As you are probably aware that Christmas is upon us next month. Christmas can be a lovely time to spend with special people in your life, however, as a person with autism, this period can be rather stressful.
One of the triggers for me is that it is a massive change in my routine and expectations are the biggest areas that I struggle and get quite stressed, probably bound to have at least one meltdown.
So, over the years I have tried to find ways that can help me not feel so overwhelmed by all the change because I hate it very much. I thought I would share some of my coping mechanisms, they could help you or someone you know.
Of course, Christmas isn’t just stressful for autistic people it could very easily be someone without it as there are a lot of extra of things you have to deal with especially if you have children, the stress quadruples.
One place that calms me is my safe place, where I go to when I am stressed and that is my bedroom. I have always associated my bedroom with my safe place, even though currently it looks like a bomb has gone off (hubby will one day decorate it, ffs). I still go to my bed to calm down. I have low lights on and put one throw and two sleeping bags, yes excessive but that is a comfort for me. I calm down and it is my space (not the website, lols).
I know with Christmas everything goes right out of the window but loosely knowing what is happening helps me a great deal to feel I am in control and there is some structure. I hate not knowing what is happening. Also, my eldest is the same so basically we need it now just for me but for him as well.
I like mantras, I like repeating over and over again especially when I am stressed. So saying to myself, ‘it is one day, it lasts x amount of hours and I can get through just like all the other days’ helps me because it is a statement, I can repeat it and it brings me back on focusing on the control which in turns help with managing my anxiety.
I used to have this weird idea that you had to stay in all day at Christmas. I appreciate that some people love this, which is absolutely fine. However for me going out for a walk, getting some fresh air really does help clear my head. I feel less closed in with the tree and the disorder of all the toys everywhere etc not in their rightful place. It also calms kids down as well and gets rid of some of that pent-up energy they have.
I know it is ironic me saying talk to someone, as I myself am fully aware that communication is one of the hardest things to do, but even if it is written down one word such as change this can help other members maybe bit a bit more patient. I remind husband as brilliantly supportive he is, sometimes with his own stress, a polite prompt that you are struggling goes a long way. It then gives him the opportunity to a bit more patient and it is a calmer environment for all to manage.
Cheers for reading X