I mentioned recently that I have begun bullet journaling, and it has helped me put one foot in front of the other to get past some pretty dark, helpless feelings this fall. I also belong to a fantastic facebook group with over 14,000 members who also bullet journal, and it has connected me to people across the globe. One of those fabulous ladies is an autism mom in the UK who shared that her son was helping to set the table, and began by making a list of “supplies” he would need – five plates, five forks, etc. – on his iPad. Then, he gathered his materials and put them in the appropriate spots on the table (while shouting loudly what each was). She remarked to him about his list. “Why did you make a list?” He said, “You remember everything, Mom, and you make lists in your journal all day long.”
This story got me to thinking. The reason many of us bullet journal is because it can get overwhelming relying on our brains to remember everything. I, personally, am the type to need to get things on paper, because if I don’t, I will remind myself to do that one thing at least six times in one day – how exhausting, and how almost perseverative (is that a word? it is now…)… Overwhelmed… Perseverating… Indeed, one of the most relied upon strategies for coping with autism is the social story (a list of sorts to describe what will happen), and another is “first, then” (First we will do some homework, then we will have some m&m’s). Maybe, just maybe some kiddos, young adults, and adults on the spectrum would benefit from bullet journaling.
I may try this with The Boy. But my primary purpose with this post is to share an idea, a connection, a possibility. This may be a strategy that could help you or someone you know. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Hey, friends. I’m having a hard time keeping my head above water lately. There’s a lot going on. Our busy season at work is here, and the crap is hitting the fan. Where I work, that means the blame is flying, and my job satisfaction plummets. The Boy is just about done with school, which means I need to be gearing up to support him with activities and enrichment for the next five to six weeks until his camp starts. We listed our house for sale today, which meant a weekend of staining the deck and the porch, and painting window trim (and getting a really stellar sunburn while doing it), and now means keeping the house tidy for showings…
When I get overwhelmed, I start to feel like someone or something is sitting on my chest. I have to remind myself to breathe. I have to engage in a little self talk, and I have to, HAVE TO carve some time out to plan. Planning helps me to see the possibilities, see the light at the end of the tunnel, and keep things in perspective.
In the meantime, I wanted to say thanks for reading, thanks for sticking around after a week with no posts, and if you get a chance, please send positive vibes my way. Congrats to the teachers for making it through another year, and remember to be nice to people in the service sector. We’re not all idiots. Now, I’m going to carve out some planning time so I can send some really good posts your way this month – I can’t believe it’s June already!
Did you ever have a day that felt like a complete waste? I’m beginning to get overwhelmed, and as a result, I’m shutting down: not working out, not getting much done. Too much thinking, and not enough doing. I’m feeling fatigued and headache-y for no reason, and it’s taking major effort to get anything on my to-do list to-done.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. When I am thinking too much, I need to do a brain dump on a pad of paper, and write down every little thing that keeps popping up, even to the point of keeping it on my nightstand and jotting things down as they come to me in the middle of the night. This is part of the Getting Things Done philosophy that I use, albeit on an irregular basis. Once everything gets “dumped”, it needs to be organized into things that I can do something about, and things I can’t. If I can’t do anything about it, at least it’s on paper and not circling my brain anymore. If I can do something about it, it joins my to-do list. For smaller tasks like housework, I can use the Pomodoro technique to get myself in gear, and the calendar works for larger to-do items – deadlines have always worked for me.
A day off (for organizational purposes, of course) and a massage (purely for the headache-y, fatigue-y feeling) may also be in order.
We all know that kids with autism have a hard time with transitions, but you know what? I do too. It has taken me two weeks to get back into the swing after Thanksgiving. I wasn’t working out, we were eating out a lot, and the house… Well, it’s always my last priority, so you can imagine what it looked like. It was probably worse than you are imagining.
I was forced to get up at a decent hour this morning because we had to go pick up the cake for The Boy’s birthday party, and I usually wake up around 9 on Saturdays anyway (thank you strange neighbor-lady who has very loud TV on starting at 5am daily…), although I usually pop in the earplugs and go back to sleep. Today I figured I would do some yoga and get a load into the laundry. Doing those two things set the tone for the day.
I typed an agenda with all of the things I wanted to accomplish today, and scheduled in ample breaks (rewards), and you know what? I got most of it done, including putting up our tree (finally!). It feels so late, but of course, The Boy’s birthday is Monday, so we’re actually on time.
In any case, I’m finally feeling back on track, and not-so-overwhelmed. Amazing what a difference a day can make.