Today is the first day in a while that I can really relax and really decompress from socializing with people. Not that I mind it, but there’s the saying that too much of a good thing isn’t a good thing, right? Well, yesterday was that kind of day, socializing without a chance to breathe and be myself.
This brings in something that I feel the need to cover on the Superblog: a matter a doing Self Care. How I interpret self care is doing things that make you happy, doings things that you enjoy, going places you like going to, in other words, it’s all about you!
The thing is: knowing when you need to do self care is easy, but it can also be hard (at least for me) to make and reinforce boundaries. It’s ever harder to do so when the Bartenders Conundrum is enacted, when people know I’ll listen to them. It can be exhausting at times, which requires me to use my self care option. It literally can mean the difference between relaxing and being overwhelmed. It’s for that reason I like to hang out in my apartment on my mornings off, sleep in when I need to, have a nice cup of coffee, all while I think of places to see on my days off, so I can make the most of recharging my batteries (figuratively speaking, of course.)
There are other things you can do during your self care regiment, all taken from article from the Mighty written by Talhia V and entitled “6 Self-Care Tips for People on the Autism Spectrum (the link is posted here, for your information: https://themighty.com/2018/09/self-care-autism-spectrum/) but I’ll add thier words along with my own commentary and how it affects me, since it might help you as well.
Just a disclamer, though, what works for me might not work for everyone so what I write about this is what i’ve discovered and what works for me, it may not be how others promote self care, so take thier words and use them in any way you see fit, because it’s your life after all, and this is all about you.
So without further ado:
1) Think about or write down something positive about yourself every day.
“A few weeks ago I’ve started to think about something that I’m good at and/or something that is good about me every day, and I’ve noticed a improvement in how I see myself.”
Admittingly, this is something I need to do for myself, mostly because it’s so very easy to feel like everything about you is wrong, a case that NT’s make, like “This is our world, you’re just living in it.”
More like existing at times.
We need to feel like we are worthy of being noticed, rather than tolerated and the only way to do that is to uplift ourselves; make ourselves feel like we are good enough. But more on that a little later.
2) Give yourself some time alone.
I like time to myself as constantly socializing and talking is exhausting. Despite the seemingly constant pressure to “be social,” you are allowed to be alone and enjoy your company, for example once you get home from work. Give yourself time to read a book, look up videos of whatever you enjoy, listen to music, enjoy the silence, take a nice warm bath or whatever you like to do. You’ll find you might feel refreshed and relaxed afterwards, ready to continue on with things.
This is something I do daily, in order to recharge my own batteries and I agree that, unlike our NT friends, socializing can be exhausting, especially if you need to go off your script. It’s ok to feel like your “off the clock” so to speak, as soon as you get home and reward yourself in your own way.
3) Engage the senses.
Some of us on the spectrum find particular textures/senses rather pleasant such as feathers (touch), a lavender candle (smell) or the sound of the wind whistling through the trees. Allow yourself to experience whatever your senses desire! When I do this I feel calm, soothed and content, especially if I do it during times of distress.
In a world that immerses us in all kinds of things, it can be the right sound, the right smell, the right taste and textures that can help us in our self care regiment, myself, I find myself sniffing candles at my job because it helps me relax, or cooking when I’m at home, I can’t say why it helps me, but it does.
4) Practice what interests you.
It also helps me as I’m doing what interests me and getting pleasure out of it. Take the time to do whatever you like to do, be it building model planes, reading about the planet, building and putting together a computer, learning history or whatever you enjoy!
Speaking on immersing yourself in what you love, what your passion is, it helps you calm your minds to be totally focused on it, let it shine in your own way and on your time. Maybe something will happen during your day that you can use in your passion, let it help you during your downtime.
5) Allow yourself to feel how you feel.
If you’ve had some people say or do some unpleasant things towards you, try to allow yourself to feel those feelings as bottling them up can do more harm then good.
This one has always been a tough one for me, especially since i’m so used to bottling up my emotions and never give myself a chance to actually feel them, so much so that it’s messed up my self esteem and self confidence. Mostly, it’s the acting on those emotions that seem the scary of the two, but it really should be done, maybe asking those people you trust to help you talk through them.
6) Realize how good you are.
This one is hard at times as I hear the bad things about me and my autism a fair bit. But recently I’ve been focusing on my strengths — sometimes easier said than done, I’ll admit!
Maybe try it for yourself? You could be a brilliant talker, someone who has a brilliant sharp memory or anything! This takes practice, but hopefully you’ll see the benefits for yourself. You are a good person!
Remember when I said we’d deal with uplifting ourselves earlier, well, this ties into the end and, to be honest, this is another hard one for me, because of my messed up self esteem and self confidence. I’ve believed more of the bad of my autism then good sometimes, even if it seems small to NTs, it could feel like my day is ruined because of one small thing. Not only do we need to uplift ourselves to feel that we are equal to NTs, but we need our voices and our concerns to be respected and valued, but that starts at the top, with us.
So, let’s start with right now, today, tomorrow and let’s let our uniqueness be heard and valued as much (if not better) than we are so we all can make a difference in our communities and really….