This is the time when most of us reconnect with family and friends and make new goals for the coming year. The problem is that the reality may not live up to our expectations. We may take on too much to prepare, disrupt our own or family routines and forget that self-care comes first. And for the New Year, you may strive hopelessly to meet your goals and abandon them after your first failure.
My best advice is to take care of yourself first, cut your goals in half or more and stop striving for perfection. Aim for peace and progress instead. Don’t give up after your first failure, try again another day without judging yourself. And if you have ADHD or any other physical or mental challenge, it all starts with self-care
I visited my Doctor again this month and found a new poster about living a healthy life. Diet, exercise, and other traditional self-care started the list, but his final advice is to “Love yourself. Only when you love yourself are you able to love others and be worthy of love in return.”
We have three guest post articles this month. Both authors address universal themes and share their work without copyright.
From Leo Babauta, we have Unconditional Acceptance of Yourself which proposes that self-acceptance is a vital aspect of loving yourself. “What if we took a good look at ourselves, our body, our thoughts, our feelings, our actions, and said, “You are perfectly OK. You are perfectly good”? “Acceptance isn’t stagnation — you will change no matter what. You can’t avoid changing. The question is whether that change comes from a place of acceptance and love, or a place of self-dislike and dissatisfaction. I vote for unconditional love.”
Don’t confuse basic self-care with pedicures, bubble baths and time out with your friends or a for settling down with a good book or movie. When just getting out of bed in the morning is difficult, it’s time to admit that “Everything is Awful and I am NOT Okay.” You may have seen this article before, but these “Questions to Ask Before Giving Up” are worth repeating. We should all personalize our own set of questions for getting through the day. Let’s keep our physical and mental health intact and prepared to make it through another day, maybe this time without undue stress.
And don’t assume that having ADHD is a benign nuisance. Depending on the severity of symptoms and the number and type of additional mental disorders, ADHD can be debilitating, even deadly. One of my online coaching groups just lost a member to suicide. Other less shocking behavior also contributes to how well we live and even die.
At the ADHD Conference last month, Russell Barkley, Ph.D. presented research, ADHD and Life Expectancy, that shows that ADHD can even contribute to a lower lifespan – from 8 to 13 years fewer years. ADDitude Mag reports: “Using an actuarial database calculator from the University of Connecticut (UConn), they determined exactly how each risk factor may translate into years of lost longevity. Impaired behavioral inhibition was the primary factor, but several risk factors can be altered, including:
- hygiene practices
- driving risks
- tobacco use
- alcohol use
Many of these involve self-care and all too many are problems consistently higher in people with ADHD. It took me years to quit smoking and drinking and to get sleep, and exercise under control. I still struggle with my weight but I’m working on it. Altogether, I am in a much better place than I was before I found out about having ADHD and beginning treatment. With treatment, you too may see positive and life-saving changes occur in your life.
I also found another article from Leo that pertains to my own home situation “Living in Peace with a Packrat.” He answers the question, “I live in a big house with tons of things, mostly my husband’s….Damn shame I adore him so. Any suggestions for finding peace with a pack-rat?”
Once again finding support has proved invaluable in my journey towards wellness. I found a Hoarder’s support group in Tacoma which has helped me stop being permanently angry at my husband for the mess of “stuff” he can neither process nor let go of. With “collectors,” it’s all about understanding what you’re dealing with and setting boundaries that protect your own space.
Another good article for living with someone that has “too much stuff” is Space for Everyone Else from Homes are for Living.com. They remind us that, “The person that hoards cannot see the problem. The denial and “clutter blindness” is a HUGE part of THE PROBLEM.”
“Their lack of boundaries causes them to take over the ENTIRE HOUSE. Our lack of boundaries lets them take over the whole place. We desire to keep the peace, so we let them take over.”
If YOU are the one with too much stuff, see my Pinterest board Letting go of Clutter. “Clutter builds up for a number of reasons. Failing to get rid of things that are no longer used or in poor condition is a major one. Yet de-cluttering can be fraught with difficulty. The greater the financial investment and emotional connection to the object, the harder it is to let go.”
Our video this month is This is How you Treat ADHD based on Science also from Russell Barkley provides specific strategies for time and organization management that work. These include creating external scaffolding to support Executive Functions as well as a few behavior modification techniques. Enjoy this 13-minute video as well as some transcribed sections of what Barkley covers.
For a bonus this month, you can print out Leonie Dawson’s 12 Key Zen Habits poster on basic tenets for living a simpler life for work or at home according to Leo Babauta. She includes a Desktop wallpaper version as well. Rainbow zen-ness both online and offline. This is a smaller version of the poster.
Take care of yourself this month,
Unconditional love – “Photo courtesy of Stock Photos/FreeDigitalPhotos.net” Modified on Canva
Poster by Leonie Dawson