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Use this extra time to do things that you have been wanting to do. Perhaps, catch up on a book, draw, paint, doodle, etc. or simply catch up on sleep or spend time with family.
Write down a list of activities that help calm you. Cleaning my closet, painting, and gardening are calming activities for me. I also like to sit on my bean bag and do nothing to calm down or I like to listen to music. Practice breathing exercises or use any calming strategies you are familiar with. Pick one calming activity from your list and use it when you feel worried, angry, tired, or frustrated.
Make a new schedule. This schedule might look very different from the one you’re used to, but that’s okay. Remember that “everything is temporary; change happens all the time.” Follow this new schedule/routine as much as you can. In your schedule, list down times during which you can work, play video games, read, do assignments, etc. Set yourself timers for these activities so you don’t overdo or over think any one of these activities. For example, playing video game too much and forgetting to complete the homework may affect your grades. Timers will help you stick to your routine and complete the things you need to complete. If you have a helper at home such as your parent or sibling, ask them to help you with timing these activities.
Take breaks from work. Breaks have to be true breaks. Watching TV or playing video games do not count as breaks. Breaks must include gadget-free time. For example, reading a book, doing chores at home, spending time with a pet, or even sleeping.
Get at least 20 – 30 minutes of exercise. That might just mean taking a walk in your neighborhood. You can follow an exercise video. Check out the MSU Denver Campus Recreation page!
Find a way to communicate your worries or your frustrations on a piece of paper or share it someone you trust. Call or Face Time with a friend.
Try to replace any scary or worrisome thoughts with happy thoughts. Happy thoughts are thoughts about things that make you happy. When I worry, I like to think about all the happy times in my life. I like to think about flowers and little babies. I like to create scripts for stories in my head. You may have things that make you happy. Think of those.
At the end of each week, write down all the accomplishments of the week – the things you completed despite this change in schedule. Write about all the positive things that happened that week. You can write these in a notebook or on your device.
These strategies were created by the MSU Denver Faculty Learning Community on Supporting Learning in Students with Autism