Friday, December 31, 2021

Autism Answer: A YES Day Expansion Pack for the New Year


YES to coffee, books, and bare feet.

Today – Friday – is my “YES Day”. What is a yes day, you ask? YES! I love that you asked! 

In a nutshell: My YES day is the day I say YES to the things I want throughout the week.

I don’t remember how many years ago I started saying “YES” to myself instead of, “No, not healthy” or “No, not responsible” when I wanted something. These were things like foods and too much coffee or reading/dancing/walking/chit-chatting while sipping too much coffee. I don't remember when it started but I do remember loving the change I made for myself.

I would want to eat a pie (YES, I said a pie, not a piece of pie) and tell myself, “Yes! On Friday,” and then I would want to read, rather than work, and tell myself, “Yes! On Friday,” and then I would want to drink too much coffee while hanging out with my kids rather than do dishes and sweep floors and would excitedly say to me, “Yes! On Friday.” Suddenly I was telling myself YES to all the things I wanted while still getting most of my work done and not wildly overeating junk food. The cool thing about putting everything to one day is, well, it’s just one day. You simply aren’t going to eat all those pies. And even if I do actually read, walk, dance, and chit-chat all day rather than get stuff done, it’s not a big deal. In fact, it’s fantastic and fun!

Of course, in reality giving myself a YES day doesn’t play out in such an organized fashion. If my sons are able to chit-chat with me on a Wednesday I’m going to take advantage of it. And if people are gathered around pie and coffee on a Saturday while I’m around, I’m going to appreciate such luck and enjoy it. And if, on a Monday night, someone puts music on and starts singing along and dancing in the living room while I’m changing cat litter and knowing I need to still sweep and clean toilets, I might instead join in and dance along. The point of my YES day is to love my life and keep me healthy. Sometimes that means recognizing when important moments are happening now, not on Friday.

But in general, I tell myself YES and give the fun to Friday.

This has been fantastic for me! And I plan to keep it going as long as it continues to be fantastic. Although, now, I’m considering expanding it a bit for the new year and seeing how that goes.

I’m thinking I might give myself a YES week at the end of the month; for the less concrete, more ambiguous things. The things that I tuck away in myself to deal with alone, or not say out loud for fear of being misunderstood or for fear of being disliked, or wrong. The things that are whispers in my heart and or mind that can turn into snapping at the wrong moment or avoiding situations or feeling low self esteem. The stuff that makes you want to yell at a character in a movie or book, “Just talk to them about what your thinking! Just tell them what happened! Just say what you’re worrying about!”

To be completely candid, I don’t have a lot of that. In fact, I have more of a being completely candid habit. (TMI – too much information - should be my middle name. Actually, maybe my first name.) But I am human and so I do have those things.

Main Example: When I talk to my sons, every single one of them, there are different things I worry about and fear saying or telling them. I want to nudge them, but not push. I want to reveal things I notice about them, but not give them a feeling of being judged. I want to be supportive, but I also want to give them the space needed to support themselves. In these areas of want I have so many things going on in my heart.

The thing is, though, I don’t want to be so afraid of pushing them too hard or having them feel judged that I don’t do anything, or I don’t do enough. Or, actually here it is: that I don’t do the thing I feel I should do. I don’t say the thing I feel I should say.

So, the expansion pack on my YES day: say YES to these deeper feelings, the desire to express them. Say YES and tell myself that the last week of the month (or something similar) is when. That way I'll have several weeks to think about whether or not I’m being fair with the thing I want to say or simply reactionary. Whether or not I truly think something should be done or whether I think someone else thinks it should be done. And to get the courage to say and/or do it well.

I’m hoping, as it has been with my YES day, this will lead to happy habits. Where I hardly notice the “not yet” aspect of putting things till Friday and always notice the “now is the right time” opportunities when they show up on a different day. 

It's funny. I don't think of myself as needing a YES week for these deeper things and yet, as I tell it to you (confession: at first I was thinking it would be more of a good idea for other people, particularly types who tend to keep everything inside and then explode their feelings creating unnecessary fallout) I'm excited and surprised by the many things I already know I will consider taking care of during my YES week. I already kind of do this by taking advantage of my PMS. When my hormones cause that familiar moodiness, I listen to what comes to the surface, examine it's value, and take care of the stuff I recognize as being a lasting issue for me, not only when my mood is sensitive. However, that is a little less proactive than the YES week I'm imagining. When I use my hormones I simply notice when things annoy me (admittedly, there's rarely anything) but now I plan to look. Like the difference between being offered cookies by a friend or perusing aisles at the grocery store with the intention of purchasing food for the week. I'm thinking of grocery shopping my aisles with the intention of nourishment. 

I'm curious what will come of this. 

For now, though, I will enjoy my YES day! There is a pie in the fridge calling my name and I am going to snuggle my man with every intention of encouraging some heavy petting. :D

I hope you are also saying YES to making delightful plans for yourself as well!

Have a wonderful today and a fabulous new year! 

Hugs, smiles, and love!