Ron Sandison: recent publications

7 Ways to Prevent Autistic Burnout

“Autistic burnouts for me feel like the puzzle pieces in Tetris falling so fast you don’t have enough time to line them up before they reach the top and the videogame is over, burnouts leave me feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.” –Ron Sandison

I’ve experienced many autistic burnouts with relationships, academics, employment, and stressors of life. I’ve learned to recognize the triggers of my burnouts. Some common triggers for my burnouts include over-commitment, anxiety, change in routine, lack of sleep, and sensory overload. When I have an autistic burnout, my brain goes blank, making it difficult for me to communicate ideas or make decisions, and I experience both physical and emotional exhaustion. Autistic burnouts cause us to be less productive and lack motivation for achieving our goals and taking care of ourselves.

Amelia Blackwater, an autistic Super Contributor here on The Mighty, describes some causes of burnout, explaining, “Autistic burnout is usually attributed to prolonged masking or mimicking neurotypical behavior. However, burnout can also be caused by not getting enough time to oneself, stress, sleep deprivation, illness, and sensory or emotional overstimulation.”

At the beginning of August, I experienced an autistic burnout when the hospital I’ve been employed for 14 years switched from 8-hour to 12-hour shifts. This change in routine caused me to feel overwhelmed and emotionally drained. I began to dread this change in routine and its impact on my life. I had a few catastrophe thoughts like: “What if my body cannot take 12-hour shifts and I get a leg injury from all those hours on my feet?” and “What if emotionally I am not able to adjust to the new routine?”

I quickly discovered that 12-hour shifts

liking life feelings

Ron Sandison Amelia Blackwater

Related articles