Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health and Safety Guide
ASERT has compiled resources for those with autism and those who care for people with autism relating to the current COVID-19 outbreak.
It’s okay to acknowledge to yourself that things are not okay. That you’re struggling and uncertain even if it’s only to yourself. I find that suppressing my negative emotions too long doesn’t work in that they find some way of exploding out of me, often in ways that I couldn’t imagine. Finding safe ways to let go of uncomfortable emotions is healthy.
Some of the things I use to let go of steam: Cleaning, which seems hard to believe, but after I’m done, I’ve worked off anxiety and feel more in control. Exercise: take a walk, jog or a run, all good for the body and mind! Writing or making art, both great ways to see what’s going on in your head. Going outside and enjoying nature helps me feel better too. There are lots of positive ways to take care of my mental health. I chose these because I can do them by myself any time I choose. Living by myself means that having coping strategies that I can do without help is vitally important.
If you live with other people, you can do a lot together to decrease anxiety and stress. Play games, cook, make art, do crafts. watch a movie, cook together, and just hanging out and “doing nothing” is good too. I know that spending time with people I like is good for me. I try to find a balance between enjoying myself with other people and getting overwhelmed.
Regardless if you live by yourself or with other people, it’s important to keep other people in the loop, especially these days when it’s easy to feel isolated. Call, talk, text, email, you name it, but let other people who care about you know how you’re doing. It’s important not to feel alone. Communicating, especially when I’m having a hard time, is difficult and taxing too. I practice in my head what I want to say. I try to pick a time when there is not much going on. I try to express myself the best I can before I reach the “meltdown level” where all I want to do is scream and cry.
I find it helpful to try and be flexible regarding which stress-reducing coping mechanism I choose since different ones work better depending on my situation. It also takes practice to get better at safely letting go of unhealthy emotions. It’s okay to be having a hard time, it’s normal to have difficult times. I find it helpful to know that I’m not alone, that there are lots of people like me who are trying their best every day. I find it helpful to know that if I can’t do it on my own I can reach out to family and friends. If that doesn’t work or isn’t possible, there is a national helpline you can call during this period of time.
Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., EST