Adulting, Independence

Adulting: Knowing When To Care For You

When we are an adult, we have responsibilities that we must engage in, especially if they allow us to have the life we want to have. However, there are times when I recognize that I just need to take a day off and regroup for the purpose of my mental health.

Mental health is becoming a little more commonplace in the world with the effects of restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Being so, and finally on my feet with better grounding has made me see that in fact that as an adult there are times when the weekly load becomes too much for me to handle. Part of this lies within the chambers of autistic burnout and as such I have cut back my workload to a degree from before the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic. I see a better self because I do not over engage in things that stress me out and because of the way things were during the lockdown periods, I never had the full sense of a five day workweek.

I personally have felt the sense of autistic burnout and that I need periods of rest just in general through the traditional week, but also every four to five weeks I sense I just need to take some time to myself away from the traditional flow. This can be selfish to family as they think it can worsen my mood, rather it recharges me for the times when I must endure the world that is not made for me. It has taken a lot for me to recognize the signs when I have had my fill of too much flow and that I need to step aside and care for myself. 

That looks different in each and every person. For me it can be a combination of hyperfocusing on a special interest or maybe taking care of things, or even just relaxing. It looks different in everyone, regardless of whether they are autistic or not. Everyone needs to take care of themselves. This can also be in regard to the fact that the world has been through so much and having to get back into somewhat of an even more sense of normalcy is going to take some time, especially in autistic people like myself who struggle with change consistently.

The fact of the matter is that you do not criticize yourself for taking care of you or worrying about what others may think about you caring for yourself. I am sure that they would rather take care of you than react negatively towards them. If they ask if you are OK, just be honest. The last time that I took a mental health day, a staff person at my day program asked me this and I was honest with them. They acknowledged that they were glad that I can recognize the need to care for myself, given the fact that I had a meltdown a few weeks ago, it can go without saying that they understood the need for me to care for myself. 

I have had a hard time accepting when I needed to take time to care for me,and at times I am doing better at recognizing that I need to care for me. Having others validate this for me makes it easier and they see my mood be brighter than it would if I was not caring for myself. It is being manageable with knowing that you need to care for yourself so you can get back into the world that is expected for you to live your best life and be there for those that depend on you.

There is an old adage that there is no health without mental health and that you must take care of yourself before you can take care of others or other things that require your attention. Keep that in mind as you traverse this world where mental health is more brought to light.

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