The term self-care can conjure up images of luxury spa treatments and exotic island retreats. In reality though, self-care is about practical day to day actions that make sure you are well looked after.
Self-Care is care for you by you.
It is knowing what your needs are, then making sure those needs are met. Those needs range from eating food regularly, taking a shower, developing communication skills and doing activities that make you happy.
If you don’t look after yourself, it is easy to become physically depleted, emotionally exhausted, resentful, depressed or angry, which in turn can mean your ADHD symptoms get worse, relationships suffer and performance at work suffers.
Adults with ADHD are often good at looking after other people but not so good at treating themselves with the same care and attention.
2 common reasons for not putting yourself at the top of your priority list are:
- Feeling undeserving
- Feeling overwhelmed and that there is no time.
It can be tempting to think you will start looking after yourself when everything else in your life is more organized and well managed. However, it is helpful to start practicing self care right now. When you look after yourself first, everything else in your life seems to fall into place – including feeling more organized and in control.
Self-Care Can Feel Very Uncomfortable
Just thinking about self care can feel very uncomfortable. In fact, reading this article might have made you feel annoyed or that it’s not for you. Sit with the discomfort, and start with very small yet regular self care actions.
Self-care means different things for different people. However, here is a list of the basic self-care categories that you can use as a guide and for inspiration.
7 Basic Self-Care Categories
- Visit doctor(s), dentist for regular check-ups
- Book an appointment with a psychologist to address emotional upsets
- Do your favorite type of exercise every day
- Eat regularly throughout the day
- Take supplements, including an omega-3.
- Put yourself to bed before midnight
- Spend time with people who respect and appreciate you
- Hang out with people who you genuinely enjoy being with
- Create healthy and respectful boundaries…so you don’t feel resentful or deplete yourself
- Feel comfortable saying no to things
- Get good at delegating
- Keep your car maintained so you can travel safely • Follow the speed limit
- Always have gas in your car so you aren’t worrying if you have enough to get you to your destination
5) Time Management
- Have a realistic schedule rather than trying to pack lots in and feel frazzled, late and disappointed in yourself.
- Pay bills on time
- File your Taxes every year
- Spend time doing things that are fun for you: hobbies, etc.
- Develop a gratitude habit and pick 3 things each day you are grateful for
8) Personal Grooming
- Book regular hair dresser appointments
- Look neat and tidy, e.g. nails, shave
- Have clean and presentable clothes (zero holes, wrinkles) to wear
Making self-care a priority runs much deeper than picking up the phone to book a hair dresser’s appointment, although that is a good first step.
It also involves an awareness of what makes you tick and knowing that you are an important person who deserve these things.
You might need to:
• Learn new skills like budgeting or time-keeping, which could help you improve your self-care.
• Begin to treat and manage your ADHD.
• Work with a therapist or coach to help improve your self-esteem or improve your assertiveness in order to say no to people.
• Or do a mixture of all 3!
Rather than doing a complete overhaul now, or waiting for a ‘perfect’ time in the future (which never comes), make upgrades in small increments.
1.Sit down and brainstorm all the ways you could improve your self care.
2.Look at the list and see what you could do that is easy. Maybe take an omega-3 supplement, or get your haircut every 2 months rather than every 3 months.
3.Then, gradually do more and more of the things on your list until you are practicing extreme self care!