Though these are challenging times for our community and so many others, we continue to share authentic stories of autistic Canadians and their families. We hope these will offer a look into the many diverse perspectives in our community and provide inspiring and uplifting stories when we need it most.
Meet Jackie. Jackie is an autistic bio-hacker and curator of research on chronic inflammatory problems. She writes, lectures, trains and consults on topics related to autism in general and relevant health research in particular. You can find her work at http://ThriveWithAutism.ca
My life routines haven’t changed much since the stay-home advisory, although I’m sad to miss cancelled spring autism events and meetings. I do autism and trauma consulting work mostly online, taking midday breaks to garner some of nature’s benefits, “social distance” walk with my brother, and occasionally walk the neighbour’s dog. The infrared light in sunlight (the warmth that sinks through your clothes) can help your mitochondria triple the amount of energy they produce!
Exercise and lymphatic movement while walking keep my body a lot more comfortable. If I stop to do a little gardening, I’m adding the benefit of earthing to my day, which is one of the fastest ways to calm inflammation. I’m not noticing the store closures much since I seldom shop anywhere but health food and hardware stores.
What has changed is the amount of friendliness on my daily walks. Instead of avoiding gazes, most people are smiling and nodding as they pass at caribou-distance — as the Yukon government recommends — and some stop for a brief conversation. Neighbours are playing guitar on their front porches, wearing clown noses, and generally greeting strangers the way Canadians who live in smaller communities usually do.
Apart from the fear-mongering mainstream media, the world feels a lot more compassionate, right now, which I am deeply grateful for on a personal level (I love all the smiles), but also grateful for on a social level (in my opinion, everyone needs more smiles).
Why does this matter? Research shows that loving, positive social interactions are up to four times as preventive of getting ill, and up to four times as restorative for health if you do get sick than all other health interventions combined. This is evident in Dr. Dean Ornish’s popular book, “Love and Survival”. When other clinics tried to duplicate his heart-disease reversal results, they left out the social groups he created to help increase the quality and quantity of positive relationships in his patients’ lives (and not surprisingly, those trials didn’t reverse heart disease).
I also add do-it-yourself, do-no-harm changes to my daily routines when colds and flus are going around. I’m using the following to keep myself free of infections: antiviral herbal teas, foods, essential oils and supplements. To learn more, visit my blog post where I provide more detailed information.
If you’re only going to make one change, I encourage you to do things that make you laugh and smile. Make phone or video calls to people you love. Cuddle with your pets. Even if every other option I’ve shared isn’t within your reach, or any change feels overwhelming right now, letting yourself feel more love can make all the difference. Take really good care.