April 6, 2020

Many of the actions that make autistic people seem “weird” are actually very effective tools for self-soothing. In a global pandemic, we could all use a little soothing – so here are some ideas that you may find surprisingly calming.

ROCKING – Play a song that you enjoy, something that usually makes you sway from side to side. This time, though, try swaying forward and backward.

ORDER – Find something small that you have in large quantities, like pebbles or pennies. Carefully and meditatively, line them up in straight rows or pretty swirls.

COMPRESSION – If you can, ask someone you love to hug you tightly for a whole minute. If you can’t, make a pile of every blanket you own and then crawl underneath.

STIMMING – Close your eyes, reach into your closet, and touch various pieces of clothing until you find one that feels extra nice, or at least extra interesting. Stroke it gently, really noticing the texture.

FLAPPING – Next time you wash your hands, shake them off instead of using a towel. Try side to side, up and down, round in circles, or all over the place.

If you decide to try any of these for the first time, I’d love to hear how it feels! Or if you’re autistic yourself, please comment with other ideas that bring you peace and comfort.

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.