Recharge and Relax Strategies for Autistic Individuals

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Ever get home from work or school and feel utterly burned out? Perhaps a quick trip to the grocery store fosters feelings of anxiety and unrest. As a neurodiverse person in a neurotypical world, there are many challenges and triggers in everyday life that drain your social battery. If you’ve been looking for a way to recharge, relax and improve your happiness after stressful experiences, Smile4Autism has some tips for success. Let’s dive right in.


Recognize Signs of Overload


According to VeryWellMind, sensory overload is common in autistic people - but recognizing the signs of said overload can be challenging. You may find yourself in the middle of feelings of stress and anxiety before you realize the trigger, which can delay finding redressal mechanisms. It will be critical to self-regulate and look for signs of experiences that are getting too stressful in order to feel your best. This can include sensory avoidance, sensory seeking behavior, repetitive behavior, disengaging, and stimming behavior.


Your Home Is Your Safe Space


Once you’ve identified triggers of overload, you’ll need the right strategies to get your mind to a better place. One of the most effective ways you can do this is by optimizing your home environment to promote feelings of well-being and calmness. Autism Speaks reports that adapting your environment to your needs will be critical in easing tension and frustration. Here are some ways you can make your home your haven:


  • Remove or reduce distracting and disturbing stimuli like flickering fluorescent lights or background noise. Instead, opt for soft, diffused light sources and invest in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones.
  • Ensure predictability—each room should have a clearly designated purpose, and the transition between rooms should be smooth. This will help establish a routine and minimize anxiety.
  • Keep the clutter at bay because too many objects and belongings can reduce feelings of control and order. Enlisting your kids’ help to keep their bedrooms tidy can make a big difference.


Don’t forget to optimize your work environment too! Talk to your boss about reducing sensory stimuli and taking some time off each week to recharge from the inevitable triggers in the workplace.


Exercise Really Helps


Exercise truly is medicine - and there is a wide range of benefits fitness brings to autistic individuals. Find a physical activity that you enjoy - whether it’s running/jogging, exergaming, horseback riding, or home workouts. Studies show that those with autism have poorer muscular strength and endurance, so you’ll see your fitness improve. You’ll also see improvements in motor skills, social functioning, and overall feelings of relaxation.


If you’re struggling to integrate physical activities into your lifestyle, try doing it with friends and instructors who understand your needs. Invite a friend for a walk in a good walking area you’ve found with a walk score map. In addition, creating a visual schedule to reinforce the routine will help significantly too.


Regular Healthcare


Regular medical care is crucial for individuals with autism, as you may have unique healthcare needs that require regular attention. It's important to prioritize routine check-ups, preventative care, and ongoing treatment to ensure the best possible outcomes. If you're shopping for insurance coverage, consider exploring options on the ACA exchange to ensure you have access to quality healthcare providers and services that can support your specific needs. By taking a proactive approach to medical care, you can thrive and lead a happy, healthy life.


Find Opportunities for Self-Care


Individuals on the spectrum often find it challenging to look after themselves. However, it will be critical to manage and monitor activities like taking medications, eating well, staying hygienic, and finding ways to boost your overall quality of life. How can you do this? To improve your self-care, try to use your strengths to address your problems. For example, use your love for routine to make a list of daily habits and check them off when done each day. If you’re a visual learner, perhaps make drawings of what you need to do each day to look after yourself. Find a way that works for you and stick with it - self-care will be critical in relaxing after difficult days.


For autistic individuals, sensory processing, masking, and social interaction can be a significant drain on energy reserves. That’s why it is critical that you schedule some time to recharge and gather yourself. You’ll see the positive effects of relaxing transcend to work and all other aspects of life!



For books, cues, and educational materials to support kids with autism and the families and teachers that care for them, visit Smile4Autism today!


Author and writer: Elijah Dawson