6 Simple Self-Care Tips for Older ADHD Writers
Self-care is accepting yourself and your limitations.
I’m not the same as before. . . and that’s okay.
There was a time I can write three chapters in one day. The words just kept flowing, driven by an enthusiasm that knew no bounds.
Now, most days, I’m lucky to construct one paragraph in a single day.
Aging can do that. Also: illnesses, both inborn and/or late diagnoses. Even menopause.
I’m not even 60. But having a myriad of sicknesses sometimes makes me feel I’m 80. Some days are fine, most days I’m not. Some days, it’s general malaise. Some days, it’s chronic pain. Some days, I truly feel I’m one foot away from the grave.
Being used to handling multiple tasks since I was a teen, of course I was devastated to find myself as non-productive, procrastinating, and feeling down most of the time.
Add in self-doubt, FOMO (fear of missing out), imposter syndrome, anxiety, and what else, it’s a wonder I’m still standing.
But I don’t give up. Every day, I continue to try being organized, mindful of the time, communicate better, forgive my shortcomings, remind myself of things.
Whiteboards are my friends, when I remember to use them. For some reason, actual writing on whiteboards and paper makes me remember things more, especially when it’s in my line of sight—meaning, in front of me.
Alarms and timers work, too, in helping me focus and meet whatever self-imposed deadline I gave to myself.
Yet, I’ve found that to be able to accomplish anything creative, nothing beats self-care.
I want to share with you 6 simple self-care tips I found to be effective in helping me in whatever activity I am into, even as mundane as household chores:
- Stop, breathe and clear your mind. Self-care is stopping when I feel tired, or overwhelmed, or anxious. I close my eyes, stop thinking about multiple things, and clear my mind. I do mindful breathing. Sometimes I fall asleep, and that’s okay. When I wake up, I feel refreshed and ready to work again.
- Eat more protein. I’m a sucker for carbs. I prefer bread and pastries over any food. But I am slowly trying to ease away from them. I’m eating more protein now which mean eggs, chicken and fish. As much as possible, I avoid pork. Eating more protein also helps me maintain my blood sugar and control my diabetes.
- Get enough sleep. For older people, sleep can be hard to find. But I learned that sleeping does not only mean at night. You can catch sleep any time of the day, especially at times when your body tells you you’re tired and overwhelmed. If you can’t sleep, try listening to nature music, turning off all lights, or just close your eyes and let your mind relax.
- Move your body. Whenever I feel anxious, I stretch or do light exercises that complement my osteoarthritis. Moving your body does not only mean intense fitness training or aerobics. It could also be walking, dancing, swimming, or other activities. It also doesn’t mean exercising straight for one or so hours. You can do exercise bursts, for example, every other hour for 10 minutes or longer. You can also do exercises while sitting.
- Learn to say No. I used to join anthologies and writing contests here and there until I noticed my anxiety was heightened and my writing was affected. I realized it was FOMO, which is absurd. At my age, I don’t really need to compete with anyone except myself. There are also young writers out there who deserve to get the chance to prove themselves. I have learned to accept that I can’t do everything I want all at once. Now, I write in my own time, in my own pace.
- Indulge yourself. A trip to the salon does wonders, believe me. So is massage, or going to the spa, or any pleasurable activity that gives you physical and mental rest, even for an hour or so. For me, it’s also painting artworks. Indulging yourself can improve your mood, which will improve your focus and revitalize your energy.
Writing can be tough for older writers with ADHD. That’s why it’s important to practice self-care.
I hope this article will benefit not only the intended audience, but other people—with ADHD or not, writer or not, older or not—as well.
Because Self-care is for everybody.
Also, self-care is not limited to doing the simple tips I mentioned above.
Most of all, self-care is accepting yourself and your limitations.
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