For autistic people, fatigue may be so common that we no longer recognize its presence as out-of-the-norm.
Fatigue is like an unwelcome guest that moves into our home for an extended stay. We may learn to live around it, but its presence weighs on us at every turn. After exhausting our social and sensory coping skills, autistic people may wind up with daily fatigue.
Fatigue leaves autistic people wide open for burnout, meltdowns, and shutdowns. We spend so much energy coping with NT expectations that we may lose the ability to focus on and enjoy work or play. Here are a few tips for fatigue, all written with the mindset that our goal is to find more peace today as we strive for true autism acceptance. Also, be sure to consult a health professional if fatigue is interrupting daily living.
1) Check the environment. Lights, sounds, decor, scents. These a few sensory markers that contribute to fatigue. If exhausted, I go through an environment checklist that is specific to my fatigue needs: light quality, music intensity, desk organization, and essential oils. Regularly addressing these needs can make a huge difference.
2) Take daily supplements. While I am a firm opponent of “autism diets,” I do believe that every human has a unique body with specific nutritional needs. Many autistic people, myself included, have greatly benefited from magnesium in treating chronic fatigue.
The magnesium-rich Restore powder has made a huge difference in my energy levels. Gone are my daily naps and midday slumps. I’m also sleeping better thanks to its vitamin C and calcium, which combats fatigue. My only caveat: its very sweet (Stevia), orange taste. Still, I love drinking a warm cup of vitamins every night.
3) Stim and hyper-focus. If my brain is wandering and my body restless, fatigue is usually part of the equation. If I stim or hyper-focus on a special interest, my body can process the sensory fatigue. And if I do both at the same time, it’s often better than a nap!