We often do better caring for others than for ourselves. Add ADHD into the mix and things get even more complicated. We may feel we are failing on multiple fronts – caring for ourselves and caring for others. I am a firm believer that in order to give our best to others we need to do our best for ourselves as well. That gives us the fuel to support others.
What does caring for ourselves mean? There is the obvious – good nutrition, enough restorative sleep each night and regular exercise. ADHD can cause us to struggle even with these basics. For example, many people affected by ADHD struggle with planning, organizing and time management that makes eating properly, regular sleep and enough exercise a challenge. Unfortunately, they are necessary tasks. Food, sleep and exercise are vital for a good quality sustained existence.
If you can’t do it alone get some help. The help can come in a variety of forms such as your partner, family, friends, support groups, services, coaches and therapists. What is important is that you take action. No matter how small to try and move yourself forward in regards to food, sleep and exercise. Every little micro action you take is further along than giving up and doing nothing.
This is hard. We like big action and grand gestures but they often aren’t sustainable long term. What little thing can you do today to help in your pursuit of eating healthy, getting regular sleep and exercising? It may be starting to walk once a week for a half hour, going to bed a little earlier or cutting a certain junk food out of your diet. Each step forward improves the opportunity for success. Sure, you will fail sometimes. Forget some days to do the incremental step forward you have chosen. But the answer is simple. Try again the next day. That is all that you have to do – to try again the next day each time you fall back. Take each day as it comes.
Find a friend to take a weekly walk with. Prepare and eat a meal with someone else who has better eating habits than yourself. Set an alarm an hour before you plan to go to bed to start getting ready for bed and do sleep encouraging activities. All of these actions cost little or no money.
After you take one micro step forward add another. That may be going for a walk two or three times a week, sticking to a more reasonable bedtime, shifting what you buy at the grocery store, or some other step forward. Keep adding little steps forward and you’ll get where you want to go. You will fall off the wagon sometimes. That doesn’t mean the changes aren’t working. You just need to climb back on the wagon as quickly as possible.
ADHD can be frustrating. It often makes it hard for us to put out consistent effort on something especially if it is something that is not of great interest to us. It is a life time battle. But a worthy battle. Taking better care of ourselves helps us to live a better quality of life and be a better human being to the people in our lives.