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Self-care ideas are always needed, probably because we are so reluctant to take care of ourselves. Self-care or self-destruct, there is no other option. You might notice I?haven’t been around for a little while. There’s a reason for that. . . if by “reason” you’d determine that I have worked myself into the ground and while doing that had no spare time to lend to BGLK, you’d be absolutely right. I was absolutely wrong though. In not taking the time to prioritize self-care, I have not become a more productive person; I have actually become less productive.
How did I manage to do that to myself? After all, as a mental health advocate, I am always extolling the virtues of putting yourself first and giving yourself what you need in order to feel better and all of that. That’s why people, especially people who take care of others, have to be careful. It is too easy to stretch yourself thin in some misguided attempt to be everything to everybody and before you know it you’re exhausted and angry, wondering how you got there. I get it, trust me. Now that we have learned that lesson, I wanted to share with you some of the things that I have been doing to get myself back out of that rut.
Stop feeling guilty about it
I moved into a new apartment last year, and when I moved I needed a new mattress ( I got this one) . I crashed on my own couch for months. Why? Because I felt guilty about spending the money on myself. That is how twisted in our thinking a lack of self-care can make us. It is ok to do good things for yourself, and show yourself some love. You can do all of the self-care in the world, but as long as you guilt-trip yourself about taking care of #1, it will never work.
Stop putting yourself last on your list
In my world, there is always someone who I should be doing something for, and that somebody comes before me on my list. This is majorly unhealthy, and if you do this too, it is time to stop. You and your needs are not something that can be pushed into the corner of your mind until your to-do list is completed. That’s not how any of this works. When you push yourself aside and deny your needs, those needs will give you no rest. That’s when you start to see symptoms like worsening anxiety, depression, and irritability bubbling to the surface. You don’t deserve that, nobody does.
Do NOT listen to people who tell you to work harder when you need to slow down
We are surrounded by people who are determined to make themselves sick by working themselves into an early grave. I know, because I am a reforming workaholic. I know that you want to take over the world, and I do too, but what you have to understand is that you cannot conquer the world while you are exhausted. You will have NOTHING left to give anyone else if you continue to wear yourself out. Instead, you’ll lean like the Tower of Pisa and eventually collapse. You don’t have time for that, so just do better.
In my own quest to do better, I have been working little tools and treats into my own self-care ideas bank. Each one of them serves a purpose AND costs $20 or less because too much more than that trips my guilt trigger and doesn’t allow me to enjoy it. Here are some of the fantastic products that I have used (or intend to use) in order to keep myself well cared for and growing.
1. Show your hands some love
Last winter was bitterly cold in Pennsylvania, and it left my hands really chapped. I suspect this winter will be just as bad and leave my hands super chapped. This hand cream is addictive. Everybody knows and trusts Palmer’s brand for cocoa butter, now they’ve given us a new product with the power of coconut oil.
2. Get into mindfulness
Mindfulness has been proven to help the ADHD mind. It isn’t always easy to remember to be mindful, but it is going to be majorly helpful to you if you try it. If you’re not sure what to do to become mindful, here are a few books to get you started – and while you’re at it, head over to Mindfully ADD to learn mindfulness from an ADHD perspective. After you’re done there, give this book on meditation for fidgety skeptics a try.
3. A book for when you want to run away
I am a voracious reader, and “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” did not disappoint me. If you have ever wanted to escape the pressure of your life and run away, you will love this book too. Bernadette and her daughter teach us a lot about what life is like when things get a little TOO overwhelming.
4. A book to make you laugh
I love biting sarcastic humor, and David Sedaris is kinda a genius when it comes to that. For an extra treat, check out the audiobook version of “Me Talk Pretty One Day”, his sister joins him and does the funniest voices.
5. Learn how trauma affects you
If you follow the BGLK Facebook Page, you will see the Ted Talk that the author of this book gave. In The Deepest Well, the author discusses the long-term effects of childhood trauma and stress on our well being. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to free themselves from that cycle.
6. Take a bubble bath
It is warm, it smells good, and with any luck, nobody will burst into the bathroom and interrupt you. Light some candles, take a bubble bath and ease your mind. Try this all-natural bubble bath from the honest company.
7. Write in a journal
Writing is very cathartic for a lot of us, and if you haven’t tried putting your thoughts into words before, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Get this awesome journal and give it a try!
8. Get a fresh set of makeup brushes
If you didn’t know, I created a FB group for black women with ADHD, called Unicorn Squad. It rocks and we have awesome discussions there – you can join us here. In the meantime, if you love makeup and unicorns, get yourself this adorable new set of brushes.
Read: The Ultimate ADHD Guide
9. Do some meal prep
If you have ADHD, sometimes you will forget to eat. If you do meal prep, you are running less of a risk of not eating. Give it a try!
10. Get a sound machine
When I am trying to relax, sometimes I need just a little background noise to help me. This sound machine can certainly help with providing that.
11. Freshen up your face
This stuff will leave your skin feeling as fresh and soft as a baby right out of the bath. I LOVE it. The enzymes in it melt away dead skin and leave you glowing.
12. Take your vitamins
Taking care of your body is so important, and a big part of that is getting your nutrients. If you’ve ever seen Death Becomes her, you know why taking care of your body is so important. If not, skip the pop culture reference, take your vitamins and behave.
13. Stay hydrated
If I haven’t forgotten to eat, I may have forgotten to drink. Keeping a bottle of smart water nearby saves me from certain death. The electrolytes help to make up for those times I forgot, right?
14. Move around
Managing our weight is a particular challenge for the tribe of ADHD women. Give these exercise bands a try. Not only will they help you tone muscle, but you can also snap them at people who annoy you.
15. Get a diffuser
Pretty scents are a great way to help you get into relaxation mode. Bonus points if you include aromatherapy. Get yourself a diffuser and get yourself some essential oil goodness to relax.
16. Add some essential oils
Essential oils can relax, revive or energize you. They are not a cure-all, but I’ll take relief any way I can get it.
17. Release tired muscles
Stress and tension can leave you with a crick in the neck, just like 10,000 years in a genie bottle ( PLEASE tell me you got that movie reference). These little balls can help you to release the pain.
18. Stop giving a #@!&
This doesn’t need an explanation. If you stop giving your @)(#’s away, you will start feeling better. This book is ABSOLUTELY life changing.
Don’t let yourself go without the care you need. Pour into yourself the same way that you pour into others. You deserve it. While we’re at it, it is time for us to talk about how you’re talking to yourself. Our thoughts shape so much of our lives and the way that we behave. When we constantly give ourselves the message that we aren’t good enough, that we don’t matter or that we aren’t successful, our mental health suffers. When you’re ready to rid yourself of negative thought patterns, grab my book about reframing self-criticism! It is well under the budget at $10!
Do you love someone with ADHD? Read: 5 Ways ADHD Relationships Are Remarkable