Stay home, stay… sane?
Hi fellow ADHD brains!
I hope everyone’s doing okay right now. For me, today is day 25 of social distancing, aka staying home as much as possible, and well… I’m staying home. I’m staying safe. I’m not staying sane.
I don’t know about you guys, but my brain is being particularly difficult right now. I’m in the middle of this downward spiral of not getting enough exercise –> having no energy (because I don’t get enough exercise) –> not being able to persuade my brain to do anything beside scroll through my phone and watch Netflix –> running out of stuff to watch –> running out of stuff to see on Instagram/Pinterest –> being bored out of my mind –> not managing to get myself moving –> not getting enough exercise –> …….
It’s truly exhausting. And I’m not happy at all. But I don’t have a solution.
What I’m trying to do at the moment, because let’s be honest, life won’t go back to normal after Easter (that’s less than two weeks away and we’re nowhere near being able to accomodate the amount of new corona cases that would bring with it)… lost my train of thought here… wait… yes, right. So, what I’m currently trying to do is just take baby steps to start rebuilding a daily routine. Which means that I try to get up with my husband at 6:30 am (if I wasn’t awake for hours that night due to pain issues, which are a fun side effect of the not getting enough exercise thing), I try, more or less hard, depending on the day, to start doing something that is in any way productive by 8 am, and then get to work, or, as today, do something work-ish. I also try to get out for a walk at least once a day, to account for the exercise I usually get by running errands, and I’m trying, so far semi-successfully, to integrate mindfullness and meditation into my daily routine. I know these things are extremely helpful to me, since my nervous system is wired to be stressed all the time, and that’s suboptimal at the moment. But they also take energy, and focus. Which currently isn’t all that easy for me.
Over all, I think the most important thing is that I get some structure into my days. And, honstely, this might be a great time to reset, and find ways to make my life more intentional, as opposed to what I’ve been doing for most of my life. I mean, I always try to be intentional about my life and time, but usually that doesn’t happen unless I put in considerable effort.
What I’m hoping for is that I’ll manage to form lasting habits out of this. Because building a habit always takes a lot of effort. But if I can make this work, it’s going to make my life a lot better. So I guess what I’m trying to do is really take this time (and I personally have a lot more off time than usual) and use it to improve my life in ways that will help me feel better in the future. Which is honstely all anyone can do at the moment.
And thank the people who keep our lives going at the moment! Be kind and polite to supermarket workers (even if you feel that you’re entiteled to a four year supply of toilet paper, you’re not, and the service worker you’re confronting is just doing their job and making sure we all get to live), thank the garbage collectors, smile at anyone you meet. It’s important, and it will make you feel better, too. Something that people really don’t tell you, is that if you accept this situation for what it is (a necessary time of restriction, that serves everyone in society), you will feel a lot calmer, and you will have more creative energy. Because you will have lots of ideas about how to support others during the social distancing time. That’s a good thing! You’ll also have more ideas of how you can simplify your life, and make it better for it. A lot of things that are usually stressing me out, are now gone (granted, now the virus is stressing me out, but anyway) and I’m getting more ideas of what I can really live without, even after the pandemic is over.
That’s obviously not for everyone. But I encourage you to try out that mindset. Because for us ADHD brains, focusing on the essentials, and finding things that we really don’t need, can be incredibly helpful. You know that slightly panicked feeling you get sometimes when you’re trying to let something go? Try to take a good look at that feeling and ask yourself: What am I really doing with this? Do I need it? Like, really, actually, need it? Does it do anything for me? Does is stress me out because I don’t know what to do with it? If the answer to these questions is no, and yes to the last one, let it go (let it go, can’t hold it back anymore…. sorry). I’ve found that the less stuff I have lying around, the less stressed my brain is. Same goes for other things. Lots of screen time: I don’t do that because it helps me in any way, aside from keeping my brain busy for a bit. I do it because it’s easy. So that is one of the habits that I would like to change into something that’s intentional and adds value to my everyday life.
Now, all of this is nice in theory. In practice, we all know it isn’t that easy. But honestly? Has there ever been a better time to work on these things than now? Have I ever needed intentional habits that help my mental health more than right now? I mean, it’s possible, but this time still ranks pretty high on the mental health destruction scale. So no, I’ve never needed help with my mental health more than right now. And I’m committed to working on that. It’s not going to be easy, and it’s not going to go perfectly, but I’m determined to make use of the surplus free time I have right now. I doubt that I’ll ever again have a chance like this. And neither will most of you. So let’s do this.
Stay healthy! Stay home! And don’t forget to wash your hands! (And moisturize them! Dry and aggravated skin is perfect for viruses to hold on to!)