6 Essential Self Care Things

It seems as though I never think about doing self-care until it’s too late. Let me explain, at this point in my life I find the act of self-care pretty instinctual, and when I’m doing alright, I rarely have to think about it. It’s when my mood starts creeping downwards and my anxiety heckles raise, aka the exact time when I need self-care, I forget to do it.

Luckily, over the years I’ve developed tools, I track my moods and my self-care, I have lists of options, and I follow the buddy system and have people who can remind me to check in with myself.

I think these self-care categories are largely universal. Neurodivergent or neurotypical, people with mental health stuff and people without. Everyone will have their favorites and areas that work better for them, but all in all, I think this list offers full coverage.

1. Sensory Things– This one’s easy. I don’t know about you, but my body uses sensory devices to unconsciously soothe me. That’s a really nice way of saying that when I’m stressed out I rock. Rocking isn’t the only sensory means I use to care for myself. I like swings, I like hot hot hot showers (as long as my face doesn’t get wet). I also use stim toys like tangles and squishes and slime. My hard of hearing side as well as my autistic side both enjoy as-loud-as-it-can-go-speaker-vibrating-would-probably-cause-hearing-loss-if-I-wasn’t-half-deaf music.

These aren’t the only options though, some people like ice packs and essential oils and fish tanks and a million other things. If you use your senses to experience it, then it counts as sensory!

2. Comforting Things- This one is highly personal, but I think it’s one of the more important categories. I know when I’ve had a godawful day I want nothing more than stuff that makes me feel safe. Disney movies (Moana, Big Hero 6, and The Emperor’s New Grove to name a few), my weighted blanket, and preferably a pet (or 2!)  are my ideal combination.

Some people really like tea. Some people like rewatching all 9 seasons of The Office (or Buffy, or Scrubs). Some people like big fuzzy sweaters. Some people like going for a run. If it makes you feel good right down to your soul, then it’s likely a great candidate as a comforting thing.

3. Connection Things- Autism can make this more complicated than for your average person, but it’s still useful. Most of us aren’t overly social, even if we enjoy people. I have a great time in small groups where I know everyone well. My ultimate nightmare either a roomful of people, or talking 1 on 1 to someone don’t know. *shudder*.

There are lots of ways to feel connected if you’re willing to think out of the box. Connection can totally happen with people you meet on Tumblr or Discord or WordPress (hint hint). I love going to coffee shops to read or write because just being around other people gives me a connected feeling. So find your connection to the world and don’t let anyone tell you that it’s wrong!

4. Creative Things- Sometimes when I’m in a brain space where I need self-care, the only thing that will work is the act of creating something. I think it’s the feeling you get when you can hold something tangible in your hands that you made.

Luckily, there as many was to create as you can think of. I’m partial to things like knitting that have repetitive motions, and Sticker by Number books that have a huge creative bang for its minimal effort buck. Other mediums include Perler beads, crochet, painting, sewing, and polymer clay. You can also incorporate a Special Interest and double your self-care!

5. Movement Things- I hate admitting that movement is good for me. I’ve always hated doctors telling me I’ll feel better if I  just ‘go for a run’. Well, it’s true. Not the running part, I hate running, but finding ways to move my body that I enjoy can really help. I love riding my bike and playing with Winnie (who is still full of puppy energy). I also, despite being 31, still love to climb and jump off things.

“Good” movement is different for everyone. So walk through your neighborhood and stretch like a downward facing dog and become a ninja warrior and play a team sport. It all builds up. So jump and twirl and spin your cares away!

6. Organize Things– There is nothing more satisfying than having everything in order, and I can always tell that I’m stressed when I start making lists of things. This year during finals week I reorganized my whole to-read list on Goodreads- all 1300 books of it!

There are lots of things to organize though. Alphabetizing your books or sorting t-shirts by genre or color. You can sort Tupperwarewear or photos, plus you can make lists! Favorite movies, places you’d like to travel to, and go-to meals are just a few of them. If you need inspiration, Marie Kondo has a Netflix show called Tidying Up that’s both soothing educational.

There we go, my top 6 essential self-care categories. Think I missed something? Let me know! The more self-care options the better in my opinion!

Until Then, I Flap

Today my anxiety is coming out through my head

It bops and sways without even asking my permission first

If it had asked, I would have replied ‘no way José’ not because its name is José, but because when I’m anxious I speak solely in phrases

Today my anxiety is coming out through my hands

They touch and feel everything even if it is wet or sticky

Sometimes touching things feels good, and sometimes it feels bad, but my anxiety doesn’t notice the difference.

Today my anxiety is coming out through my feet

They tap and skip and don’t care where they bring me

I wish for stillness, but instead I pace my living room until my soles ache and even then I can’t stop

Today my anxiety is overlapping with my autism

One at a time is hard enough, but today I have both

I’m tired of stimming, of echolalia, and of obsession, but today my brain doesn’t care

Today I am tired, but I am practicing self-care so that tomorrow will be better

Until then, I flap

6 Word Stories pt. 24

Hello Friends! I’m here to apologize ahead of time for next week’s 6-word content. I’m having (minor) surgery on Tuesday, and that’s likely will be all I want to talk about.

This week, however! I’ve been wobbling between being very productive, and very anxious about not being productive. And being anxious about what my productivity will bring. So basically, I’m damned if I do, and I’m damned if I don’t.  Let’s just say I’m contemplating big changes, and all of the options freak me out.

  • Is ‘life goes on’ a threat?
  • Changing my routine is so unnerving.
  • Hats with ears make people smile!
  • I disguise my need for help.
  • I hate peeing every 20 minutes
  • No matter what happens I panic
  • Good days are dog petting days

I think some of these 6-word stories are kind of downers, so I’m here to let you know that a therapy dog came by the infusion center this week and I got in lots of pets- and he licked my nose! So my week wasn’t all bad.

Until next week!

 

6 Word Stories pt.23

This week is the first week of full-time infusions, and I’m in love it! After two liters of fluids, I come out feeling like a superhero. Granted, a superhero who needs a nap, but still, my ability to tolerate standing and walking is greatly improved. I know once I start my POTS exercise protocol I won’t feel as awesome any more, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts. I’m back up to my full dose of anti-anxiety meds, but it hasn’t been long enough to take full effect, so I’m still a bit of a nervous rest. It should get better. I need it to get better. On the bright side, St. Louis has been, in true St. Louis fashion, unseasonably warm, and I’ve gotten to spend some time outside. It’s been great after those two weeks of -18 wind chills!

  • How did I live without a Kindle?
  • Celebrating Valentines Day early with sushi!
  • How did I get lost again?
  • Don’t trust me to make decisions.
  • Why am I even doing this?
  • I love mail addressed to me!
  • Obsessed with a new board game.

Next week brings a performance at my church’s annual LGBTQ+ Feel The Love Coffee House. My wife and I are performing Androgynous, by The Replacements! Are you guys doing anything interesting this week?

6 Word Stories pt.22

This week has been wracked with anxiety, and I’m trying to weather the storm. It’s made writing more difficult, as I’ve lost every bit of confidence that I have, so even if I can start something, I find myself deleting it immediately because to me, it all reads like crap. I’m trying to change up my strategy a bit, writing more from that heart, about experiences I’m having as they come. We’ll see how that goes. Other news is that I had my first infusion using my port. The whole thing went pear-shaped and I ended up having a meltdown at the infusion center, but I’m hoping things will get easier. On the bright side, my stitches have healed, and the port has stopped hurting, although it does itch like crazy. I’m thinking that will go away soon too.

 

  • Why am I in the kitchen?
  • Knit purl, knit purl, soothing stitches.
  • Important Announcement: New Special Interest Acquired!
  • Too many books- not a problem.
  • Dear strangers: please don’t touch me.
  • I’ve decided that bras aren’t necessary.
  • Can’t handle this friendship falling apart.

Hope everyone is having a good week, and I hope it’s as warm wherever you are as it is here!

Meds and Me

Alright, guys, it’s confession time.

I haven’t written anything in weeks.

Thank goodness for me, I had a bit of a backlog, but it was driving me crazy trying to figure out what was causing my “writer’s block”.

At first, I figured everyone gets a little burned out, and I didn’t worry, but as the days and weeks went on, I started getting really anxious that I’d lost my writing chops.

That anxiety should have clued me in. But even though I’ve had anxiety since I was a tiny human (my family jokes that I started stress biting my nails the day my little sister came home from the hospital), I didn’t recognize it this time.

And that should be a good thing! It proves that I’m so well medicated, that I’m not used to being an anxious wreck anymore.

Once I realized that I knew what happen. My psychiatrist wanted to try decreasing one of my anxiety meds, and since I do up pills two weeks at a time (it makes sense when you take 22 pills a day), I didn’t correlate the med decrease with the crippling anxiety I’ve been feeling.

I’ve been anxious about writing. About going back to school and deciding on a career. I worry that my wife will die. I worry that I’m wasting my life. I’m worried about getting old. I’m worried about dying. And about not dying. Sigh.

So clearly, the medication is going back up where it was. Depending on how things go, I may be quiet for a little while. I figure blogs are for honesty, so here I am.