sometimes we need to step into it, ground ourselves, swap screens for the forest, heathland, and sunset skies. Nature has a wonderful way of bringing us back to the moment. However, it can feel overwhelming, knowing how exactly to be outside, if you don’t know local walks or where to venture. But the thing with being outside is, you needn’t have a plan or a route to follow. You can just wander, sit, amble. In our New Forest you can set out on your own, or you can enjoy a bike ride with a local guide. At home, find a forest or park near you, take your lunch, and just sit and enjoy being out there, under a tree or on a bench. There are no rules.

Forest bathing

Or ‘Shinrin-yoku,’ means, ‘bathing’ all the senses, whilst walking slowly… taking in the forest atmosphere.’ Forest bathing has shown to greatly improve mindfulness, mood, concentration; boost creativity, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone, Cortisol. Here in the New Forest our ancient trees welcome you to join them, whether you wish to walk, play, picnic or simply sit and spot wildlife.

Search for a forest near you and swap out the usual busy weekend of back-to-back activity with a bike ride or forest walk and picnic.


At SenSpa discover an extraordinary and unique sensory experience incorporating sound therapy, colour therapy, aromatherapy, and vibration to promote deep relaxation and regenerate the body and mind.


When you step into SenSpa, the signature fragrance welcomes you at the door. Our very own blend of 100% essential oils is made up of an uplifting and calming combination including Orange, Bergamot (bergapten free), Lavender, Geranium and Ylang Ylang, to name but a few.


If you can’t get away, you can enjoy the scent of SenSpa at home and create your own spa experience to calm and engage your senses and restore mindfulness, or step outside, even for just ten minutes and practice grounding techniques, using those senses and bathing in the beautifully inherent calmness of nature. Continue to incorporate these sensehacking techniques in your daily life, they will bring calm when you need it, and then when you can escape, come and visit us in the New Forest for an ultimate sensehacking spa day or spa break to completely relax and boost the mind, body and soul.


Come and unwind with us.

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