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Results from our burnout survey


The results from our first-ever survey are in!


A HUGE thank you to everyone who responded. The topic was autistic burnout, and we had eight people share their experiences. If you'd like to get notified about future surveys, add yourself to the mailing list at the bottom of this page.


I've written about my own experiences of burnout here, but the survey is there to help get a broader range of experiences. I'm hoping to do more of these over time and to include more peoples' viewpoints as we grow our audience.


 

What did we ask about?


The questions covered:

  • How often are you experiencing autistic burnout?

  • What things trigger burnout for you?

  • What are your main burnout "symptoms"? I.e. how do you know when you are burnt out?

  • What do you do to help yourself when you are burnt out?

Below, I've pulled out the most common themes across responses.


 

How often are you experiencing autistic burnout?


100% of respondents have experienced autistic burnout at some point. 50% (four people) have experienced this two-three times in the past two years. Here is a graph of the results for that question.


What things trigger burnout for you?


The most common theme to trigger autistic burnout was socialising or people. Almost all respondents mentioned the buildup of "everyday" factors rather than this being caused by a one-off event.


To me, this suggests managing energy levels day-to-day, particularly around how much energy we put into socialising and being around other humans, is really important.

  • 6 people specifically mentioned socialising/people (although for everyone, at least some triggers would still involve people!)

  • 7 people mentioned triggers that are more "everyday" factors; 3 people mentioned specific events as a potential trigger

  • 4 people mentioned work pressure

  • 4 people mentioned unexpected changes


 

How do you know when you are experiencing autistic burnout? What are the "symptoms"?


The most common themes here were being tearful, exhausted, and a feeling of brain fog.

  • 6 people mentioned feeling tearful

  • 5 people mentioned brain fog or cognitive impairment, not thinking clearly/quickly

  • 5 people mentioned exhaustion, fatigue, needing more sleep

  • 4 people mentioned angry outbursts or being more irritable

  • 2 people mentioned masking less, being less expressive


 

What do you do to help yourself when you are burnt out?


There was a lot of variation here, as of course we are all different! But the common theme is clear: solo activities!

  • 4 people mentioned being outside, gardening, nature

  • 4 people mentioned retreating from interaction or social demands, getting some alone time, and only doing what is absolutely necessary

The whole list of helpful things is below, just in case it gives you some ideas. I've changed some of people's wording very slightly just so I can group things up and avoid repetition :)

  • Cutting back on any demands (including things like socialising or cooking)

  • Dancing

  • Eating food you like

  • Gardening

  • Going outside

  • Listening to music

  • Playing games

  • Puzzles

  • Reading

  • Retreating into a fantasy world

  • Seeking comfort from people closest to you

  • Showering

  • Singing

  • Sleeping

  • Spending time on special interests

  • Taking time off work

  • Thinking of family

  • Time with pets

  • Watching TV

  • Wearing headphones

  • Yoga


 

Finally, another big thank you to everyone who participated, I really appreciate you sharing. If you'd like to get notified about future surveys, sign up for the newsletter using the form below.


Lauren x

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