No matter where you are in the world, chances are that you’re under more stress right now that normal. Between natural and man-made disasters, economics, politics, the coronavirus outbreak, and everything else that’s going on around you, there’s a lot to deal with, and life doesn’t stop coming at you while you’re trying to cope.
Times of uncertainty and difficulty like these are tough for everyone but, for those of us with ADHD/ ADD, they can be especially impactful as so much is competing for our attention, energy, emotions and time. And it can very quickly take a toll on us! Especially for those of us who are prone to worrying, anxiety, depression or the like.
So, right now, I want you to take a moment to pause. (I know you’re thinking that you’re too busy, but you’re already reading this, so trust me for just a moment!) Take just a few seconds and do something to refresh yourself, protect your own emotional and physical well-being, AND improve your productivity and focus.
5 Simple Strategies to help you get through trying times:
- Breathe! One of the simplest things we can do to lower stress is to take a few, deep, diaphragmatic (or belly) breaths. (In simple terms, inhale and concentrate on filling your belly with air instead of your lungs.) Research has shown that deep diaphragmatic breathing facilitates more oxygen exchange, reducing heart rate and can even lower blood pressure. For those of us with ADHD/ADD, it can have the big benefit of helping to slow our thoughts as well and improve focus.
- Let it Out! All of that worry and information and stuff whirling around in your brain right now is only adding to your burden, so take a few moments to let it out! Whip out a notebook, open an electronic document or open your voice recorder app and get your thoughts and feelings out. It can be a tremendous relief to make those things conscious so that you can shine a light on what you can do to make things better, and what you need to let go.
- Express Gratitude! Take a moment right now, and at least once daily, to consciously acknowledge what’s good in your life and what you can be grateful for. Research has shown that expression of appreciation and gratitude increase certain “feel good” brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, and can have lasting impacts on our physical and emotional health!
- Get help! If you’re struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, etc., make sure you’re getting the help you need. Talk to a counselor, therapist, or coach and talk to you doctor to make sure any medical conditions are being treated properly.
- Put yourself on a Media Diet! We all want to be in-the-know, but the constant barrage of information, energy, hyperbole and STUFF from all kinds of media is NOT benefiting you! Set some strong, firm limits on when you check the news, social media and other outlets and how much time you spend there. Unplug from your electronics and replace them with something like reading, listening to music, meditation, yoga, exercise or a creative outlet or hobby.
Ok. Make that 6 Strategies….
Please make sure you’re doing what you can to get regular and sufficient sleep. I know it’s hard, but it’s a very important part of learning to live well with ADHD–especially amidst all the craziness that surrounds us. (And check out these podcast episodes on sleep if you need help: https://adhdsupporttalk.com/2021/03/24/solving-sleep-struggles/ , and my personal favorite “Just Go to Bed Already” at https://adhdsupporttalk.com/2018/05/23/go-to-bed-already-bedtime-sleep-adult-adhd/ )
And one last thing… Please go ahead and reach your right hand out, extend your arm, and reach over to touch your left shoulder. Now, touch your left hand to your right shoulder. Simultaneously, give yourself a squeeze with both arms and tell yourself, “I’ve got this!”
That’s a hug from me. Because, no matter what, you’re not alone.
And I know you’ve got this!
I know times are tough right now, but you will get through this. You’ve gotten yourself through hard times before! That means that, so far, you have a 100% survival rate.
And I’m right here if you need help.