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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health and Safety Guide

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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Self-Care Tips for Get Togethers

By Out-of-Sync Woman

Getting together with people I don’t usually see is stressful for me. I start stressing days if not weeks before the event. I come up with the worst possible scenario and I keep thinking about it. Yes, I have had incredibly difficult experiences, especially with family, that have shaped my vision of get togethers. I do want to learn from these experiences and move on however.

For me, moving on would be acknowledging my limitations but celebrating my strengths. I know that I need to be well-rested before the occasion. I also need to eat as I get cranky when tired or really hungry. I need some physical space so not getting into the center of the crowd works best for me. Bringing a small comfort object helps me de-stress too. Having an exit strategy works wonders since I feel more comfortable so I don’t feel “trapped “at the event. Thinking ahead about topics I feel comfortable talking about is helpful, as does practicing the topics ahead of time with a friend or family member. Knowing some expectations prior to an event aid me in deciding what to wear, what to bring, and other practical matters. I also try to bring something for the people who plan and host as I feel better contributing, plus it’s often expected to bring a gift.

It’s very easy for me to get stuck thinking about my limits. However, I’m trying to be more positive these days by highlighting my strengths. I’m thoughtful, kind, and a good listener. I’m a good friend and family member and I care about other people. I’m good at reading other people and I have good self-knowledge. It’s not always easy to think about what is good and what works best; it’s natural to get stuck thinking about what doesn’t work or the negative things in life. This is something I will need to focus on until it becomes habit.

Self-understanding helps me stay calmer before, during, and after most gatherings. Taking care of myself after a get together is just as I’m important since I’m tired and need space to recover my energy. Quiet time and activity are usually best for me; I prefer reading, going on a walk, and watching a movie. It often takes me a day or two before I feel like myself. Getting back to routine is important for my mental and physical heath. I will take care of myself every day but preparing ahead for an occasion and good self-care afterwards is especially important for me.