Take a moment to think about what happens when you get on an airplane. Before the plane takes off, the flight attendants outline safety procedures and inform you that, should the oxygen masks drop down, you must put yours on before you help anyone else. This is an excellent metaphor for self-care.
Many adults with ADD skimp on self-care. It’s not easy to balance the many demands of family, career, health, friends, and personal interests. Add ADD to that mix and you can get some very overwhelmed and overworked adults who sacrifice their own self-care in order to take care of everyone else — and everything else — around them.
Never feel guilty for putting on your oxygen mask and practicing self-care! When you take care of yourself, you function at a higher level. When you function at a higher level, you find yourself less overwhelmed and more prepared to deal with your ADD challenges, as well as the stresses of everyday life.
And when you are able to better manage and balance all the aspects of your life, there is much more ‘quality you’ available to the people around you.
There are many components of self-care that one must pay attention to. Here are 3 very important elements:
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 adults (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 these aspects of self-care seem like common sense, they are a lot easier said than done. 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 get centered.
Then, when you feel centered, take it a step further and express yourself! Journal, paint, sing, talk to your plants, or do whatever it is that allows you to express your feelings and emotions! 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.
The next time you find yourself cutting corners on your self-care to focus on the needs of others, remember that you can’t be much help to anyone until you put on your oxygen mask!