As ADD women, we are familiar with stress. I think most women are, but when you add in ADHD, it seems to multiply it’s effect. Add some anxiety and overwhelm in there for good measure – thank you ADHD – and it’s easy to see why we are feeling so tense.
Now before I get to my 5 ways of easing stress, I want to make sure to point out that we do not have to accept stress into our lives – not all of it anyway. And we can find good, healthy ways of managing it.
Here’s an example: my 91 year old dad moved in with us a little over a year ago. He didn’t choose to and he wasn’t happy. In general, he’s not a happy person and being an only child means it all gets directed at me.
I have been stressed since July 6, 2013 people.
Part of the stress is due to the fact that he still thinks he’s in charge – in my house.
And for almost a year – yes you read that right – I kept my mouth shut. Except for my dear, blessed, sainted friends and immediate family who had to listen to me complain.
I finally grew up about a month ago and we had a chat. I was polite and respectful but also firm: my house, my rules. I’m in charge.
And that made a huge difference.
I am still stressed having him here and he still doesn’t like it. But I managed to lower my stress level by taking control.
And you might have to do that in some areas of your life too. If so, please do it ASAP. Don’t be like me.
OK. Here are your 5 stress reducers – all natural and good for you – in no particular order.
1. Sex. GASP! Did I just say that? Yes. Yes I did. We’re all big girls here. Sex is wonderful for getting your mind off of everything else and just being in the moment for a bit. And as my friend Julie Bradshaw has told me, you don’t need a partner to enjoy it.
2. Herbs and herbal teas. There are a lot of herbal tea blends out there that can help you to relax. Try a few until you find one that works for you. You can also steep fresh or dried herbs in hot water to make your own. My favorite for this is lemon balm. It’s easy to grow – use a container or your whole lawn will no longer be grass. Herbal formulas to try include Passion Fruit or valerian root – together or separately; take them when you know you will be home so you can see how they affect you. They are excellent for sleep.
3. Exercise. Now I’m not asking you to pack up and head for the gym unless you want to. A simple walk around your neighborhood or some yoga will work just as well. This isn’t about weight loss, building muscle, or even sweating. It’s about mental health.
4. Spend some time outdoors. I have an unproven theory that people with ADHD function better when they have an opportunity to spend some time outdoors each and every day. I know I feel better. And when the weather’s nice, you just can’t keep me inside. Do some gardening if you enjoy that or just sit someplace quiet with a cool drink.
5. Get distracted. We’re all really good at that, right? Find something to lose yourself in for an hour or so. A good book, a silly movie, a phone call with a friend. What do you enjoy doing? Maybe baking soothes your soul, or being creative, or maybe just a good soak in the tub. I have a good friend who finds it soothing to dead head flowers. OK. To each her own. Just remember to limit your time so that it’s a special treat and not running away from home forever.
I could go on and on with this list.
Chocolate, wine, mac & cheese, every episode of Friends ever filmed, the Lifetime TV network, Oprah, naps, and on and on.
Those things are good in moderation. You don’t necessarily want to make a habit of turning to them for comfort when things get crazy.
Oh and I have more! Good things like massages, a mani pedi, lunch with someone fun, a long drive if you enjoy that, pets, children, a perfect peach, time spent in spiritual practice – I could go on and on.
The point is to look for things that make you feel good and put more of them into your life, especially when you need them.
What is your favorite way to de-stress?