As we are hitting the point in of the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 Pandemic, those that have had a wide variety of changes from what is normal must realize the need for self-care. Many times, we, autistics included are deeply interested and hyper focused on the tasks that we sometimes can go several hours of taking care of ourselves with simple tasks like using the restroom, eating or drinking. Sometimes for autistics the signal just doesn’t register in our brain that we need to take a break and just take care of ourselves. We are on that mission of getting what we need completed, and we are so rigid at times that we won’t stop until we do.
It is hard for autistics because their brain is often in hyper focus that we sometimes need to slow down and take care of our overall health, mental and physical. Autistics at times elect to distance themselves when others are reaching out to them. At the point they feel that at least they can give it the college try, they are oftentimes experiencing anxiety or shutdown that they don’t want to be bothered, and this at times can make their friends and family become very offended. One time a few years when I was living in my parents and the house was being repaired, we had to stay in the local hotel and I chose to stay there instead of going to my parents to my nieces sixth birthday party because I just wanted to be self-centered and take care of myself. While I realize that I need to do this at times, that probably wasn’t the appropriate occasion to skip. Yes, there was sensory overload and traumas, but I was scolded heavily for doing that.
Back to current times many of us, autistics included are experiencing an increase of screen time, whether it is work responsibilities, school attendance or just leisure time. It isn’t healthy and with the warmer weather appearing and the recent time change here in the US, I am realizing that I need to get out more, even if it’s a trip to the nearby parks or shopping center, or just for a plain walk. I did today and while I didn’t totally struggle with the walk as in times past. I did take my time and enjoy it and stop often (thankful for the benches om the way.) I have accepted responsibility for not taking care of my body and I know I have to invest in it to get healthy, the weight just won’t come off.
I do want to get back into the fitness center at some point but at this point am a little apprehensive in doing so. I don’t want to get sick; it has been a week since my first COVID Vaccine and I have three weeks to go until the second one, then three weeks until immunity is for certain. At that point I will probably pursue being safely active again in public places. I know I need to tackle the issue but I want to be sure that I can do it with ease, In the meantime, I will make attempts (when possible) to assure that I am indeed limiting screen time and at least getting the opportunity when it is made available to me to get out and be active while being socially distant.
Right now, there is some contention about being safe in the public eye, however I personally feel that it is best be safe and sorry. I have been very protective and patent during this lengthy year, along with tackling many other obstacles such as getting back on my feet again. I also understand that I need to take time for me as part of a self-care regimen. This can be done by focusing on my needs and not focusing on the needs that are requested for me. I had planned yesterday to be a self-care day, however I ended up getting up normal time and doing what doe every day. I am realizing that I need to calm down and relax a bit, I can feel it, maybe on a future weekend where I can binge watch a series or movies without drawing anxiety upon myself. It its nice, explore my community that I have been waiting all winter to do…I know I need to do it, its just putting it into action.