At this point, most of us have already gotten over the post-holiday hangover and have settled back into ordinary life, from work all the way to the daily things that we normally do. And one of those things that is part of ordinary life is running errands.
For most, running errands is just another that just needs to get done, and isn’t a problem at all. However, for high functioning autistics and aspies, sometimes, it’s not so easy, and situations may arise which end up becoming big problems for us. So, in line with this, here are ten tips and tricks that I have picked up over the years in order to make errands day something to look forward to.
Before I begin my list, I would like to just like to note that errands, for me, include buying groceries, supplies and gadgets that are essential and needed, going to the bank, paying bills and going to the dry cleaners. Shopping for make-up and beauty products, clothes, accessories and shoes, are all a different thing altogether.
1.Wear the Right Clothes & Footwear- I usually wear comfortable clothes and shoes when I run errands. I know that it will be an exhausting day for me, so I’d rather be wearing items that won’t aggravate or irritate me. I also make sure that I’m wearing comfortable footwear suited for walking as the last thing you want is not being able to walk around comfortably due to your footwear. I have made the mistake of wearing sandals not meant for walking while running errands many times before, and it usually ended up with my toes having blisters, not being able to walk at all, and becoming very irritable because of it.
2.Bring Your Own Survival Kit- Make sure to bring your own little “survival kit” with you. These are the things in your own hand bag that help you cope with things. For me, I am never without my phone and earphones, so that I can just plug in my earphones and cue up a playlist that will help calm me down, depending on the mood. That comes in handy when I know I’m starting to be irritable, when I get bored while waiting due to a long line, and when I just want to drown out the world around me so that I can concentrate on the things I have to do for the day.
3. Bring A Recycling Bag- Recycling bags, today, come in all different shapes and sizes. Always have one with you during errands days because placing all your shopping and groceries in one bag is easier than having to carry three or more bags in your arms during the entire duration of your day.
4. Bring your Person With Disability Card and the Booklets That Come With It- More often than not, if you are a PWD, you are also entitled to discounts in pharmacies and the grocery store. Make sure to bring your card and the booklets it comes with, if that’s how your system works, so that you can avail of these discounts in your groceries and in the medicine you have to buy. Also, you can use that card to make sure that you avail of the PWD lanes in banks and in grocery stores, which will save you a lot of time.
5. Bring Your List and a Pen-Making a mental list is easy, but jotting it down and physically crossing out items in your list will help make sure that you don’t miss out on any item that you really need to get.
6.Stop, Breathe & Calm Down Before Reacting- During the course of our errands day, you will no doubt encounter difficulties in expressing yourself to the customer service agent, and sometimes, there will be little things that might happen that might irritate you. Before you blow your stack, remember to pause for five seconds and breathe, to help you calm down. Don’t react unless you do this, because you might end up doing something that you might end up regretting.
7. Bring All Required Documents- This usually applies for paying bills, banks, or making inquiries at your local telco branch. Having the needed paperwork for particular places that you know you will need to have it, will definitely help speed processes up. However, if they use a cloud based system, and don’t require you to have everything, if you are paying your bills, at least have your statement ready with you.
8. Take Breaks- Running errands is exhausting. For high functioning autistics and aspies, the exhaustion level is double, as we already get exhausted from just merely spending time out in the mall. In order not to over exhaust yourself, make sure that you pace your errands well within the given time frame period, and make sure that you take small breaks in between to recharge. If you don’t then you will end up being cranky, irritable, and even more exhausted than you were to begin with.
9. Come Up with a Strategy- This may sound silly, but it actually works. You should figure out what particular errands you should do based on how many things you need to do at particular areas and based on the location of the areas. It’s good to know the layout of the area you are running your errands in so that you will be able to accomplish everything more efficiently.
10. If You Can, Make Errands a Bonding Experience w/ Friends & Family- Yes, errands can be fun, especially if you run them with friends and family. At least you’ll be spending time with each other, bonding, and sometimes, having family with you is helpful, especially as they can sometimes remind you of things when you need reminding. For me, they usually remind me of the tone of my voice, and more often than not, my mom always gives me a little pep talk/reminder before entering our local telco branch, as I usually end up losing my temper in those situations.
And those are my top ten tips and tricks for running errands!
What did you think of this list? Are there other tips and tricks you would like to add or recommend? Let me know in the comments below!