Okay, so I’ve got stress. What am I going to do about it?

Holiday Stress Gauge Preparation Score
My updated stress levels over holiday preparation – from The Holiday Stress Gauge

I tested my general stress levels yesterday with The Holiday Survival Autistic Stress Gauge, an interactive tool to help me determine the impact that specific activities and situations have on me so I can make healthy decisions about my holiday activities.

Shopping is a big one for me – major stress. I figured out how to navigate it somewhat – shopping online from big-box stores and then picking up the items from the store, while driving home from work. I’ve done a lot of shopping on  Amazon, this year. Probably more than in other years. Proportionally, I’ve definitely done more, because frankly, I don’t have a heavy gift-giving holiday season, this year. I’m keeping it simple. Everybody gets calendars and books. ‘Nuff said.

Get-togethers I’ve been managing by not getting too worked up over them. I can make myself extremely anxious, by anticipating how horrible it will be. So, I’ve been cutting myself a break and trying to focus on just enjoying the company of the folks I’m interacting with. When that doesn’t work (and sometimes it doesn’t), I just remind myself that it will all be over soon… and tough it out.

Spending money… it’s always a challenge. I’m helping myself by not going out with a lot of cash in my wallet — not going out a lot, at all, actually. Shopping online really helps, because I can see in front of me, how much I’m spending. And I can choose to remove items from my cart, if need be.

Decorating… that’s  really my partner’s domain, but I do the “heavy lifting” with it. It’s not terribly challenging for me — other than finding the time to do it.

But it’s all getting done. And in another 10 days, Christmas will be here, and then I’ll have some time off work. It’s not forever. I have to keep reminding myself. And in the meantime, I can actually choose to enjoy myself. It’s not always easy, but it’s entirely possible. So, I go with that.

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