I would not be surprised to learn that every neurodivergent person at some point in their lives has struggled to get into or out of the shower. It is a task that necessitates executive functioning and sensory processing, combining two areas of life that Autistics do not have a natural penchant for.
As a fellow Autist, I too have wrestled with the battle of shower time. After years of experience, I do have a few tricks I use in order to make showering easier. Here are three ideas to get you started when thinking about how you can make showering easier for yourself.
It’s getting hot in here!
I was having a harder time getting in and out of the shower in the winter. Even though I live in Southern California, it was really difficult for me to reacclimate to a cooler temperature. This led me to putting off my showers until I absolutely had to jump in.
To give me more flexibility time wise, I went ahead and bought a small space heater I could use in the bathroom. Mine is a floor heater, but they have ones you can place on your counter also.
While keeping safety in mind (of course), this has been a huge game changer for me. As soon as I get out of the shower, I press a button and a wave of heat emerges. This has made the transition out of the shower much easier for me to handle, causing me to be less likely to put off this task.
The waiting game!
I recently learned something from a meme (I know…I’m just as surprised as you are!). There are people who get into the shower first and then turn on the water. Do you recall what temperature the water is when it first rains down? That’s right! COLD! Very cold if you’re temperature sensitive.
If I were to do this, it would (almost) feel equivalent to stepping into an ice bath. I have made a promise to myself to avoid this torture at all costs!
Unless there is a safety reason for you to get into the shower first, it may be better for you to wait outside of the shower until the temperature is closer to your liking. It doesn’t need to be perfect- you can make minor adjustments to the temperature as needed once you step in. (In summer, I personally like my water to be the same temperature as the inside of a Tauntaun…Lukewarm!)
To smell or not to smell
I was going to an autism conference one time and learned I would be sharing a room and bathroom with other Autistic individuals. When I saw the suggested packing list, it listed scentless shampoo, body wash, and hair gel. I never used those before, where was I going to find those? Fortunately, my local drug store had me covered. You can also find scentless products online if in-person shopping is not your thing.
Outside of shared spaces, I tend to be a sensory seeker when it comes to perfume-like body wash. Whether it’s cherry blossom, island breeze, gingerbread snap… I’ll sniff them all! I like to put the soap in my hand and take a whiff before I use the body wash.
If you are a sensory seeker with smells, I would recommend buying yourself a body wash with a scent you will enjoy. If you are not sensory seeking in this way, stick to the scentless soaps that work just as well.
Want to brainstorm more?
Let’s face it…there’s so much more to do in a day than showering. What executive functioning or sensory accommodations do you have for those tasks?
If you want tailored advice to make your days easier for you, our coaches can help. They would be happy to brainstorm ideas that could make your daily life easier than it has ever been. Contact us today to learn how our autism life coaches can support you.