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ASERT has put together some resources for those with autism and those who care for people with autism relating to the current Coronavirus outbreak.

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Handling Hectic Holidays

By Another Piece of the Puzzle

I mentioned last month that I come from a large family. Two out of the three of my siblings are married and have children. My youngest nephews are both under 8 years old. Now add in my parents plus grandparents and aunts from both sides of the family. This, as well multiple dogs running around makes for a crazy holiday or family gathering. I can tend to get super overwhelmed very easily around all of that. I usually have to find somewhere quiet and away from everyone to be able to calm down.

Going to my husband’s family’s gatherings is quite different, though. He is an only child and has two grown cousins and one aunt and uncle. One cousin is married, without children. After that, it’s just his parents and one set of grandparents. The environment is much more quiet. I feel more relaxed and at ease around his family compared to mine.

Over the years, I’ve learned how to cope with my different stimuli. I mentioned earlier about removing myself from the situation. Sometimes, but not always, I’ll replace the noise of my family with my favorite music by sitting and listening to it through my earbuds on my phone. Another replacement I use is reading. If I’m reading a book, I’ll try to find a comfy corner and immerse myself in it. Recently, I was given a small bottle of a mix of essential oils that is made to help you focus and keep you calm. Before my husband and I left our house for Thanksgiving, I applied it behind my ears, as well as on my wrists and the back of my neck. We then went to his parents house followed by mine. When we were leaving my family and getting into the car, I turned to my husband, shocked. I realized that I hadn’t felt anxious or nervous once while being around all the craziness that is my family.

My husband isn’t much of a social person, either. Luckily for me, he’s also a self-proclaimed nerd. This means after being out and dealing with people, we are both usually content to plop down in front of the television and binge on some Netflix or play a video game and shut out the rest of the world for a little while.

I hope I have given you some good ideas for coping with the stress of the holidays and big family gatherings. My last bit of advice for this month is to not just try to “deal” with being around your family. In my experience, it can lead to bottling everything up inside of you and then exploding at the last second, whatever the explosion may look like for you.

Happy holidays, reader. Stay weird!