Spending almost all of your time at home as part of staying safe during the pandemic can be very stressful, especially if you have ADHD. There is the extra burden of planning and organization – for yourself and for the household. The new demands of managing all your work and communications digitally can also be anxiety provoking. And, of course the social isolation can leave you more vulnerable to feeling lonely and depressed.
Creating a Zone of Calm
All of these factors make it more important than ever to build in self-care as part of your daily routine. Self-care can include getting better sleep, staying on a diet that doesn’t exacerbate your ADHD symptoms, taking frequent breaks and exercising. Creating a calm environment also helps. This might include:
- Designating an area primarily for relaxation, if possible
- Using soothing scents and lighting
- Having relaxing music playing in the background
In addition to the environment, there are things you can do personally to calm anxious feelings or lift your mood. These include:
- Practicing breathing techniques
- Keeping a journal to write down thoughts and feelings
You may also consider meditation.
Meditation Made Easy
Someone with ADHD might think they just can’t do meditation. This belief can be based on an image of having to sit quietly in what feels like an unnatural position for long periods of time feels like total anathema. But there are many ways to meditate and you can use a pacing and style that suits your needs.
- The first step is to get comfortable – whatever that means for you. It can be sitting, lying or even walking. Before you start, try to wind down a little, in whatever way that works best for you.
- Slow down your breathing. Work up to taking slow, deep breaths. As much as possible, try to breathe from your diaphragm.
- Focus on something. It could be an object, music, or just your own breathing. You can repeat a phrase while meditating, but you don’t have to.
- Inevitably your attention will wander – some days a lot more than others.That’s natural. When it happens, just gently bring your mind back to your focus. The idea is to get to the point where you observe your thoughts and let them go – without act on them.
- Take it slow. Try meditating for a few minutes a day, then work up from there as you get more comfortable with it. Slowly work it into your daily routine.
Meditation can have huge benefits in helping you de-stress from whatever the day brings you. It can also have positive physiologic effects – e.g., on blood pressure and heart rate.