Coping with sensory chaos at Christmas

December 17, 2018

Coping with sensory chaos at Christmas

Lydia Wilkins (right in picture)At this busy (and often noisy!) time of year, guest blogger Lydia Wilkins (right in picture) gives us an insight into how her love of stationery helps her to cope with Asperger’s at this potentially overwhelming period in the calendar.                                                           

Back in early 2015, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. This wasn’t a surprise to be honest; as a child I struggled with filtering noise, hated being in a classroom, could be often be found fixating on one particular topic and didn’t have a lot of friends. The list was endless.

What was obvious then, as it is now, is my love of stationery. Indeed, I used to collect notebooks to a point where it became a running joke that I should have a “notebook of notebooks” so that I had something to tell me where all my other notebooks were! Stationery brought a sense of order to my world and this is something that I find very calming.

This need for order and calm is especially evident at Christmas time when all around is chaos - carols blaring in shops, lights flashing and every sort of gingerbread to consume! My friends and family often ask me what it is that I write and plan in my notebooks to I thought I would share a little insight by explaining how I use my Say Nice Things stationery to better organise my life, as well as manage my condition.

Essentials set

Surely the clue is in the name, right? This is the notebook set that it’s essential to have! With the various sizes of notebook, there is something for everyone; from the person who takes their notebook everywhere in their handbag to the person who brandishes their notebook almost like a ring binder.

The notebook itself is divided into two sections; one is lined and the other has boxes. Spiral bound, it’s easy to navigate, and can be used a simple jotter. Personally, I use mine to plan anything ‘logistical’ - the list of cards I need to send people, what gifts to buy, the seasonal content I’m planning on my blog [link here], what Christmas events to attend and what what markets are happening. The boxes are also helpful as a daily to-do list.


Often when I’ve talked to (or even just observed) other Austistic people this year, the conversation has revealed how they may have been in denial about their diagnosis (the line of thinking was generally something approaching “society hates the label I have been given, so why would I want that?”).

It occurs to me that keeping a journal is actually a really positive way of dealing with this change. By writing down how we’re feeling it can make the processing of information easier to cope with. As SNT’s Jill Pinner says herself: a journal is the best self-help book you can read.


One of the things I sometimes find difficult to deal with is noise. The only way I can describe it is as having a lack of filter. For example, in a room you might hear the television and perhaps the doorbell; but I can hear the clock ticking, the creak of the windows, the dog shuffling around and other people as they move about on the sofa.

This, as you can probably imagine, can be overwhelming. Sometimes, I like to take myself away from noisy situations but this isn’t always possible. In this circumstances, writing really helps; whether it’s lists, notes or simply how I’m feeling - a notebook can be a big help me to filter.


Have a lovely Christmas everyone,




For more information, please head over to Lydia’s blog at:



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