Routine and habit are secret weapons for managing Attention Deficit Disorder and it’s symptoms. Things that you do automatically, without thinking, can help you make more sense of your crazy life.
I recently started working outside the home part time. I needed the break, but it really messed with my life for a while.
I wasn’t getting enough sleep, I was too tired to keep up with the house, and making dinner was an effort.
I had some good habits and routines in place, but my schedule was disrupted by my job. I needed to re-work things.
For instance, my old routine was to unload the dishwasher first thing when I woke up. Then all day long dirty dishes would be loaded by whoever used them.
But when I started work, my body needed to adjust to a new routine of getting up to an alarm clock rather than my body’s own clock.
That meant that the dishwasher sat all day, full of clean dishes. And when I got home from a long day, I had the day’s dishes waiting for me. (I’ll put aside the obvious – that my family should have taken up the slack.)
Anyway, here are some of the things that I did to help my life make sense again:
I resigned myself to the reality of needing to get up earlier, and therefore go to bed earlier. Hard for me – a night owl – but I did. Giving myself the time I needed in the morning was a huge relief.
I got a small calendar for my purse to keep track of my schedule and also recorded it on the wall calendar in the kitchen so the family would know when I worked.
I bought myself enough comfortable work clothes to get me through the week without doing laundry. Comfort is the key word here. As ADDers, sometimes our clothes can annoy us. We can be ultra sensitive to tags, seams, and just the fit in general. Even if it’s something we’ve worn before. So it’s important that we have choices when it comes to wardrobe.
I simplified my hair and make-up routine. It took a while – as I get older I find I struggle more and more with how to apply make-up so that I look good, not garish. And those pesky grays hidden by Miss Clairol can be hard to tame too. A good haircut was worth the investment.
I relaxed about dinner. I love to cook and try new things, but trying to put my usual dinner on the table was stressful rather than enjoyable. Now I save those meals for days off or the weekends. If I can get someone else to throw some chicken on the grill while I make a salad, then to me, dinner’s done.
And of course, the old tried and true routine of getting clothes and lunch ready the night before always helps.
What routines do you use to keep you on track?