COVID-19 Series

Concentrating On COVID: Zoomed Out

We are nearing the 11th month of the COVID-19 Pandemic, it indeed has been a test on the autistic community by far. But one has to be thinking, what about all that screen time we spend online in virtual meetings, social media, completing work, and so forth? Many have been living in the virtual world in some capacity for almost 11 months now. It is getting to the point that many are virtually exhausted, and while some can excel at this, such as myself. In reality, it can be a detriment to our health, both mental and physical.

Yesterday was a highlight of a typical virtual day. There was nothing in the real world because it snowed yesterday and still did today. While I was planning to be home regardless, it did have a host of meetings to be had and a plethora of work to be completed. It was exhausting, by the last meeting I had at times lost focus on what was occurring but easily got back on task. Being glued to a screen can be difficult with one’s posture if it is not comfortable and the ability to remain focused throughout the meeting. Overtalking can occur at times and while it has gotten better in this area for individuals such as myself, there is still some improvement needed in this regard,

While we do see the advantages in meeting virtually which addresses barriers such as transportation, bad weather, scheduling conflicts, etc. Being on the screen doesn’t provide the personal connection that one longs for, especially when one spends a great deal of time in isolation. It does take a portion of our screen time of the day and bogs us down to the point where we cannot at time separate home needs and work/program needs as necessary. While there has been flexibility and understanding in this area, the symptoms and fatigue of being in front of a screen can be difficult on a person where they spend the remainder of their free time eating in excess and with winter in full blast this can comprehend the latter.

While winter already presents itself with the inability to become more active as a result of shorter days and darker weather, not having the opportunity to leave home as much as one has because of the COVID-19 pandemic has cause weight gain in many individuals autistic, neurodiverse, and neurotypical. Its not like we want to eat, we just naturally get bored and look at food as an outlet to pass time, whether we are cooking it, ordering it, buying it and then consuming it. It is one of the few things in life these days that actually makes us feel good mentally and gives us one of the few satisfying feelings that we long for. We have to keep busy but at times that can be difficult because of the limits we have in what we can do. We oftentimes know that it is necessary to work on losing weight because it effects our help but for autistic and neurodiverse folks, sometimes the use of medication and compulsive eating can be a detriment to this. Some of these individuals, including myself long for healthy bodies and want to take care of ourselves, however with the aforementioned detriments, this can be difficult to achieve. However, it can be achieved if you truly want to feel better.

Yes, I know I started about meeting fatigue and it transcended into food issues. But in reality, it does overlap because they are both related to COVID and being home a lot and not having the ability to control these functions within yourselves. Just know that you are not alone in this pandemic and at one day we will see the light at the end of the tunnel and we will have some kind of normal that doesn’t require us to sit in front of a screen continuously.

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