Have a Happy Neurodiverse Christmas!
This time of year can be challenging for lots of different reasons. At a time when we are told that we are supposed to feel happy, excited and joyful, feeling the opposite can be very difficult. At Christmas time almost everyone feels stressed, overwhelmed or sad at points but for neurodiverse people this can become a period of high anxiety too. Here’s a few suggestions that might make the festivities a little easier – for everyone.
It maybe ‘cold outside’ but wrapping up warm (possibly wearing waterproofs!) and getting outside can really boost our wellbeing. Some further thoughts on this was provided earlier in the year by 3SC’s Chris Cody: Disconnecting to Connect – 3SC
Maintain Routines or plan in advance
For people who find comfort in regular routines, the unknown can be scary. Try keeping to your normal schedules as much as possible or visual timetables so people know what to expect. Invite all involved to contribute to the planning for best results!
Decide what’s important for you and those closest to you
Expectations can be very high at this time of the year. Concentrate on the things you love and bring you joy – and forget about the things that aren’t important.
Set up a quiet cozy spot in your home where anyone can go and chill out when things get too much. Use some nice comfy cushions/throws and for kids, a few favourite toys.
If you have family members with extra needs and requirements, make sure everyone knows what they are. Lots of noise, hugs and kisses aren’t for everyone. It is the season of goodwill after all!
Remember that your idea of fun may not be everyone’s, ensure that there are options and ‘fun’ is not enforced – give the gift of choice.
Avoid Sensory overload
Some people will find busy environments with lots of colourful decorations, activity, noise, smells over stimulating. See points 1, 4, 5 and 6 above.
Lots of people can be tiring and overwhelming too. Think about choosing smaller and more manageable gatherings.
Talking is good
If you feel anxious overwhelmed or stressed, talk to someone. A friend, family member or professional are good choices.
From all at 3SC have a happy, relaxing and enjoyable Christmas.
Kathryn Jellings, 3SC Director, 3SC