June 15, 2019

What does self-care look like for an autistic person? It might include bubble baths and pedicures, but it’s also anything that rejuvenates us.

Stimming is one example that’s well-known and well-loved – at least by autistics! We automatically do it in reaction to stress or excitement, but scheduling time just to stim is a kind of physical therapy.

Daydreaming, likewise, can feel like therapy for the brain. When I let my thoughts wander, free from requirements, it brings me a sense of calmness and clarity. Others enjoy meditating, for similar reasons. Both give an overstimulated mind a chance to rest.

Writing is another form of mental self-care. Autistics take longer to process some kinds of information, which can lead to a buildup of cluttered thoughts. Writing helps to put mine in order.

These activities, and others like them, can’t totally reverse the effect of a stressful environment – but they can help. Labeling them as “self-care” is accurate, and it reminds me that they matter enough to spend time on.

P.S. I write from my personal experience as an autistic. What I share is not a substitute for advice from an autistic medical professional. Also, some of my opinions have changed since I first wrote them.