Autism and Relaxing Days

Everyone needs time to relax – autistic people most of all – but what people do to relax can differ greatly.  The things a lot of people find relaxing can be stressful for people with autism.  For myself, and people like me a day of just doing nothing needs as much planning as any other day.  Below I explain why this might be, and how I relax as an autistic person.

It’s all about structure, and if I don’t have any then the day is going to be stressful. I don’t have to have everything planned out to the last detail, but I need at least a rough structure around what I am going to do, and when. I can’t have this structure six days a week, and then get rid of it on a day I am resting.  I still need to plan when I am getting up, what time I am eating or watching a film.  If I don’t do this then I end up spending the whole day getting more and more stressed out about not knowing what I am doing and when.  If I plan then I can relax and have fun, but if I leave it to chance I get nothing done, and feel more stressed than I did at the start of the day.

I can’t just wake up at any time and take the day as it comes. If I know I have the house to myself one day I will plan in advance what I am going to do.  I might say what time I will get up, what films I will watch, if I will do any reading that night.  And for the most part I will stick to those plans.  I know for a fact if I did not have them I would be unable to relax.  It can seem a bit odd; my Mum might ask me to do something and I will grow angry as I have plans.  But those plans might just be to sit and read!  Even lie-ins are not something I find relaxing.  I might sleep in sometimes, but for the most part I need to be up at a set time or I feel my whole routine or plan for the day is off – even if this is just by half an hour.

The fact is uncertainty, and stress are not relaxing for anyone. So I have to make plans in order to get any benefit from rest days. I know this is very different from how most people relax.  Most people I know are happy to just be around the house all day doing nothing, and while that idea is nice I just can’t do it.

I might be thinking and planning for days which film I am going to watch on a night where I have the house to myself.  Does it matter that much?  Well I am sure I would enjoy any film, but if I don’t plan it in advance I may very well be standing there for an hour trying to pick the perfect film to watch. Forward planning is key for autistic people, even when it comes to relaxing!

If you need any more help or advice about Asperger`s/Autism or simply want to talk about it check out our free help and advice service ASK-PERGERS?

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2 thoughts on “Autism and Relaxing Days

  1. Thanks for sharing as an autistic myself trying to get others to understand that plans are important is hard. Which is why I share because it’s important to get as many perspectives. Spread the love ❤️ AutiWomanDifferentBox

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