Learning to relax with ADHD (Hint: A bubble bath might not work)

image Learning to relax when you have ADHD often means moving away from what most people consider relaxing.

Take a nap? No chance, my mind is racing. Watch a movie? But I have cleaning to do and people to call. Get a manicure? I’d rather climb that telephone pole.

image It can be very difficult for individuals with ADHD to find out what relaxation strategies work for them. They may be very closely connected of body and mind, but due to inner/outer restlessness, they have difficulty quieting their mind, even when their body is at rest.

It may be hard to believe, but if you have ADHD you may be someone who truly relaxes by running, jumping, biking or climbing. You may also find your most creative ideas come while moving.

Movement can be a wonderful way to relax your mind and allow the conductor of your brain to take charge. You may be reading this and thinking, “I already know that. I already know that exercise relaxes me, helps with my productivity and is one of the best ways for me to be creative.” If so, you’re on your way!

But, I would encourage you to learn more. Listen to your body, find your threshold and learn exactly what your body needs to be in simultaneous calmness of body and mind. It may be that what you think takes an hour might take only 20 minutes or that certain types of movement have a longer or shorter effect. You may find out many things about yourself you never took the time to notice.

So this summer, take a time out, honour yourself, and do some research.

  1. imageTry different types of movement: dance (you don’t need to be a dancer), stretch outside under a tree (not in your home where you have responsibilities), walk (try with music and without), cycle (short trips and long), swim (the weightlessness of water can be spiritually engaging too). Move any way you can think of.
  2. Be joyful in your exercise. Celebrate your body from finger tips to toes. Notice your body data, your breathing, your muscles, your jiggles.
  3. Track your experience. Bring a journal with you. Use an audio-recorder. Find out how many minutes you require to feel more calm. Is it 10 minutes, is it 20, is it 40? How long does this state of relaxation last for you? What factors does it depend on?
  4. Look through your tracked experiences and trust your words. The more you find out about yourself, the more you have power over your focus.

Finding ways to relax yourself in order to improve productivity, creativity, and perhaps most importantly to find clarity of emotion, will be one of the most empowering experiences you have in taking charge of your ADHD.

And next time someone says to you, “Try drawing a bath!”, you can quietly respond, “Actually, I think I’ll go for a ten minute jumping session on the trampoline instead”.

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