Pressure and stress are usually caused when we have so many things happening in our lives we cannot cope with them all. In a way we lose control over our ability to get all of our essential tasks done, to their required deadline. Being autistic/Aspie will often increase the likelihood of feeling under pressure or stressed. Due to the difficulties we face in everyday life, not being very good at dealing with change and struggling with our emotions.
Other things can cause pressure and stress too, such as:
- Moving home.
- Getting married.
- Having children.
- Starting a new job.
- Getting over the death of a close family member or friend.
- Separating from a partner.
- Being ill.
- Financial difficulties. Such as not being able to pay bills or losing our jobs.
Without proper coping techniques we will either:
- Become depressed and withdrawn.
- Constantly replay the worries on our minds. So cannot concentrate on other tasks.
- Have headaches.
- Trouble sleeping.
- Feeling anxious or scared.
- Heightening our autistic characteristics – such as stimming, repetitive behaviours, indecisiveness and being inflexible to change.
- Drinking more alcohol, smoking more or even taking drugs.
Methods of Coping with Stress and Pressure
It is very difficult to prevent stress, but there are methods that can help us to deal with it better. These include:
- Understanding the importance of breaks and not trying to do everything at once. Which just puts more pressure on ourselves and makes the situation worse. In the long run breaks can actually make us more productive.
- Taking deep and slow breaths for a few minutes. Which helps our body to naturally relax and destress.
- Exercise which releases chemicals in our brains that increases happiness and reduces stress. Plus it’s a method of meditation.
- Planning such as writing to-do lists and prioritising jobs. So the most important ones are dealt with first.
- Ask for help. Most people who struggle tend to keep problems to themselves. In order not to worry or burden their close family members and friends. This is especially true of people like us with autism/Aspergers. But it’s always surprising just how much other people can help. In ways we can never imagine, just by asking. They nearly always have a different take on problems and more often than not, are very happy to help us in our time of need.
- Writing in a diary/journal to understand all of the things that are causing our stress or putting us under pressure. By singling out each stressor, we may be able to think of a solution of dealing with it.
- Using relaxation techniques such as having a bath, walking the dog, yoga, watching a film, playing computer games or listening to music.
Sometimes life gets too tough and stress leads to depression. With a feeling there’s no way out. As stuck as we seem, there is usually a solution to the problem. What we are facing will not affect us for the rest of our lives, although at the time it feels like it will. On these occasions it really is worth seeing the doctor such as a GP or Family Practitioner. They may be able to help in prescribing drugs such as sleeping pills or antidepressants. Or recommend having time off from work or studying. In addition providing a medical note to make this possible.