Autism has been kicking my butt lately. The behaviors, the incessant, repetitive noises, the meltdowns, no sleep and then the defiance. I’m sure you can see where our problem lies with no sleep. I’m so tired right now I can’t even begin to think about why P is not sleeping during the night. Well-rested nights=well rested child. A restless night=restless child during the day. It is one thing after another I need it now, I need you now, Why not now? I try to live by the motto “Either I can laugh or cry about this situation before me.” Usually without another thought, I can find the humor, the bright side, see that my glass is always refillable; however, lately, I’m struggling to see the good. The mental exhaustion is giving me a good run.
I even realize that toward the end of the school that the stress of heavy duty workload during the day causes a shift in P’s attitude and mood that translates into sensory overload at home. Any slightest touch hurts, a loud voice equals screaming, and aromas of food are nauseating. It’s a chore to get him moving each morning without causing too much stress to his system. There are things at school that have to be done: state-wide and district assessments, classroom assessments, transition meetings, IEP meetings, and then what is supposed to be fun end-of-the-year activities. (hint: It’s usually not fun for P because it is not regular, ordinary routine.)
I had to reflect and journal on what I can do to help myself through the end of the school year. What can I do for me? What self-care measures for my mental health to balance the extra pressure that has been introduced into our home. What is self-care? Maybe you picture a relaxing bath or indulging in a sweet treat or having an evening alone to read the latest novel on your nightstand. Self-care is choosing an activity with the purposeful intention to take care of your own physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health.
I had my own ideas for self-care. Laugh daily is essential to me. At times, it feels like there is no humor or nothing to laugh about. Sometimes, I have to look at it more in-depth. Getting outside is always a mood booster and having a pup continually scratching at the door is an excellent reminder to get out and move. I remember that I have a great tribe of friends and family that will always be on the phone when I call or ready to get together for an adventure! There are many things that I love to do like shopping in the bookstore to find a hidden treasure to enjoy, seeing a movie, practice hand lettering, or taking a walk in my city to see what’s new. I am not afraid to do them my own to recharge my batteries. I know when I focus on P’s negative behaviors that is all I see. He’s happy when’s making the repetitive noises and lining up rows and rows of hot wheel cars. Who am I to say stop? I focus on the good, and I see the good.
Note to self: Self-care needs to be something actively planned. Only when we first help ourselves can we effectively help others. Don’t feel bad for taking the time to recharge. Remember the I need it now, I need you now, and why not now can wait for a moment.
All my best to you,