“My Gym is Closed. My Babysitter is Gone. Here is Where Self-Care Gets Creative.”
“All the things I very consciously do during normal times to keep my ADHD in check have gone completely out the window (along with the rule about how many ‘My Little Pony’ episodes my daughter can watch in a row). Here is how I’m keeping myself from teetering off the edge by getting creative.”
I’m teetering right there on the edge of sanity, and it’s not hard to uncover why. As an ADHD mom of four – one with high functioning autism, one with Tourette’s Syndrome, and a couple with as-of-yet-undiagnosed ADHD – the attention I normally dedicate to self-care is super high (you’ll see below).
During this unprecedented time of kids and a spouse at home, limited interactions with other humans, and outing options reduced to rifling through picked-over bananas, I have realized that all the things I very consciously do during normal times to keep my ADHD in check have gone completely out the window (along with the rule about how many “My Little Pony” episodes my daughter can watch in a row).
Self-Care in a Crisis
I used to have a babysitter come one day per week to allow me a break. I went wherever I wanted to go, played with friends, watched movies alone, or got a massage — small luxuries that became essential balancers. I realize this babysitting block was a gift, and it took me a long time to stop apologizing for it. The reason I stopped apologizing for it was because I needed it; the weeks when it didn’t happen meant I wasn’t doing well.
Exercise Looks Different in a Crisis
I used to hit the gym a couple of times each week, since getting the ole heart rate up and exercising is so helpful for those of us with ADHD. Just being in a place where people were collectively fitness-ing lifted my psychological spirits. I loved the endorphins; I loved the health food at the café; I even loved the showers.
Household Help in a Crisis
Is laundry hard for you? I find laundry to be paralyzingly difficult. And a couple years ago, I finally gave it up. I used to have my laundry needs taken care of by a lovely woman by the name of Rachel. Rachel used to come two mornings per week to fold and put away our laundry. Additionally, I used to have someone help with deep cleans around the house every few weeks. I was so fortunate to have these tools at my disposal.
They are gone.
These forms of self-care and support were just my particular medley. If you are an adult with ADHD, I’m sure your arrangement had a whole unique ring to it. Regardless of how any of ours looked or sounded, it’s safe to say they’re gone (or at least changed drastically).
But don’t be dismayed. I wouldn’t leave you in such a dismal state.
What I have to say is this: get creative.
I can’t get lunch with friends, but I can utilize my kids’ collective screen time like a boss. I’m purposefully journaling, meditating, pleasure reading, Skyping with peeps, and napping during the time when no dependents needs me.
I can’t offload household responsibilities, but I can keep the routine of laundering twice weekly and bring in the help of my husband and kids (and yell at them when they don’t re-wear something re-wearable). As for deep cleaning the house, well, I’ve let that completely go for now. We’ll survive.
I can’t go to the gym, but my husband and I can alternate our individual workouts outside. We can run, walk, bike, lunge, and stretch. Inside our house, we can do yoga, Pilates, strength train, and anything else using a YouTube video.
I don’t mean to suggest that any of these adaptations will be easy — just that they’re possible, with some creative thinking. Like I said in the beginning, I’m on the edge of sanity. My guess is that you are, too. Let’s be just creative enough to not fall over the edge completely.
Updated on April 3, 2020