Setting up my daily routine

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Every time my life changes I have to rethink my routines a little bit. With my recent illness and recovery I have needed to rethink my routines quite a lot. I need a lot more structure in order to feel safe and the simplest way to provide it is via routines.

This is a post to cover my daily routine structure, with some thoughts on why I am setting it up and how I hope it will work. I suspect it will change over time as we iterate.

7:30pm till 6am - Sleeping

I start with a new routine by setting the end time. For this routine the fixed end time is my bedtime. By having a fixed end time I can work out the rest of the routine and pace better through the day.

I’ve been using a really early bedtime of around 7:30pm. It works well because it’s right at the end of the day but early enough I can easily get support. It’s the last transition of the day and someone can be around to help and prompt me.

Going to bed early gives me a few hours to decompress at night and plenty of time to wake up in the morning. My phone is away from me during this period and i use my iPod.

Protecting my sleep is critical. If I don’t sleep well then I have no energy to build on.

6am till 9am - Playtime

I wasn’t sure what to call this period. Essentially I normally wake up sometimes between 6-9am but I am not ready to start the day.

I don’t leave bed yet. I explicitly stay in bed until my morning routine starts. During this period I have my phone but I also have a few books and plenty of time to doze and nap. I called it playtime as it is time to play. I have sensory toys in my bed and it’s fun to play with them when I am waking up.

The aim is to be ready to leave bed by around 9am. Once I leave bed I try to avoid returning to bed until i am having a nap or it’s bedtime.

9am till 11am - Morning routine

This is my first paid support of the day. Between 1 and 2 hours to start the day well. Eat breakfast, wash, do teeth, get dressed, plan the day and the like.

It’s a 2 hour window so it’s flexible and nice and slow. I may also check my email, catch up on Twitter and stuff like that during my morning routine.

10am till 1pm - Work / Active Time

This is time where I aim to be doing something productive. Either sat at my desk or strapped into the buggy. It overlaps with the morning routine as this is a slightly blurry transitions.

The basic aim is to do something fun and hopefully productive.

12noon till 2pm - Lunch / Nap

This is pretty self explanatory. In order to keep my weight in check while I can’t do much cardio exercise I am eating little and often. Most meals around 350-400 calories.

I have a big time range for lunch as it depends a lot on when support is available. I may also have a short nap during this time if I am tired.

2pm till 4:30pm - Work / Active Time

Much as before. Getting stuff done. Either at the desk or buggy. If I get to go outside this is also a good time to do it.

Right now doing something is more important than the specifics. Once I am further into my recovery I’ll have more goals for this time.

4:30pm till 6pm - Afternoon Playtime

This is the part of the day which is set aside for me to go do whatever I want. It could be playing on the Xbox or doing Lego etc. It’s also the buffer time between work and the end of my day.

6pm till 7:30pm - evening routine

My evening routine is supported in a similar way to my morning routine. It’s been a daily part of my life for about 6 years.

During the evening routine I eat dinner, have a wash, sort out my clothing / laundry, pack my bag and generally set everything up ready for the next day.

The routine ends around 7:30pm when I head to bed, but support is booked till 8pm so we can be flexible.

7:30pm - Bedtime

The last transition of the day is heading to bed at 7:30pm. I don’t need to sleep then, but it’s when I start to decompress. I often fall asleep around 9:30-11pm.

Final thoughts

My hope is that this routine gives me a daily structure to follow. It’s being lightly enforced and shaped by the lovely support folks in my life.

It provides me with a ‘default thing to do’ and will hopefully help me feel a bit safer. Over time it won’t be needed as much, but till then it’s hopefully going to provide a nice solid foundation to build my life around.

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Spaced Out & Smiling is about exploring the fun side of Autism, and trying to understand what it means to be Autistically Happy.

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