As I have crossed the threshold of a decade birthday, I have been giving self-care a lot of thought. It seems so ho-hum a topic, as in “Yeah, yeah, I know, eat “right,” exercise, get enough sleep…blah, blah, blah.” Well, yes and no. That is what makes self-care so tricky. It’s sounds so easy, and you’ve heard what you should do, but many of us only give ourselves the attention we need in an inconsistent way or not at all until we’re presented with some medical crisis or diagnosis. Or perhaps reality snuck up on us, and all of a sudden we notice (not very compassionately) that we’ve gained more pounds than we realized or we’re out of breath so easily. The consequences of ignoring self-care are quite noticeable, particularly as we get older…
Self-care is important for everyone (who wants to enjoy life or have a body that works well and lasts a long time.) However, for someone with ADHD, self-care is absolutely essential … because, guess what? Without it, your symptoms are going to be in-your-face. I don’t know about you, but I’m not so fond of my symptoms being that glaring, to me and to those around me. The symptoms of ADHD are exaggerated without self-care. That means that, minimally, life is more difficult. At the other end, it can mean that life feels like it’s spinning out of control and that there’s no hope. It is very hard to “do” daily life like that, much less enjoy it.
The good news is that, just as much as a lack of self-care can have such a negative impact on ADHD, even a tiny change or two can have a very positive impact, which is often all we need to continue down the path where life feels better. What might that tiny change be for you? As a friend once pointed out, instead of trying to get in all five servings of fruits and veggies every day (when you’re only getting maybe one or two), what about just committing to eating an apple every day? (Or whatever fruit most appeals to you. I like bananas because they require nothing but pulling back the peel. Easy! And if I add some peanut butter, then I’m getting in a bit of protein to help keep my blood sugar steady and energy at a more even keel.)
With the weather finally getting warmer again and the days getting longer, what about just going for a walk around the block? Or what about committing to shutting off your computer, iPod, cell phone, etc. by a certain time at night to give your brain a chance to wind down and get enough sleep? (That’s my current challenge.) You know your challenges. We all have some area that could receive some needed attention. What is yours? No, not “I will start eating all five servings of fruits and veggies and exercising for an hour every day and going to bed at 9:00 every night and …” No, not all of those. Not even one of those!
Your goal is to start small. Very tiny baby steps. Think about the way that a baby walks. That toddler take little steps because, if they step too big, they fall! Let’s learn from the babes and take tiny steps so that we can keep our balance and improve our self-care!