Recovery your way


Christmas and New Year – recovery your way. Christmas and New Year is considered by many to be a wonderful time of year. Just think of the ads picturing happy family scenes. Christmas parties, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. With the lovely, noisy New Year’s Eve party. Christmas merchandise and ads seem to be appearing earlier and earlier next year, building up to what should be a wonderful crescendo of joy.  

Some are energised by Christmas.

This is not the case for all. It might be because it is a time of a change in routine, disruption, brings back sad memories, they have no close family nearby or other reasons. This might affect autistic people and other people. In short, a time of stress. A time to ignore, or mask/act to fit in with expectations. Who knows the famous song by Slade, Merry Christmas Everyone. There are the lines ‘Are you waiting for the family to arrive, Are you sure you’ve got the room to spare inside.’ This does not relate to physical space but mental space, energy.

When I am tired, especially when I have become exhausted, it is like going along. When you have your downtime, you fall into deep pool, swim around in it, resting, getting downtime away from the world, recovering. When recovery is achieved, I come out of it back into the world. I have found this even at lunch at work.

So based on my experience I have a few tips to recover from this busy period


  • Go incommunicado – don’t talk to anyone unless you have to, or are ready.
  • Be alone/ with others – as you want

Reasonable Adjustments

  • Eat/drink – what you like, do what you like. For a couple of days anyway. Your body may know what it is wanting.
  • Retreat – into yourself, to recharge internal energy levels
  • Relax – meditate, do hobbies, watch TV. For me that is sewing, puzzles, crafting and TV catch up.
  • Spoil yourself – put your needs first.
  • Exercise – go for walks
  • Wear what you like – not fit in with others desires

Executive Functioning

  • Christmas cards – take down whenever you want to, bag
  • Thank you’s – cards and phone calls. Do them as soon as possible, get them out of the way.
  • Returning home/ visitors left – wash clothes, pack away, tidy up as soon as you feel able. Relax.

Attitudes of others

  • Accept – others may not understand even when you explain
  • Don’t be ashamed – if others blame you for spoiling Christmas for xxxxx because you did/didn’t do xxxx as desired
  • Explain – why you do not wish to do something if invited to

Moving on

  • When you feel ready – socialise, return to the world as you feel comfortable with people you trust and know you.


Accepting that others do have different views towards the festive period than you, and you may not be able to please them. Find time to recover, even if it means spending time alone.

Don’t feel guilt – often placed on you by others, when you have failed to behave as expected, despite trying. Everyone is different. Some people are very concerned to give the correct impression to others, possibly acting themselves to give this at time. Acting is exhausting.  

Remember – you are not being selfish by wanting time to recovery. Everyone’s needs and recovery time and needs is different.  Put yourself first, even if in small ways.  Disappear into your special space, to recuperate and return.