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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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Hobbies, Self Care, and Organization

By Dmitri 

Hello again dear readers, 

Let me start out by saying; I am beat. This quarter has been going as well as it can, but balancing a nearly maximum credit load with searching for my first co-op and volunteering on my department’s newly founded committee on diversity, equity, and inclusion has been grinding me down for the past 4 weeks. My anxiety has been flaring up on and off, and it’s been easy to feel burnt out and frustrated. With all that in mind, I’ve been trying to stay extra aware of my emotional state and use various tricks to keep myself as balanced and organized as possible. I’d like to share a few of these with all you readers out there with hopes that even if you’re not in a situation quite like mine, you’ll still benefit in some way. 

Organization: 

Before Covid hit and I was still doing classes in person, I considered myself pretty organized with school work. I kept a daily to-do list with due dates tagged next to each assignment, and the assignments color-coded to each of my classes. But different circumstances demand different solutions, and my at home organization methods have changed pretty drastically. For one I have a lot more non-school related meetings I have to attend now, and keeping a widget on my phone’s homepage with my schedule has been a lifesaver. On top of that, I’ve started to mark larger assignment deadlines and exam dates on the calendar right in front of my desk. With this, I’ve been able to visualize and see that, “Hey, I have like 3 exams on week 6. I should figure out a way to prepare for that.” I still keep a to-do list, but now I have a weekly to-do that I add to and check off items throughout the week as opposed to a daily basis. 

While this may seem like extra work, and therefore extra stress, I find that organization is more like a little present to myself. With a little work going a long way in terms of avoiding the anxiety of a missed meeting or an exam that just seemed to sneak up on me. 

Self Care: 

This one I really can’t stress enough, with all the things going on in my life right now I know it’s easy to lapse in my self-care. But just like organization, it’s a little bit of extra work that goes a long way, and the benefits are usually immediate! Getting a nice shower and doing a skincare routine afterward, making sure I go to sleep at a reasonable time, doing ~15 minutes of yoga in the morning with my partner. It’s nearly always a situation where before I do self-care, it’s the last thing I want to do and I’m a big baby about it, but then afterward I feel great! In that way I really do become my own parent, but not always. I’ve also stepped up my self-care routine by getting little things to coax myself into taking care of me. Different fun face masks, getting a different scent of shampoo whenever I run out, painting my nails every once in a while, I even bought myself kids watermelon-flavored toothpaste to encourage brushing my teeth more. Even with all that, I sometimes find myself lapsing. When that happens, I make sure not to get angry with myself. I’m only human and pushing myself when I’m already down and stressed certainly isn’t going to help anything.

Hobbies: 

This final tip is arguably the funniest and has the most immediate rewards but could definitely be taken in conjunction with the other tips. Having fun and rewarding hobbies to do outside of work is really rewarding. At the end of the day, when I’ve finally stepped away from my computer and all the responsibilities, it’s really easy just to veg out and watch mindless youtube videos and scroll through Tumblr until it’s time to go to sleep. And while there is certainly a time and place in my day to day life for mindless entertainment I find that also taking some time to do productive things I also enjoy provides a great benefit! Working on a digital painting, tackling a book I’ve been meaning to read, doing a craft project with my partner. They give me a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment that I couldn’t get from just zoning out. 

I hope these were helpful. They’re not the end-all to stress, I still find myself anxious and overwhelmed from time to time. It’s more like these tips and tricks just keep me afloat, and we’re all on journeys of self-betterment. I’m not sure where all of you readers are out there with commitments and responsibilities. But regardless of the weight, you carry, finding a good balance to life can be really rewarding nonetheless. 

See you guys next month, 

~Dmitri


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