During the semester life can get pretty busy and stressful. A lot of lectures with different audiences, a lot of student meetings for presentations, meetings with profs, campus sports, and of course crowded public transportation. And then there are friends and family who also want to talk to me and spend time with me. In the evenings I often feel exhausted, and more than often I really feel close to OVERLOAD. When I was younger, I wasn’t able to feel overloads coming beforehand. I couldn’t protect myself from the outside world as well as today. What really helped me was keeping track of my days: What stressed me today? What went wrong day? What should I have avoided? What helped me dealing with stress?
Every night I write the most important information for the day in a little journal. I also have a mood chart, where I keep track of how my days went and if I felt okay. To be honest, this wasn’t my idea. My therapist suggested to give it a try, and I was more than skeptical that this would be helpful at all. But it is! It helped me recognize my personal challenges, triggers and little helpers. And it helps me scheduling me-time, so I don’t forget to take care of myself during busy college days. And that, in the end, helps me avoiding overloads, which again reduces autistic meltdowns or shutdowns. This made life so much easier, not only for me, but also for the people I love.
I also write down some To Dos that may seem to come natural for most people but that I need to remind myself of such as telling my boyfriend and parents that I love them or, for example, to talk to people and practice small talk. Although I study law and I am very good at it, I need to write down small things like these – or I just won’t think of them.
The journal really helps me, and I am glad my therapist suggested trying it.