Helen's blog: Get Back to Basics and Feel Better
Updated: 2 days ago
As a person with ADHD I like new and exciting things, and a lot of things I find just plain boring. If I’m feeling a bit rubbish, I’d rather look for a new, interesting, whacky solution than something basic. The trouble is that we actually do need to do some basic, boring stuff to keep ourselves alive. Doing this boring stuff day after day is actually pretty hard, according to me. I’m talking about things like drinking water. I don’t like drinking water, it doesn’t taste of anything and I’m too impatient to sit there and finish a glass. It seems to take SUCH a long time. I can do it at the same time as something else. So, when I drive to work (it’s a pretty long way) I can finish a big bottle of water. I got into a nice routine of doing that for a while. Drawbacks were that I was weeing all morning, and that I didn’t drink anything at all for the rest of the day, but it felt like a good thing on the whole. And when I do drink a proper amount of water (instead of just a couple of cups of tea) I find that I feel so much better. Not surprising really that chronic dehydration can get uncomfortable and you would think that, since drinking water actually keeps me alive, I would prioritise it more, but it’s boring, so I don’t.
There are some other, non-boring things that are basics but are extremely helpful. Getting out of the house is another one of my basics that I often neglect when I’m caught up in hyper focus about something, or if I’m feeling rubbish and can’t quite manage to do all the things in the right order to make it happen. Going on a walk takes time and it’s easy to discount it as non-essential because it doesn’t seem to actually achieve anything…except it does. It enables me to clear my head a little by doing some thinking on the move and the old exercise endorphins give me a boost. Being outside also seems to make worries a bit less massive and it’s easier to get perspective. So you can see why, for an overthinking ADHD brain, a walk is one of my basics.
Today’s walk was epic. I knew it was going to be really wet but I’ve got into a nice little routine of dropping the kids off at school and then carrying on for a walk straight after. I figure that I’m already out of the house at that point so I might as well make the most of it. Anyway, the forecast said rain all day and it was right. The kids wanted umbrellas to walk to school (I think mainly so they could try and poke the eyes out of anyone that walked past, but at one point I looked back and my daughter was properly wedged with her huge umbrella stuck between a parked car and a tree, looking confused). I can’t be doing with pushing a pram and holding an umbrella at the same time so I ditched it for the walk. I was wearing my coat (actually, it was my husband’s coat, it’s a better waterproof than mine but has his company logo on so I kind of feel like I’ve got to look a bit professional when I wear it) but the hood was annoying me. Hoods are ok, unless you actually want to see where you’re going. They really limit your peripheral vision (is this just me?). So, I ditched that as well and just got wet. It was actually lovely. It’s been hot and dry lately so the rain was very welcome, and it was warm enough that I didn’t get all chilly. Also, the path was really quiet apart from a man sheltering under a tree in flip flops (I have no idea why, I think we both knew the rain was set in and he was just going to get wetter) and a chilled out toad that casually hopped across the path. Anyway, I digress. Suffice to say, the walk was fab and I should do it every day!
Connection with other humans, or if you are a parent of small children like me, connection with other grown ups, is kind of fundamental to not going bonkers. But again, I often neglect this, especially if I’m stressed or busy. My instinct is to shut myself away. If I can get myself together enough to go for coffee with a friend I always feel tons better for it. This does take a little bit of forward planning but if either you or your friends are any good at this, it’s not too tricky. Do it now, message a friend and set something up, you’ll thank me later!
It’s very easy to neglect the basics but what I’m saying really is, next time you’re feeling a bit ‘meh’ think about whether you’re attending to your basic needs before you start looking for more complicated solutions. Even better, spend a bit of time now thinking about what your basic needs are and what works for you, then when the time comes, you can do a little check in and you’ll know what you need to do. Get back to basics.
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