Autism Humor – Same Old

I have a profound compassion and respect for individuals with autism, their families, and their caregivers. The world in which they live is one that the majority will not only never understand, but one few make an effort to comprehend on a deeper level.

Though many of my own eccentricities and experiences pale in comparison to these individuals, I believe I am drawn to them because I do – on a minor scale – commiserate. There are certain tendencies or challenges that I deal with such as:

  1. Misophonia
  2. Intense preference for / sensitivity to certain sounds (therefore, at times, need for full silence…or music…or earplugs)
  3. Difficulty focusing or concentrating unless under certain conditions
  4. Sensitivity to light
  5. When I was younger, anxiety surrounding social interaction (I couldn’t even ask for food at a snack bar!)
  6. Need for a heavy blanket or pressure when I sleep, or the sense of being in an alcove in order to be comfortable 
  7. When I was younger, I also had trouble making friends – I’m still very much a lone wolf and need massive amounts of space and time to myself
  8. A tendency to take words very literally, and not forget them
  9. Too quiet and too chatty!

And…though I’m not ultra rigid to the point of breakdown, I have a strong preference for routine. When it comes to food, for example, I stick with the same (fortunately healthy) things. ALL the time. In part, its preference. In part, my body prefers it that way, not unlike some individuals with autism.

I used to feel badly about my “quirks” – embarrassed even! But I’ve realized that not only am I not alone in these traits, (and also not less of a person because of them!) but that they afford me the ability to help others who suffer greatly as a result of extreme variations of them. Certain sounds push me to the edge but then I think about the fact that understanding what that feels like gives me an edge in understanding the more extreme experience someone else is having. . .and that means more compassion. Compassion is something this community deserves in spades.

My “quirks” have also taught me the humor of it all. In life we all face challenges, both big and small. If we can find the humor in our situation, we can help others find the humor as well, not to mention keep ourselves on a healthy wavelength most of the time.

The community I have the great fortune to work with teaches me about not taking everything so seriously all the time…about finding the beauty in each of us in spite of some differences (and we ALL have “stuff!”)…and that a positive approach will help us see the gifts we’ve been given…even those born of adversity.

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Acceptance – An Autism Home Leads By Example

I loved this post from @autism_lovers – it demonstrates how much acceptance is part of daily life in a home with autism.

Living with autism means that differences are not just tolerated, but that they are appreciated.

It means being a top-notch detective and trouble-shooter.

Living with autism means learning to be flexible, patient, and – above all – incredibly creative. 

I feel blessed to have the opportunity to work with children with autism in the realm of physical activities – I make a point to take note of the parents when they drop their children off, and during any and all interactions they may have. Each child is different and I am ever astounded by how well parents navigate often choppy seas. I know that behind the scenes it isn’t always the smooth sailing we see…and I think that makes me appreciate, all the more, how much those parents do each day to ensure the best communication and opportunities possible. 

As someone on the outside, I want to commend those parents who live this daily. In a way that you may never realize, you touch others’ lives too. You teach the rest of us how important it is to accept one another as we are, to be patient, to love to the full, and to laugh (especially to laugh!) even in the face of adversity.

#doL ❤ VE”

 

Giving Yourself A Break

I had a really rough week last week with a loss in my family.  It’s one of those things that I know takes a long time to “get over” – I’ve been there before.  

But. . .I’ve also had a lot of conditioning that makes me feel that I’m a burden if I’m feeling down, or that I have tp put on a happy face…even when it’s the last thing I want to do.

Part of me agrees with the idea that I need to keep going – one foot in front of the other, and sticking to my routine is more helpful than it isn’t – I get out of my brain, for one (which frankly isn’t firing on all synapses at the moment.)

And part of me feels like…let me get through this, and then I can go home and cry when I need to…because it is just as important for my wellbeing to “allow” my emotions” as it is to be stoic.

I haven’t had much energy, but I still go through the motions.  Form is integral, though, and no matter if we are doing lighter weight, or just running our “usual” on autopilot, we have to pay attention to the form.  I’ve made it a habit to really focus on the muscle that should be working when I exercise, so fortunately I’m in tune with what’s moving (and what shouldn’t be.)  I listen to my body and always try to respect when it needs a break…and to give it a little bit of a push if it needs it.

Today was one of my leg days – I have two.  I used to do EVERYTHING on one day, but it’s overboard for me at this stage in the game. Instead, I like having two manageable but challenging days that aren’t to the point that I make myself sick thinking about them (which used to be the case.)  What’s the point if you are stressing about what’s supposed to be fun and / or good for you?!

My usual Tuesday exercises include the following (I try to keep some of my rests “active” to knock out my ab work without tacking on a ton of time – I don’t want to live at the gym the way I used to back in the day!)

  • SQUATS – 5 sets, narrow and wide stance (with a reconstructed knee and no ACL in one, I opt for smith machine for these.  Yes, Physical Therapist approved! 🙂 )
  • PLANKS – 4 minutes total, main core and obliques, interspersed with squats
  • LUNGES – 3 sets each side, smith machine (free weight done on my other leg day)
  • CRUNCHES – 2 minutes total, varied, flutter kick and bicycle variations, interspersed with lunges 
  • STEP-UPS – 3 sets each side, smith machine and bench
  • BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUATS WITH DUMBBELLS – 3 sets each side
  • DUMBBELL DEADLIFTS – 3 sets of 12 to 15 (using 2 45 lbs dumbbells. If I’m at another facility, I’ll use the 110 lb bar.  Too much weight here really hinders kicking in Martial Arts!)
  • AB VACCUUM – 3 minutes total, interspersed with the three exercises above, as they fit
  • DUMBBELL HIP THRUSTS – 3 sets of 16, using the 45 lb weights.. (If at another gym, Ill use an 80 lb bar.)
  • JUMP SQUATS – 2 sets for 30 seconds each
  • BENCH JUMPS – 3 sets of 8 to 10 (IF my legs aren’t total jello)
  • KICK UPS – 3 sets of 15 (with a dumbbell if I want to add one more exercise in)

As I look at it here…it’s A LOT.  I’m even happier that I split it up!

So today wasn’t my finest – I wasn’t feeling great, and I’m incredibly over tired.  BUT…

BUT…

I went to the gym, I put on some music, and I went through the motions (carefully.)  I didn’t get upset if I couldn’t do everything as well as usual, or if I had to cut my reps.  Movement is helpful even when it can’t be as much as I normally do.  It’s SOMEthing, and that’s what matters.

We have the opportunity to melt down at any given time.  We also have the opportunity to pick ourselves up and move forward as best we can.  I choose both, and that’s okay.  One allows me the freedom to be comfortable with myself and what I’m feeling – to acknowledge that those emotions are acceptable.  The other reminds me that I’m goddamn strong, and I will get through ANYthing.  

 

Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Exfoliating Peel Spray

I do my best to age as gracefully as possible – we are, of course, at the mercy of our genes to some extent, but there’s a lot to be said for being proactive.

I was fortunate that my mother always has a skincare “routine” – she never went to bed with makeup on, she always washed her face, she generally had more than one or two creams, serums, or oils that she’d apply. . .  I not only watched her, and the various steps she took to care for her skin, but I often asked questions and snooped around her products.  

I was interested in skincare at a really young age, so that helped too.  It wasn’t about making myself “beautiful” per se, or thinking I could one day cheat the clock.  It was more about doing for my skin what I did for my body.  I exercised, I ate healthy foods, I tried to get a good amount of sleep… So why would I try to take care of all my organs and muscles and skip the outer layers?

My mother always said that there’s no sense trying to “cover up” – “starting with the right canvas,” she (rightly) advised, was vital.  Exfoliation, for one, is a great way to prep and smooth that canvas – it has to be done thoughtfully, of course, and without too much aggression (no one needs red, burned, or damaged skin!)  When done properly, you can revive and maintain a lit-from-within glow, and anything you care to put on top of it will both absorb better, and appear more seamless.

I recently read about Juice Beauty’s Stem Cellular Exfoliating Peel Spray – traditionally peels are applied with pads, from droppers, by dermatologists etc… .  But this is a little bit innovative in the sense that you can mist it on at home and have immediate results.

Per Juicebeauty.com:

Benefits

  • Visibly resurfaces with gentle plant-derived skin exfoliant.
  • Replenishes, restores and renews with a proprietary blend of fruit stem cells which have been infused into an organic resveratrol-rich grapeseed base.
  • Improves skin luminosity with Vitamin C.
  • Visibly brightens with ascorbic acid and licorice root extract.
  • Soothes with cucumber extract & organic aloe.
allure.com photo

allure.com photo

If you are using retinoid acid of any kind, or other AHAs or BHAs, you might want to avoid combining (as the review above, it can be a little (or a lot!) irritating.)  The spray does feature soothing additives in the way of aloe and cucumber, but it’s still possible to overdo.

I love the ease of this application of this skin-smoothing peel, and have heard a lot of great things about Juice Beauty over the years.  Eager to try it? Sounds like a wonderful addition to a skincare routine. and one I might check out myself!

 

Clarisonic Smart Profile Uplift

So I’m sure there are a plethora of skeptics out there.  I was one myself. . .before my Clarisonic cleansing brush.  I still just use my hands to wash my face sometimes but I ALWAYS see a difference when I use my – rather expensive – brush device.  So yes…it’s worth it. 

A new advancement has come to light, however, in the Clarisonic Smart Profile Uplift ($349). The 2-in-1 cleansing and micro-firming device not only cleanses the skin, but purportedly targets 15 signs of aging (per Clarisonic.com):

Smart Profile Uplift targets 15 signs of aging on face, neck, and décolleté.

  • Provides next-level micro-firming massage.
  • Delivers skin-changing sonic cleansing.
  • Minimizes the look of pores.
  • Boosts the absorption of your daily skincare products.
  • See visible, cumulative results.

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I know sounds too good to be true, but home devices (the right ones) are an amazing way to keep up with results from dermatologic procedures, and to make the products you have at home work their best. Think of it as an investment.

It’s a new product so there aren’t many reviews (which I always invest in reading for pricier items), but I’d keep your eyes open because as with anything that promises these kinds of results…it’s SURE to catch on.  Especially from this brand, with known “cult” brushes (and cult for great reason – they WORK!)

Sephora Micellar Cleansing Water & Milk

Cleansing skin is one of the most important steps in a skincare routine…and the one that a lot of people flub.  Regimes overseas (I live in the USA) has always captured my attention because they are often so impeccably executed.  There are far more than one or two steps – which I’ve found is one too many for most – and it shows.  A cleansing wipe works in a pinch but – hate to break it to you – is not necessarily getting much off your skin at night.

Cleansing waters have become more mainstream in our markets in the last two years or so (I say, hallelujah!) Most have been pretty basic in formulation – for dry skin, oily skin, maybe a waterproof remover.  But until now we’ve not seen as many varieties (such as mattifying ones, for example.)

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Well, Sephora decided to up the game and has released a line of four Micellar Cleansing Water & Milks each catering to a different skin type.

Per Sephora: 

Rose Micellar Cleansing Milk: Smooth and silky, this cleanser is also ultra-moisturizing and Brightening.

Coconut Water Micellar Cleansing Milk: This smooth cleanser soothes and relaxes the complexion.

Green Tea Micellar Cleansing Water: This light and refreshing cleanser mattifies and fights blemishes without the use of harsh ingredients.

In a use test on 30 volunteers after the 1st use:
– 90% said that the micellar cleansing water efficiently cleanses the face and eyes 
– 97% said that skin is mattified

Charcoal Micellar Cleansing Water: Purifies and detoxifies leaving skin feeling fresh.

In a use test on 32 volunteers after the 1st use:
– 91% said that the micellar cleansing water efficiently cleanses the face and eyes 
– 94% of women said that the micellar cleansing water detoxifies skin

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Setting Up The Day

There’s something to be said for having breakfast in the morning.  It doesn’t have to be sitting on your night table and devoured the moment your lids go up…but having a meal in the morning as you get going can set you up for a much better day.

My system is a little quirky – if I wake up early, before my usual (and more natural) time, I have to eat pronto.  Not doing so lands me in a puffy and uncomfortable way – no one can explain it, it just is what it is.  Same thing happens if I wait too long between meals or snacks! Frustrating but…I know it happens, so I’m able to be proactive and head it off!  If I wake up at my usual time, a cup of coffee and a little time before eating works best.  Everyone is different and there is nothing wrong with the way your morning routine is if it works for you!

I don’t vary a ton with my food in general – I could list my staples on one hand.  So breakfast is either eggs and vegetables, or eggs and fruit.  I don’t manage to get bored, remarkably (spices and sometimes even salsa or hot sauce can make a nice change!)

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What I find, though, is that having a decent amount of protein, paired with high fiber and high water content foods sets me up to have more energy for the not just the morning, but the day.  It kicks starts the metabolic burning process, and it often keeps me from devouring everything in sight later (that happens – for sure – when I don’t.)  

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Whatever mix of macronutrients works for you so that you feel your best, have the most energy, and feel satisfied, is what you should do!  That might be toast with peanut butter and some fruit, or a big greek yogurt smoothie… Whatever it is, though, squeeze it in if you can.  Breakfast is hugely important and will give you the support you need internally to start the day right.