Less variation means more smiles.
Added on Saturday 19 March 16
There is a phrase, "Variety is the spice of life". The Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus defines it as "said to emphasize that doing many different things, or often changing what you do, makes life interesting".
There is some truth in the saying i am sure, but i don’t think its true for everyone and how true it is also requires context.
My tolerance for variation is quite low, so i choose to target my variation into places where i can enjoy it and to keep everything else as consistent as possible.
In short, I like things to stay the same, i require sameness in order to be happy.
Sameness applies in many ways, a few examples i would like to detail in this post are food, clothing and activities.
For 6 days of the week i eat the same food for each meal. For example, the current pattern is golden grahams for breakfast, Chorizo rolls for lunch and Ham and Cheese Pasta for dinner.
This is what i eat Sunday evening to Friday evening. This was a small change, but it greatly simplified my life and removed a huge cause of stress and anxiety from my day.
Having the same food reduces complexity for shopping, means i dont have to make as many decisions and also means i can predict my calorific intake into order to maintain my weight.
I am not a fussy eater, i will eat and enjoy other food, but my intensely strong preference is to eat the same food if possible. It just makes me feel more in control and calmer.
I tend to pick a few elements of clothing and stick with them as a set. I then find it hard to change from that set. For example, i wear a single pair of 3/4 jeans year round, i have a wardrobe of near identical PJs (they have different prints, but they are the same for fit and feel), i have a single hoodie which i wear outside and i wear a single set of shoes for all occasions.
Like with food, i can vary these things, but i do not wish too as i don’t derive any enjoyment from it.
This also makes managing my laundry and wardrobe easier.
I still have trouble choosing clothing, so i have other strategies in place to help with that. For example, wearing a T-shirts’ in whichever order they arrived in after cleaning or letting the babyistter pick PJs.
About 80% of my time each week consists of a mix of just 8 activities beyond sleep.
During the week, its pretty rare i break from this list of things. Normally i could do other things, but i dont wish too. Either because it would trigger to much anxiety, or it simply would not be enjoyable.
At the weekend, i can be a bit more adventurous. For example, i may walk around the local toy shop or eat cake in the café.
All this sameness helps because it reduces the anxiety i feel each day. When my day is predictable i am better able to cope without becoming overloaded or exhusted.
Everyone likes predictability to some degree. It helps peple to "settle" and feel comfortable. Like with many autism traits, i just sit at the more extreme end.
For me to settle i require a lot more predictability than most. Sameness is one of of techniques i use to delivery predictability i need.