We all know that self-care is super important, yet it’s not always easy to find time for yourself. As a result, you press on and make excuses. You’ll do it when you “have the time”, as though time will magically appear someday on your schedule. The fact is prioritizing small bits of time for self-care on a daily basis is one of the best ways to begin minimizing the impact of ADHD.
Here are 7 tips — try a new one each day!
The effects of nature upon your health have been documented in many different areas. So much so, the builders of modern hospitals incorporate natural materials and greenery into the rooms of the patients as it has been proven people heal faster when exposed to nature. With this in mind, is it any wonder getting outside should be at the top of your list? Make a point to get outside as often as possible, especially in green spaces. If you find you can’t do this easily, an alternative might be to create an indoor garden or to incorporate nature somehow into your décor.
How will you go green today?
Take a Success Selfie
A picture is worth a thousand words. Have you heard that one? It’s true. Next time you experience a win or success, capture it on your smartphone. Save it in your photo gallery. We call these success selfies. Then, when you find yourself dwelling on what’s wrong or engaged in a bout of negative self-talk and rumination, grab that phone and scroll through your success selfies photo gallery to counter your negative thoughts and help you get back into a better mood and outlook. This is a great way to pivot and reboot your day.
What will be your next success selfie?
Moving around and exercise is one of the best ways to increase those neurotransmitters and endorphins needed for focus and motivation. Sometimes we think we are too busy to stop for a break. The truth is that your brain is less effective without the breaks. Make a point to get up and move at least once every hour, especially if you’ve been spending a lot of time at your desk. Try some stretches.
Another block is we might equate exercise to considerable amounts of effort and time. Sometimes that is the case, but it doesn’t always need to be. The research by Dr. John Ratey in his book Spark suggests 20 minutes is a great way to increase neurotransmitters and endorphins to improve our brain function and mood. This doesn’t always require putting on your gym clothes and getting sweaty. You could take a short power walk. Do a few sets of pushups or jumping jacks to increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain. Turn up the music and dance to your playlist. Even the smallest gestures of movement and exercise can improve your thinking and mood
When and how will you get moving today?
Savor the Moment
When was the last time you paid real attention to what you were doing? Take a minute to enjoy this moment right now. If you are eating something, close your eyes and savor the tastes, textures, and flavor upon your tongue. If you are at your desk, close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you. What do you smell? What do you feel? Practices like this help to develop your mental muscle of mindfulness and presence. The world becomes a much more magical place when you start paying attention, doesn’t it?
What will be the moment to savor today?
Speaking of happiness, when was the last time you truly laughed? Laughter is so good for a person both mentally and physically. What’s really interesting is how a fake laugh very quickly becomes a real one. So even if you’re not feeling like the world is funny, give laughing a try. If this seems too silly, consider the memories, resources and types of activities that get you laughing and add one of them into your day.
What makes you want to laugh? Imagine that and laugh away!
Deal with a Thing
There is likely some tiny little thing that has been irritating you for some time. A light bulb that is burned out. A tiny little repair in your home. An overdue library book that needs to go back. A tiny little thing can be a showstopper with your energy and outlook. Whatever is bugging you, take a few minutes today to deal with it so you can shake it off and move on. You will feel so much better when it’s done.
What’s been bugging you? When will you handle that one thing?
Breakfast of Champions
Next time you find yourself rushing out the door and skipping breakfast, think twice. Our brains rely on proteins and complex carbs to help with the production of neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. These neurotransmitters are very important when it comes to brain function. Without them, we set ourselves up for a brain-drain day. Consider your own breakfast routine and habits. What helps? What gets in the way? Half the battle is coming up with ideas and being prepared. Try creating a quick-reference menu for breakfast. Make sure at least half of your ideas are easy grab-and-go options when you need to. Jot down what you need for groceries, get shopping and set yourself up for the week.
How many protein and complex carb combinations for breakfast can you think of?
What will be your breakfast of champions today?
With self-care, the key is consistency. Doing something right for yourself today isn’t going to be enough to carry you through for the rest of the month, or even this week. You need to constantly be on the lookout for those little bits of time and opportunities to practice quick self-care actions. The good news? Most of these items are so easy they’ll quickly become habits. This is where the magic happens, where you feel good inside and out, no matter what you’re doing today.
Robin Nordmeyer, PCAC
Owner, Founder | ADHD & Executive Functions Coach