Autism and Mental Health: Practical Advice for Managing Your Mental Health — Authentically Emily – The Global Tofay

Autism and Mental Health: Practical Advice for Managing Your Mental Health — Authentically Emily - The Global Tofay Global Today

2. Don’t underestimate the impact of your physical health
Around 1 in 6 adults have low levels of vitamin D, which can affect our mood and cause other symptoms. Around 1 in 5 people don’t get enough sleep, which also affects our mental health.
If you are feeling low or lacking energy, it is important to get this checked to rule out physical health causes.

3. Find an outlet

We all need a way to release our emotions. For some people, this may be talking to and sharing with others. But often this isn’t enough, and for some of us sharing with others can be hard.

We can find outlets through…
– Sports or exercise
– Journaling, either just in a notebook or invest in a structured journal (e.g. Lovendu)
– Music

4. Make a plan for bad days

I know that the last thing I want to do when I am not feeling good is make decisions, and decision paralysis can be what stops me from getting out of bed. To try to avoid this, I have a list on my phone with a few bullet points of what I should do. If I can see this step-by-step, I find it much easier to actually do it.

My list includes:
– Washing my face instead of showering
– Opening the window instead of going outside
– Changing into clean pyjamas instead of getting dressed
– Making my bed and then getting under my weighted blanket

Making my bed can be the hardest step, but I know that it makes me feel slightly better immediately! But the most important thing is to not put any pressure on yourself to do what you think you should be doing, but rather setting goals you believe could be manageable for you.

The Charlie Waller Trust has a wellbeing action plan on their website, which could be helpful. There is one for young people, one for adults, and one for children.

5. Connect with other autistic people

I really believe that this is one of the most important things. Knowing you are not alone (which you aren’t!) and knowing that there are others out there who feel similarly to you and who have experienced similar things to you can be life-changing.

There are peer support groups in different areas and there is of course the online community, but you could also try keeping an eye out for local events such as autistic author events, or through organisations such as Unmasked.

6. Think about your sensory environment

Your sensory wellbeing is just as important as other forms of wellbeing, because you, as an autistic person, experience the sensory world differently. Our sensory sensitivities can make day to day life difficult to tolerate, and increase our stress and anxiety. Like Beardon (2017) says, autism + environment = outcome. The positive thing is though, that just as we can be sensitive to challenging sensory stimulus, we can also find calming sensory environments healing. Think of northern lights projectors, weighted blankets, music, comfy clothes, lava lamps, fidget toys, LED lighting etc.

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