A 2-Step Process to Help you Relax this Summer

For those without ADHD, the summer months stretching ahead often conjure up images of lying on a beach and soaking in the sun – the ultimate form of relaxation. Ask anyone with ADHD, though, and many will tell you that these very same images invoke quite the opposite reaction. In fact, some might say that lying on a beach can be downright stressful – they don’t enjoy sitting still, and often get bored and restless when doing so.

What many of us don’t realize – those who have ADHD included – is that for these individuals, the word ‘relaxation’ might mean something entirely different. For many people with ADHD, their form of stress-release is anything that gets them moving. So, at the beach, a typical ADHDer might be more at ease playing volleyball, throwing a Frisbee, or swimming.

Unfortunately, because we are seemingly bombarded by images and ideas of what the rest of the world thinks is a relaxing summer, many people with ADHD continue to get caught up in how they ‘should’ relax, and how they ‘should’ be enjoying their time off – and it doesn’t work for them.

So, what can we do about this?

Step one:  Re-frame how you think about relaxation. There really is no standard way for anyone – with ADHD or not – to relax and feel relaxed, so why get caught up in somebody else’s ideas?

To get some insight into what might make you feel good during these hot months, think about the last time you had a really great summer vacation – where you felt totally energized, focused, and generally stress-free. What were you doing with your time? Were you hanging out with your friends at a cottage playing in the water all day long? Did you spend your days biking along the lakeshore? Or maybe you occupied your time by reading a really good book outside under a tree?

Now, think about some of the “relaxing” summer vacations that you’ve tried in the past that left you even more stressed out than when you started. Identify what you spent the majority of your time doing.

Step two:  Now that you have a list of positive relaxation activities and ones to avoid, bring the positive ones back in whatever way you can! Your mental health is extremely important so don’t take relaxation lightly. You’ll thank yourself come September.

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