For me, the biggest challenge in my life comes down to a lack of preparation. Sometimes I underestimate how long things will take. Other times I overestimate my energy level going into a busy week. Over the past few months, taking Sundays to prepare for the busy work week has saved me time and energy in the long run. It’s become part of my mantra of “self-care Sunday”. Now with the time change making the evening darker sooner, I’m getting firmly into my hibernation mode which gives me more time to relax.
Meal preparation for the week has been my downfall in the past. It has lead to unhealthy eating choices and spending money I don’t really have. My new every-other Tuesday work schedule involves me working 10am to 5pm and then 6pm to 8am. Yes… you read that correctly. So this means I need to be able to eat healthy while not spending too much time the day of getting food ready. The theme of this week is “salads” because I’ve been craving a good hearty salad. Almost everything is chopped up in containers waiting for me to combine things when I want. Tupperware containers are so much of a lifesaver I can’t even rave about them enough.
The other big preparation thing for me going into the busy week is cleaning my space up before things get hectic. Laundry is all done and now I just need to fold things. Normally clothing waits to be folded for a LONG time until it begins to form sentience, but not this week. My personal space tends to be a reflection of my inner mind so during hectic times things get really messy. A way for me to address that is taking care of the already existing mess while trying to instill some order to things. Things will still get messy, this is a fact of life, however learning how to maintain and equilibrium of mess is important. Mess is like energy, it is neither created nor destroyed; it only changes shape.
I’ll be off to OCALI Conference in Ohio next week so I’m focusing on finishing up my poster presentation this week and getting everything in order.
Year ago, a women named Christine Miserandino wrote a blog post about what it is like to live with chronic illness or a disability. It was called The Spoon Theory . The phrase has now been widely used and is very frequently referenced in the disability community as “running low on spoons” or similar phrases. After the week I’ve had, yes I’m aware it is only Thursday, I have exhausted my spoons until the weekend.
For me, running out of spoons involves forgiving myself of any social obligations or things that are not Priority 1. Priority 1 for me involves things like self-care or urgent bills/things with doom deadlines or work that cannot be missed. In these situations, I will handle things to the best of my ability and then go crash. I’ve learned, the hard way of course, that I am not able to stretch myself past my limit. Sometimes social events will look fun when I desire to be social but going out can quickly turn a fun time into overload if I’m running low on spoons.
Spoon recovery for me can take awhile depending on how run down I let myself get. For me, this week has had some emotional challenges that zapped away some spoons I was saving for later. This means when my work obligations are done tomorrow I will only be doing things that comfort me like watching silly movies or napping. I also have a big thing I’m working on tomorrow that will provide me some sensory seeking relief and some much needed comfort. Stay tuned tomorrow to find out what it is.
April comes around once a year, yet it seems like the other 11 months are spent recovering. March was a very rocky month for me emotionally and physically so this Autism Awareness/Acceptance month has caught me off guard. I also actively choose to not engage in the 5 million autism posts this month as it gets very draining and instead am very selective of where my comments go. Self care has become a new and welcomed part of my daily life and it’s even more important during this month. So as I’m finishing up my official Autism Awareness/Acceptance post, here’s a smaller one.
Things I did instead of dwelling on Autism Awareness/Acceptance Month
- Paint my toenails
- Practiced spinning my props a LOT
- Dyed part of my hair purple
- Folded my laundry
- Went to the gym
- Ran away to Albany, NY
- Saw The Mountain Goats in concert
- Cleaned my bathroom
- Made food for myself
- Performed a gig on a catwalk
- Attempted to get enough sleep