2021, I have been busy; I have done online teaching; this has had its challenges, but I’ve enjoyed it. I have learnt how to do many things, learnt new ways to uptake the learning and find my best “workarounds” to make new ways and to make it easier for me.

My note-taking has increased 100% this year; I have noticed that I take many notes, and sometimes I don’t even reread them; now I understand why….It is like a way of processing information; I do this because my short-term memory lets me down if  I’m not focused and concentrating, tired, or just busy in my head.  Taking notes, being accountable, writing down lists and processes keeps me on track. It helps keep my head out of the clouds, stopping me from going into sensory overload.

If you give me a lot of information, it can get me excited, and this is where I start not to concentrate; my sensory overload has increased tenfold. I can’t see, I can’t hear. I can’t remember. I start over talking to people; I get so excited; I don’t mean to. I am trying to listen; I can’t stop myself. This has been an enormous learning curve for me in 2021, learning about who I am and what I am trying to achieve—trying to stop the negative “workarounds” I have used in the past to pull myself out of that loop and recognise this early.

When I tell anyone about what I am exploring, I get excited about discovering who I am. I can feel myself radiating and getting excited and forgetting to listen to them, hear their story and/or news. I care about other people around me, and I’d like to hear their stories. They don’t just need to listen to me; 2021 is and still is showing me how to do this.

I am learning to take a deep breath in and release it out nice and slowly. Breathe, breathe, and slow down. That should be my motto for going forward, as it would be nice to be calm and slow. I’m trying to change myself for 53 years that has often been reactive. No, I’m not reactive, well, not all the time. I’m very proactive, but I react to things quickly if I am not calm or overly excited. This is where I need to keep checking in with myself, keep my mind on the task in front of me, and stop myself from going into sensory overload.

Going forward, I will try to make new strategies, create new workarounds, slow down, and not reply to questions sent via email or text right away. If I’m not sure how to respond, I need to remember I don’t need to answer immediately; I can take a deep breath and go for a walk or turn my phone off, walk away from my computer and think about my reaction. My 1st reaction might not be the best—learning about myself and learning how to keep my responses in check.

When I say I’m going into sensory overload, what happens with me is a lot of white light comes into my eyes. The room seems to disappear, and I get lots of light into my head. My eyes hurt, my head hurts. I want to put on some dark glasses to cut the glare. Hazy days are the worst days. I can go into sensory overload on those days very quickly.

On these days, I need to take my time, be calm, take lots of notes, be still; it will be okay. Going forward, I have a lot to work on for 2022.