Guest Blogs

Relax! It’s Part of Your Treatment Plan

Adults, relaxing is key to your treatment plan. Discover which stress-relieving strategies work best to improve your mood, reduce your symptoms, and more.

A woman with ADHD relaxes and reads a book on the couch, taking some personal time in her marriage.
A woman with ADHD relaxes and reads a book on the couch, taking some personal time in her marriage.

Are you chronically stressed out? Do you spend so much time battling your attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms that you don’t take time to relax? And when you do give yourself a break, do you feel guilty about it? You’re not alone.

Many adults with ADHD have trouble making time for themselves. It’s so hard to get everything done (to find success in our careers, as parents, and in our relationships) that we feel like we need to work all the time to compensate. Our tendency towards inattention, distraction, and restlessness makes it difficult for us to be present in the moment, which is what it takes to fully unwind. Hence, our chronic feelings of anxiety and stress are exacerbated.

The more you can do to reduce your overall stress level, the better you will function. Therefore, learning to relax is a critical element of your ADHD treatment plan. And the frequency and length of the time you allot to de-stressing is key. Your body and mind deserve a series of small breaks throughout the course of the day. You also need longer periods of relaxation to keep stress at bay.

[Free Resource: Make Mindfulness Work for You]

Still not convinced? You may need to separate your beliefs about relaxation from your beliefs about laziness. Recognize that you need relaxation to sustain your energy levels just as much as you need food and water. It’s important not to feel like you can only relax if you’ve “earned it”; you can certainly use extra time to relax as a reward. Kind of like food rewards — you can give yourself an extra treat for accomplishing a goal, but you wouldn’t stop eating altogether if you didn’t make it.

Know you need to relax, but just can’t do it? That’s common, too. Fortunately, it’s a skill that can be developed. Like so many other things, it starts with making the decision to do it, and starting out slowly.

Schedule time in every day to relax. Here are some ideas to try:

  • Do some yoga stretches
  • Get a massage
  • Take a hot bath
  • Go fishing
  • Read fiction
  • Listen to soothing music
  • Take three deep breaths, inhaling deeply through your nose and exhaling through your mouth
  • Watch a movie
  • Look for constellations
  • Look for shapes in the clouds
  • Kayak
  • Try Tai Chi
  • Write in your journal
  • Taste every nuance of your lunch
  • Go for a bike ride in the country
  • Drink chamomile tea
  • Laugh with a friend
  • Take your dog for a walk
  • Sit under a tree and listen to the birds
  • Meditate
  • Walk in the woods
  • Find out what tulips smell like

It doesn’t really matter how you relax, just that you find what works for you, and make a conscious effort to save room for many small moments of peace and longer chunks of rest in your life on a daily basis.

It’s good for your heart, your mind, and your soul.