Ah, it is that time of year again: Christmas. There is so much to enjoy about this festive period, yet – being autistic, it can also be hugely exhausting.
Managing your energy levels during this busy time can be a delicate balance act, however you can enjoy the celebrations and take care of yourself.
You can get involved and still honour yourself. It’s just a case of being self-aware and giving yourself what you need.
If you find Christmas often leaves you tired and worrisome, this post will help ensure you do not end up running on empty.
1. It’s okay to say NO
Just because people are inviting you out does not mean you have to say yes. Saying No is self-care. Make sure you build some breathing space into your calendar to allow some time to re-energise yourself. You can block out hours or days if need be. If anyone asks about your days off, you can say “I know myself. I need time for me” — then no-one really can say anything more on the topic (because this is about respect).
2. Find moments of quiet
During parties and other gatherings, make sure you give yourself little quiet moments here are there to catch your breath and pause. Develop awareness of how you feel and give yourself breaks when you need it. You may like to focus on external sensations at first (is my heart beating faster? am i shaky? do i feel sweaty?) to gain some sense of your feelings, then ask yourself “do i need some quiet?”.
3. Be gentle with your body
Christmas is a time of indulgence and temptation. I am not about to suggest that you should give up all the delicious goodies and treats. Just maintain your energy levels in balance by getting enough sleep, drinking lots of water, walking a bit, and eating a few greens. Treat yourself, but remember your body needs kindness too.
4. Enjoy yourself
This holiday season is for everyone, so turn it into something that feels right for you. If you want to spend an afternoon curled up on the couch, then do it. Whatever your traditions or bah-hambug-ness, the origins of Christmas are about coming together and shining a light on the darkness, so if your togetherness is you and a book, and your light is quite literally a lamp, that sounds fine to me! Do what you need this festive time; take control and do things your own special way.
Original text taken from ‘Pocket Christmas Survival Guide’ booklet which I designed for my group clients in 2016, “A is for Aspie”. I hope this guide helps everyone it can!