5 Tips To Avoid Christmas Stress – Autism Edition – Christmas time brings so many changes and stresses and it can be a difficult time for lots of us. Around Christmas, our routines change and things are so different from the rest of the year. We’ve put together some key tips to help you avoid extra stress this Christmas.
1. PREPARE YOURSELF!
Practice makes perfect, so if you need to practice opening gifts because you struggle with the texture of wrapping paper or reacting appropriately to what’s inside do it!
Ask a family or friend to wrap up random objects from around the house in Christmas paper so you can open them to practice, if you make it into a game it may even be a bit of fun for the both of you!
2. TAKE TIME OUT!
Every family needs their alone time after a full day of seeing each other constantly. Whether it’s a snooze on the sofa or escaping to your safe space in the house, spending a bit of time away from the noise and company of your family is a must!
After a long day of gifts and squabbles over what to watch on the telly, everyone needs some time to relax and recharge. I personally take my dog out for a walk before lunch so I can get some alone time with my music to calm me down before food, but it could be in the house.
Go up to your room or into the garden. Your family probably won’t mind, they’ll probably be exactly the same after a few hours!
3. EAT WHAT YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH!
Everyone has their dietary requirements and restrictions!
Food is one of the most important parts of Christmas for a lot of households in the UK, but there’s no pressure to eat the traditional Christmas dinner. If you’d prefer something different, say so a few days in advance so your family are aware and explain to them why you’d like it!
As long as you’re happy eating what you’re comfortable with, they will be happy. Not every Christmas meal has to be turkey, don’t feel bad for not wanting to eat the same as your family, not everyone likes the same things!
4. DON’T FEEL PRESSURED TO GET UP EARLY!
On Christmas day the children in my family normally wake up at 6 am to run downstairs to open their gifts, but the rest of my family know that this disrupts my routine of getting up at 9.30 (I’ve done that every Christmas day for as long as I can remember and I’m 22 now!) so they leave me in bed because they know that’s my Christmas routine!
There’s no pressure to join in with the festivities too early if you’re not comfortable with it, stay in bed and join in when you feel ready, you can listen from your room and go downstairs and open gifts when it’s quiet and calm! (especially if there are little children in your family)
5. COMMUNICATE! COMMUNICATE! COMMUNICATE!
The last in our 5 Tips To Avoid Christmas Stress, but probably THE most important. Communication is key to showing people that something is wrong. Explain to a family member in advance what to do if you’re struggling and a meltdown or overload happens. They’ll know but they won’t know as well as you know yourself! Make up a signal to show a certain member of your family that you’re going for some time out without making a big deal out of it.
(My nana knows that if I wiggle my fingers in the air I’m going to go out of the main room for a while). It’s okay to struggle this time of year and it’s okay to need help, everyone around you will support you so don’t be afraid to ask!
Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. Time for family and a time for joy. There is so much hype around Christmas and we feel pressured into doing what everyone expects of us. But really we need to do whatever helps us to get through and make sure that Christmas is as enjoyable for us as it can be. Even if that means not celebrating Christmas at all. I hope you found something you can use in these 5 Tips To Avoid Christmas Stress – Autism Edition, that will make your Christmas less overwhelming.
Check out this blog on how to have the best Christmas ever.