Routines and Autism
Sticking to routines can be important for autistic people. I mean, I’ve always been a stickler for routines and still am to this day. Even in an unfamiliar environment, it has been more necessary to set my own routines and know what I need to do throughout my day. It has helped me throughout my days to know what I need to be doing at any given point. It doesn’t help when there is a surprise or change to my routine, but some surprises are necessary to make things go smoothly in life. Change is a scary but necessary thing to deal with in life. This is just one of the ways I cope.
Routines are necessary for me to keep my relationships and job. One task I prefer doing in the evenings is to make my lunch for the next day and set out my clothes for the next workday. It helps me in the mornings as my time management is a work in progress for me. What this means is that I tend to lose track of time and run over my time with the apps on my phone. For this reason, I have a few alarms that will remind me of the time I need to get myself ready, or there might be mornings where I must have my outfit on the night before in case the weather is bad.
I’ve had times where someone made plans with me and found other, better plans. Instead of telling me, they allowed me to wait around looking like a dunce. The short point of that is that I didn’t hang out with that person outside of school again other than school projects and that was years ago. I would also use moving into my apartment as a different example of routines being set off. The night before my dad and I were moving my furniture into the complex, I had a panic attack that spiraled out of control the next day. I had lived in the transitional house for a long time and moving sounded scarier than anything else. The furniture moving in was what made the fear a reality and set me off for a day. It wasn’t something that was out of the ordinary for anyone but a disruption to the routine of how I was living is what made it difficult for me to handle. Now, it feels more like home and a place that I would like to stay in for a while until I find another location to set roots. Having the security of others around me helped me figure out that my fear wasn’t something out of the norm for many people.
Routines aren’t just about time; they can also be about what they like to eat every day to when I go to bed. It isn’t just a good manager for autism but also something that helps with anxiety and other mental health disorders as well. Consistency is something that has helped me figure out how to live my life even when that consistency is change.