Essential Skills for Managing Adult ADD - Part 1: Practicing Excellent Self-Care
Information on skills that are needed for successful Attention Deficit Disorder management.
As an adult with ADD and an ADD Coach, I have observed some skills that I believe are essential for successful ADD management. The first of these skills is: Practice Excellent Self-Care. There are many components of self-care that one must pay attention to. Sleep, nutrition, and exercise are what immediately come to mind, but having a good doctor, scheduling in regular "down time," and finding outlets for self-expression are all import aspects of self-care, too.
On average, do you get the sleep, nutrients, and exercise that your body requires? Sometimes, too little sleep can make you sluggish, but too much sleep can make you groggy. Excess sugar and caffeine can make you moody and speedy. And too little or too much exercise may leave you feeling tired. It's difficult for most Americans (with and without ADD) to balance proper sleep, nutrition, and exercise at all times, but most people agree that the more time they spend paying attention to healthy habits, the better they feel.
Some people choose to take ADD medication, and some people don't. This aspect of self-care isn't about medication. It's about your doctors - from your general practitioner to your dentist! Do you like your doctors? Do you feel at ease with them? Do you feel comfortable asking questions? Doctors are experts in human care, and in order to practice good self-care, you must have some great doctors on your side. This doesn't always come easy. It can take some time to find a doctor with whom you are comfortable, but it's worth the effort. You are worth the effort.
Mental Care: The Most Important Part
By now you may be thinking that while all of the above aspects of self-care seem like common sense, they are a lot easier said than done. This is absolutely true for most
people with ADD. When you live life feeling chronically overwhelmed, it's very difficult to find the time to put these ideas into action. Here's what you can do to set yourself up for success: take time out. Schedule in "down time" every single day to help keep your batteries charged. Retreat from the chaos of daily life and allow yourself time
to relax - alone. Even if you spend only five minutes a day meditating, walking, or just sitting quietly, it will allow you to slow your thoughts and will help you center yourself.
Then, when you feel centered, take it a step further and express yourself! Write, paint, sing, talk to your plants, or do whatever it is that allows you to express your feelings and emotions! Keeping your feelings and emotions bottled will weigh you down. Finding healthy ways of self-expression will help free your mind and allow you to spend more energy focusing on the other aspects of self-care.
When you practice excellent self-care, you allow yourself to function at an optimal level. When you operate on an optimal level, you'll find yourself less overwhelmed, and more prepared to deal with your ADD challenges, as well as the stresses of every day life. Excellent self-care is an essential skill for adult ADD management.
Stay tuned next month for Part 2 in "The Essential Skills for Managing Adult ADD" series!