Insights to Help You Transition into Fall Routines
(Post Vacation and Summer Breaks)
There’s no real way to avoid it… getting back into a work or school routine is an inevitable part of taking time off for vacations or our summer breaks. It can be also tough to adjust into a more structured and demanding way of life after getting used to following our own schedules or taking a break from them when on vacation. Particularly, if just the thought of transitioning leaves you anxious, uncertain and nervous at what’s to come and how you may be able to cope with the transition. If this in anyway describes your back to school or work experience I want you to know you are not alone. As an individual on the Autism Spectrum these sorts of changes and transitions have never been easy for me from the start, and often made returning to school/work after summer breaks or vacations incredibly stressful.
A big part of the back to school dread, specifically was always the adjustment not only at being back at school, but everything it brought. Things like that it took me away from the predictability of home life where I felt most comfortable, the semi-structured routine of following classes and keeping up with them, seating arrangements, new teachers and homework to decipher that added to the anxiety of being back in class. The kind that would throw me into an anxious state about going back and cause me to stew about the change leading up to the start date, only adding to the anxiety I felt from the start. On some occasions it created a giant knot in my stomach, tears, racing thoughts, panic, fears and a fierce protest around going back to a place and routine I didn’t like in the first place, until it became all consuming. Yes, I admit it wasn’t the most healthy way to deal with the change in routine, but at the time this is how I was best able to cope with the transition and felt like a valid response to my fears.
Now years later I’ve come to understand that while some of the anxiety I felt centred around returning to school, but the biggest part came from how I felt about changes to my routine, and my struggle to deal with them. Something to this day I am working on, but has gradually gotten easier as my self-awareness has continued to grow and I’ve found strategies to help me better cope with life’s transitions. Which becoming self-aware I belief is the key to taking on any sort of change or shift in how we deal with situations, whether that’s at school, work or home, the more aware we are to why we’re feeling a certain way the easier it will be to use the tools we learn. The next great lesson has been learning to take things one day or shift at a time, in order to do this was must learn to stay present and not let our thoughts rush ahead. It’s not always easy, but if you can notice when there’s a lot going on, then there is the opportunity to catch yourself from going down the road of “what ifs” and redirect them into the “what is nows” or present. Lastly, there are times no amount of awareness or redirection can steer me from stewing on a list of future concerns, I’ll reach out to someone to help me sort out what’s really going on and work through whatever may be of concern with their support.
Of course, everything is in hindsight, meaning as much as it would have been nice to know what I do during those tear-filled days, I realize I was only doing the best I could at the time, with what seemed beyond my control. I wasn’t quite as self-aware as I am now and didn’t know how to face or process the pit in my stomach telling me not to go. In this way, I hold no judgment towards my younger self, after all she was just doing the best she could with what felt beyond her control, instead I extend compassion and understanding towards her and pride in how far we’ve come in being able to take on changes with greater ease.
So be compassionate, do your best and as always Stay You-nique,