Preventing Meltdowns – Coping Mechanisms

After experiencing a recent freak out, I’ve decided to write all about my coping mechanisms for everyday life. Some of these could be considered stims, but I feel that it’s good to prepare for the outside world in various situations. I am aware that everyone’s coping mechanisms can be different (and they can be anything!). I feel that posting my point of view might be useful for others. (Shout out to The Aspie World for this video which is another inspiration for this post)

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Headphones

Noise Cancelling is usually recommended for those in the spectrum, and I agree with it’s usefulness. I need my music when I travel. More than I need a smartphone. (I also can’t read books on buses as it makes me feel sick) I’ve always grown up listening to music in the car and letting my imagination go wild. It also depends on the music genres that I listen to. I mostly listen to ambient music if I want to feel more calm and subdued. For more upbeat genres, I let my imagination play in my brain and it’s a good pick me up. My current headphones (Behringer HPM1000) are pretty bass-y, feels like cheap materials, and not noise cancelling. They are great for budget headphones and are pretty loud. As they don’t cancel sound, they are more like noise blocking. I block the noises from cityscapes if I just want to commute. It works well on busy buses. Loud chatter from other people, for me, is distracting and sometimes irritating. Plus headphones keep your ears warm in the winter! If you prefer earbuds, I’d give them a go instead.

I primarily use earbuds for when I sleep. For around 10 years, I struggle to sleep in silence (especially awkward silence). I like my silence when I wake up in the middle of the night when my earbuds have fallen out of my ears. Everything is more tranquil then. I mostly listen to Ambient music. Occasionally New Age and water sounds, but Ambient drone isn’t distracting, cheesy or make you want to use the toilet. I recommend Ambientsleepingpill.com if you are new to ambient music and don’t want the cheesy “inner peace” music.

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Tea/café’s

Green Tea is a must when you are stressed out. One example I remember was when I travelled to a destination for a photo shoot, only to find out via text that the model couldn’t show up. I panicked as my schedule was disrupted. However, I decided to visit a café and decided to drink a green tea. It calms me down. Any café, to me is a great place to calm down. It’s like a ritual. If they sell proper tea, it’s a bonus! Wherever it’s a green tea or an afternoon Earl Grey, I feel renewed and regained extra energy from the caffeine. If you can’t drink caffeine, an infusion is a good alternative!

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Toilets

This may sound strange. But toilets are like my hiding place. If I need to gather my thoughts or to calm down to prevent a freak out. I go there. Wherever it’s my own, someone else’s or a public toilet (clean ones of course!). A cubicle is it’s own isolated place, especially when it’s quiet. Otherwise I occasionally have my headphones on so I don’t get to hear other people. Plus public toilets are handy in winter if it’s cold!

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Meditation/Yoga

There are various methods of meditation. It’s best to do some research to find the right one for you. From repetitive mantras to body scans. Meditation has something for everyone, and you don’t need cheesy New Age music in order to feel “grounded”. If you have a smartphone, Insight Timer is a great one to use! There’s so many different types of meditations that you can try, plus there’s a great timer with various “bell” sounds (Which I mostly use for infusing my tea or heating up food!).

I personally use breathing meditation. One that focuses on the breathing as it requires you to focus on something. Other times, I use mindful meditation so I can feel and observe the surroundings around me. I like my ambience so that’s pretty beneficial. Another I do occasionally is Chakra meditation. The one where you focus on specific areas on your body and work your way up. Each area represents a different colour (It’s pretty much a rainbow). I don’t have a set routine for meditation, as some weeks, being in a grounded state afterwards can make me fragile/vulnerable.

Yoga is like meditation, but you’re also moving. Each movement is part of the cycle of breathing. I understand Yoga has it’s spiritual roots and learning about that is what makes Yoga interesting. However, I’ll be explaining more on my benefits rather than the ideal ways of Yoga.

Yoga can be modified for those who have various mobility difficulties, and there are various types. The standard Yoga which is usually Hatha or Vinyasa, is a great method for the start of the day for me. It’s like a stretch warm up for both the body and mind. It makes you feel lighter and more chilled out. There are videos out there that like to mix both Yoga and Cardio together to give you more of a sweat. DDP YOGA is one of those! I follow Yoga videos on Youtube and if I had to choose my favourite instructors, It would be Sarah Beth and Kassandra. Five Parks Yoga is a honorable mention as they are great if you want more of a challenge!

For bedtime stretching. I recommend Yin Yoga. Yin Yoga gives you deep stretches by following static poses (For example, a wide-legged child’s pose for 5 minutes). I recommend doing basic ones first as more advanced ones take a long time for each pose, and some poses can be intense if done for a long time. Sadly, Some poses I can’t do without my leg/hips cramping up.

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Sleep!

If all else fails, or if you’re completely broken down. Sleep is the way forward. If it’s minor or I have less time, I would prefer a nap. An hour nap is usually best. But if I need to recover properly, A long sleep is the best option. Especially if a meltdown has triggered headaches.

I’ll admit I don’t always do these as a routine. We’re all human. But I know that they are beneficial in order for me to function!

What’s your coping mechanisms to prevent meltdowns?

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