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I’m feeling very overwhelmed right now, the Stress Bucket model springing to mind… Looking after my children, having to work, cleaning my house, exercising, cooking, eating, buying, driving, grabbing this, grabbing that, remembering this, completing that, and so on! Throw in Tasmanian Devil ADHD and an ASD panic attack, us parents of neurodivergent children worry and ride the Change Curve.
The GP suggested reading The 4 Pillar Plan: How to Relax, Eat, Move and Sleep Your Way to a Longer, Healthier Life by Dr. Ranjan Chatterjee (https://amzn.to/3UoNuNA - Amazon), and now I’m consciously trying to take time to empty my bucket and make small achievable adjustments to my four pillars: relaxation, food, movement, and sleep.
Since moving into our new office at The Brightwell at the beginning of the year, I’ve been managing the food and movement pillars better (if you ignore me eating all the Cherry Bakewells after the daily ASD panic attacks from my child).
Considering I can barely think straight at the moment, the relaxation pillar is my focus, which I hope will support the sleep pillar. I don’t have lots of free time which limits what I can do, but I do enjoy reading. I can get through a couple pages while waiting to collect the children from school, while they’re at their various clubs, or while winding down before bed.
The current book I’m reading is Can You See Me? by Libby Scott and Rebecca Westcott (https://amzn.to/3w11CCs - Amazon). It’s a lovely story through the diary entries of an eleven-year-old girl as she navigates through secondary school and life.
"Tally is autistic, but she hides it as much as she can. She knows how uncomfortable people feel around her - they don't understand autism. They don't understand her. By masking her autism, Tally is hiding her real self. But when your real self is fierce and wonderful, it can't stay hidden forever.” - The Publisher.
If Tally’s top tips were applied to real life, I’m positive that the world would be a much better place. The third one is what sticks with me most right now: ‘When everything is going wrong, go small’. On page 253, the children in Tally’s class debate what this might mean. What do you think it means? To me, it means not stressing and trying to make progress in little, easy steps.
Can You See Me? Is an enlightening read from an autistic perspective, which makes me consider the impact my own actions and words can have.
I’m taking the third tip into February with me whilst adjusting my pillars. Wish me luck!
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