Put Your Oxygen Mask on First: ADHD Self-Care

For more than a yr, I felt significantly “off” – a emotion brought on, no doubt, by the pandemic. My brain fog was making anything feel squishy. Unfinished projects were being piling up. I was forgetting matters. Dropping points. Losing my temper. I had started out getting very long naps. I could not be current, mentally or emotionally, unless a thing was on hearth.

As a guardian with ADHD raising two youngsters, 1 of whom is autistic, I essential to get a deal with on issues. What could I do to bounce back?

The respond to was in a important rule I had forgotten: Set on your personal oxygen mask initially!

So, at 42, I established my very own oxygen mask — a doc I simply call my Individualized Excellence System (IEP).

Why My IEP Is My Oxygen Mask

As a teacher, I’m utilised to reviewing scholar Individualized Training Plans – files designed by instructors, moms and dads, and assist personnel to support a college student with discovering wants accomplish good results in university. College students with unique requirements frequently have to have accommodations and other supports to reach their particular finest.

[Read: Not Neurotypical – a Survival Kit for ADHD Moms]

Borrowing inspiration from IEPs, I desired to draft my individual plan for results to help me harness the finest of my brain and deal with my ADHD – something I experienced not devoted much time to.

When I bought my ADHD analysis at age 26, I was relieved. It was an rationalization for the struggles I expert through my life. But I didn’t imagine I desired a system transferring ahead.

I was constantly a significant achiever and managed an unusually high degree of “busyness.” I simply recognized that waffling amongst fog and concentration was my norm. I even declined the ADHD meds the doctor had recommended.

Within just 5 decades of my analysis, I was married. Inside of five decades of relationship, we had two smaller little ones. Life saved modifying and I held handling and shifting things all-around. But was I generating ahead progress? It didn’t truly feel that way.

[Read: My ADHD Diagnosis Connected the Dots in My Life]

Crafting My Individualized Excellence Program

I asked myself 6 issues as I crafted my prepare to thrive with ADHD:

1. What are my plans?

Like most dad and mom, I want to fulfill all of my responsibilities — and additional. I want to be mentally and emotionally existing to support my youngsters prosper.

2. What are my strengths?

I’m creative and resourceful. I’m comfy conference and speaking to new people. I study speedily, especially when there is an urgent have to have or if the subject relates to my passions and values.

3. Wherever do I battle?

Executing ideas is challenging for me. I have time blindness and lousy performing memory. Occasionally, my hyperfocus kicks in and I can catch up on tasks at the eleventh hour.

But my sample is to “mask” – I really don’t admit or even know when I’m drowning. I really do not know I’m in bad shape, and I begin to miss points.

4. What variety of instruction do I need to have?

I need to have good deadlines and responsibilities with a distinct commencing, center, and finish.

And when created guidance are handy, my brain chemicals need to have assistance. I need to have to listen to matters out loud to realize and recall. I study very best for the duration of reside instruction and in-individual meetings, when I can chat with other folks.

5. What form of atmosphere do I want?

Yet again, I function greatest when I’m all-around men and women in structured blocks of time. My strategies develop into finish by dialogue with others. If I’m on my personal for far too extended, I battle to get matters finished.

I need visible anchors like symptoms and labels. Also, possessing a described location for every thing can help lower the frequency at which I forget about or drop matters.

6. What type of assessments do I want to track development?

For get the job done assignments, scheduled abide by ups to discuss the activity and facial area-to-confront feedback helps me. At household, it is useful to consistently assess our family members ambitions and progress. I often need assistance to established this up, while, and to make sure these look at-ins come about.

From Surviving to Flourishing

For so extended, I didn’t comprehend that I needed support. But following outlining my own IEP, I ultimately come to feel like I can breathe. It’s a blessing to have observed this kind of clarity.

I’ve found progress currently in the past few months: far more tasks completed fewer appointments overlooked much less goods dropped socks cleanse and matching.

Though it is not an formal document, my program was made with the aid of my family members, near friends, and coworkers. It’s meant to gain them as effectively, and I’m growing extra trustworthy and current for them.

My IEP is not a no cost go to get out of responsibility – it’s the reverse. My IEP indicators my determination to understand my possess neurodivergence.

Attempt on Your Very own Oxygen Mask!

You do not will need to be neurodivergent to advantage from your personal individualized prepare. Commence with the queries I outlined earlier mentioned to commence to comprehend how you ideal operate.

Set Your Oxygen Mask on Initial: Upcoming Steps for ADHD Moms and dads


Myra is a wife, mother, and trainer from Toronto who loves to write about #theBIGInSmallThings. When she’s not seeking to obtain her keys or wallet, Myra enjoys consuming bubble tea and skateboarding with her loved ones.

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