Travelling and being a guest in someone’s home can be challenging due to change: adjusting to new routines, and being out of your routine. I spend a week with Jen, and we talk about checking in with each other, and my need for structure, and Jen’s lack of structure. We talk about structure vs. flexibility, and as an autistic, how do I honor how I’m wired and still go with the flow? We focus heavily on self-care and compassion. I also offer tips for travelling and packing that help me.
Jen Perry, MSEd, MA, LPC
Travel tips and trips when visiting
- Create a master travel list on your computer to help you stay organized
- Adapt your travel list for each trip to ensure you bring everything you need
- Keep a post-it note nearby (if your travel list isn’t handy) to jot down things you think of later
- Pack a carry-on suitcase to make traveling easier
- Bring a little bag with all your toiletries to save time and space
- Allow yourself to have objections to new places and experiences, and be willing to consider the possibilities of how a new experience might be amazing
- Recognize that change and novelty can be difficult for people who like sameness. This doesn’t mean that those people won’t enjoy new experiences though
- Try to focus on the positive aspects of new experiences, like the possibility of having an amazing time
- Be aware that plane rides can be difficult for some autistics
- Find ways to make plane rides more comfortable, like bringing a comfort item, downloaded movies, books, and noise-cancelling headphones
- Consider traveling with a partner or friend who understands your needs
- Research your destination ahead of time to find out what accommodations are available
- Be open to trying new things, like taking a day trip to explore your destination – Remember to check your schedule and make sure you don’t have any appointments or commitments you’ve forgotten about
- Be patient with yourself and others, and recognize that everyone’s feelings and needs matter
Overall themes discussed in this episode
- People who are autistic may become familiar with their behaviors and not have any idea that others may have judgements about them
- Checking in with yourself and being able to recognize your own feelings is important
- Nonviolent communication is a useful tool for problem-solving and understanding others’ needs
- Many behaviors that are considered unusual or abnormal are actually quite normal. This is due to norms set by allistics (non-autstics).
- It’s important to talk about these behaviors so that people don’t feel isolated or ashamed
- Some autistics may have a hard time figuring out certain things
- Coaching and support can be helpful for autistics
- It’s important to recognize that no behavior is inherently good or bad
- Everyone’s feelings and needs matter
- Autistics can craft a lifestyle that meets their needs
- Having a partner who understands your needs can be helpful
Balancing the Need for Structure and Flexibility: Tips and Strategies –
- Start by acknowledging that both structure and flexibility are important for your well-being and productivity. While structure provides a sense of stability and predictability, flexibility allows you to adapt to changing circumstances and explore new opportunities. –
- Identify your core values and priorities, and use them as a guide for creating a flexible yet structured routine. For example, if you value creativity and learning, you may want to set aside some time each day for reading, writing, or experimenting with new ideas. – Experiment with different time-management techniques and tools, such as time blocking, Pomodoro technique, or task batching. These methods can help you stay focused and organized while also allowing for some flexibility and spontaneity. –
- Practice mindfulness and self-awareness to tune into your body and mind’s needs. If you feel overwhelmed or stressed, take a break, go for a walk, or do some deep breathing exercises. If you feel energized and inspired, use that momentum to tackle more challenging tasks or try something new. –
- Be open to feedback and adjust your routine as needed. If you find that a particular strategy or tool is not working for you, don’t be afraid to try something else. Remember that flexibility is not about being wishy-washy or indecisive, but about being adaptable and resilient. –
- Finally, be kind and compassionate to yourself. Balancing structure and flexibility is not always easy, and it’s okay to make mistakes or have setbacks. Celebrate your successes, learn from your failures, and keep moving forward with a growth mindset.
- By following these tips and strategies, you can create a routine that honors your need for structure and flexibility while also optimizing your productivity and well-being. Remember, it’s not about finding the perfect balance, but about finding what works best for you in the moment.
Tips for Showing Up Authentically Without Overperforming: –
- Start by defining what authenticity means to you. What are your core values, beliefs, and passions? What makes you unique and special? Use these insights to guide your actions and decisions. –
- Set realistic expectations for yourself and others. Don’t try to be perfect or please everyone. Instead, focus on doing your best and being true to yourself. –
- Practice self-compassion and self-care. Take breaks when you need them, prioritize your well-being, and avoid comparing yourself to others. –
- Be honest and transparent in your communication. Speak your truth with kindness and respect, and listen actively to others’ perspectives. – Set boundaries and say no when necessary.
- Don’t overcommit or take on more than you can handle. Learn to prioritize your time and energy based on your needs and goals. –
- Embrace your imperfections and mistakes. Remember that failure is a natural part of growth and learning. Use setbacks as opportunities to reflect, learn, and improve. –
- Finally, surround yourself with supportive and accepting people who appreciate you for who you are. Seek out communities and relationships that align with your values and interests.
- By following these tips, you can show up authentically without feeling the pressure to overperform or conform to others’ expectations. Remember that authenticity is not about being perfect or flawless, but about being true to yourself and living a meaningful and fulfilling life.
Patricia was a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, but is now exclusively providing coaching. She knows what it’s like to feel like an outcast, misfit, and truthteller. Learning about the trait of being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), then learning she is AuDHD helped Patricia rewrite her history with a deeper understanding, appreciation, and a sense of self-compassion. She created the podcast Unapologetically Sensitive to help other neurodivergent folks know that they aren’t alone, and that having a brain that is wired differently comes with amazing gifts, and some challenges. Patricia works online globally working individually with people, and she teaches Online Courses for HSPs that focus on understanding what it means to be an HSP, self-care, self-compassion, boundaries, perfectionism, mindfulness, communication, and creating a lifestyle that honors you
Jen Perry, MSEd, MA, LPC has been a psychotherapist for 20 years. She specializes in helping Highly Sensitive People thrive in love, work, and parenting Highly Sensitive Children. Jen is passionate about using mindfulness and compassion-based approaches to ameliorate human suffering.
Jen’s website: https://heartfulnessconsulting.com/
HSP Online Course–https://unapologeticallysensitive.com/hsp-online-groups/
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