Maximize Your ADHD Self-Care with These Proven Techniques: Recharge Your Mind & Body and Reduce Stress and Guilt.
The holidays mean different things to everyone, but whether you’re facing complex family dynamics, loneliness, tiring travel itineraries or mayhem with the kids home for the holidays, self-care is definitely something on our minds, and often feels juuuust out of reach.
As promised, I’ve put together a Christmas holiday self-care guide, with special consideration for the unique challenges neurodivergents face when it comes to prioritising ourselves and taking action. I’ve pondered, researched and collected these ideas in no particular order — so browse, skim (or deep dive) and see what resonates for you.
Maybe you’ve come across some of these concepts before, and others could be new. Either way, there’s something for every nervous system here.
1. Shift your perception of self-care to something that you feel more motivated and inspired by
The power of language cannot be underestimated when it comes to changing our perspectives on self-care. Unfortunately, the term “self-care” has become overused and lost its significance. That’s why I suggest shifting our focus to alternative words that better resonate with us and bring a deeper meaning to the practice of taking care of ourselves.
One such word is “nervous system nourishment”. This phrase holds a special place in my heart and encapsulates the importance of nurturing our bodies and minds.
Consider the following alternatives to self-care:
- Self attunement: paying attention to your own needs and emotions.
- Self nurturing: taking care of yourself in a gentle and supportive manner.
- Self holding: providing yourself with a secure and comforting environment.
- Self soothing: calming and relaxing your mind and body.
- Self replenishment: restoring your energy and resources.
- Self listening: paying attention to your inner voice and intuition.
- Self giving: treating yourself with kindness and generosity.
Which of these terms resonate with you and your approach to self-care?
Revised: 2. Enhance your mealtime experience with this relaxing exercise – proven to be effective!
Do you struggle with meditating due to your ADHD brain’s constant noise? It’s time to discover a new approach to meditation that harnesses your hyperfocus power. By bringing conscious awareness to the act of eating, you can boost your interoceptive abilities and practice noticing the small details in a normally unconscious task. This mindful eating exercise is especially effective for neurodivergent individuals.
Enjoy a relaxing and rejuvenating eating experience with this simple 4-minute Mindful Eating Meditation. All you need to do is eat and listen, focusing on each bite and micro-movement. Say goodbye to the difficulties of traditional meditation and try this accessible and transformative approach to nourishing your nervous system.
3. Self-Care Techniques for ADHD: Establishing a Sensory Retreat
Sensory cocooning can be a lifesaver for those with ADHD and hypersensitive nervous systems. The constant exposure to overstimulation in our daily lives can take a toll on our bodies and minds, and sensory cocooning is a great way to recharge and reset.
The concept of sensory cocooning is simple – it involves creating a comfortable, safe and nurturing environment that provides sensory input that’s calming, relaxing and supportive. By cocooning our senses, we can reduce overstimulation, lower anxiety, and help our nervous systems feel nourished.
In my self-care guide for ADHD brains, I explore the concept of sensory cocooning in depth and provide tips and suggestions for creating your own personal cocooning space. From snuggling up in a warm bed to taking a relaxing bath or finding a quiet room, this guide offers practical ideas for replenishing your nervous system. Don’t wait – start taking care of yourself today!
4. Relieve Jaw Tension with this Quick and Effective Exercise
Do you struggle with a sore face and tense jaw? You’re not alone! Many people with ADHD tend to clench their jaw and grind their teeth, especially when they’re feeling stressed. To help release this tension, I’ve found a simple exercise called the Masseter Release Exercise. It’s incredibly effective and can make a noticeable difference within minutes. It’s now a staple in my self-care routine and I use it whenever I feel tired and stressed. To learn more, watch the video below or visit the direct link.
5. Release Shame & Guilt with Understanding: 7 Self-Care Techniques for ADHD Brains
Learning about how our nervous system works can help us understand why we might struggle with self-care, and why self-replenishment can be difficult for people with ADHD. When our nervous systems are depleted and burnt out, it can be challenging to even grasp the concept of self-care, let alone actually engage in it. This can lead to feelings of shame and guilt. But it’s important to remember that this is not our fault and that there are physiological reasons for these blocks.
By understanding the science behind our nervous systems and the blocks that prevent us from being body-aware, we can reduce the shame and guilt we might feel, and have the emotional capacity to practice self-compassion and find a way forward. The more we know about how our nervous systems work, the more we can understand and be kind to ourselves when it comes to self-care and self-replenishment.
6. Use a “second brain” to reduce mental noise
It may seem simple, but writing down our to-do’s can help reduce the amount of mental noise in our brains and provide much-needed rest for our minds. Utilizing the templates in our ADHD planner, such as the Weekend or Weekday It Get Done lists, Brain Dump pages, or Hyperfocus list can be an effective way to achieve this.
7. 7 Self-Care Techniques for ADHD: Using Holiday Invitations as an Opportunity to Assess Your Needs and Set Boundaries
With the holidays in full swing, you may find yourself with a large number of invitations to parties, end-of-year events, and gatherings with friends. Instead of feeling obligated to accept every invitation, try approaching each one with a default “no” and consider what you truly need in that moment. Think of each invitation as an opportunity to check in with your body and nervous system, and make a decision based on whether your body says “yes” or “no.” It’s important to remember that you can’t be everything to everyone, and the holidays provide a great opportunity to start setting healthy boundaries, especially if you’ve struggled with saying no in the past. Declining invitations politely is a way to prioritize your self-care and give yourself permission to take time for yourself, which is especially important during the busy holiday season.