How To Take Care of Yourself in Stressful Situations

Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) can get very easily overwhelmed, frustrated, and stressed out during the times when a lot is required of us. And when we’re in that state, we tend to skimp on self-care. We think that we should go, go, go and do, do, do—without taking care of ourselves first.

Last year we moved to a very small town. The nearest grocery store is 15 minutes away. My bank is 20 minutes away. And the farm where I like to get organic meat is in the opposite direction, in the middle of nowhere, about 45 minutes away.

If I leave my house on only a quarter tank of gas and want to go to all three places, I won’t make it. My car gets fairly good mileage, but I won’t get to where I want to go unless I stop and refuel.

Pretend, for a moment, that you are a car. How much gas is in your tank right now?

In the same way that a car can’t drive without gas, you can’t give to those around you when your tank is empty. And in the same way that a car drives best on a full tank of gas, you have a lot more to give when your tank is full on self-care.

This means that you make sure your needs are being met before you meet everyone else’s needs—that includes your spouse or partner, your boss, your parents, your siblings and yes, even your kids to some degree. Otherwise, you burn out. And then you’re no help to anyone.

If a car can’t drive a couple of hours on a quarter tank of gas, how can you go all day, all week, all month, without filling your tank?

So here’s some fuel for thought…my top 3 tips for practicing excellent self-care when the pressure is on:

1. Wind down every night to de-stress and sleep well.

When the stress picks up, it’s more important than ever to allow recharging time. Sleep is extremely important, and winding down before bed helps ensure restful sleep. Think of yourself as a cell phone. If you don’t get charged, you won’t work the next day!

2. Eat well.

Don’t underestimate the power of food to make or break your mood and energy levels. If you use sugar and caffeine to keep you going, instead of nutritious whole foods, you’re sure to crash. And crash hard!

3. Say “no.”

You’re the only one who knows what you can comfortably handle, and what’s too much pressure, time, energy, or stress. If you push yourself too much (or allow yourself to be pushed too much) then you’ll burn out and be no good to anyone!

These tips apply whether you’re traveling, busy at work, or preparing for the holidays. Remember them!

Copyright (c) 2007 Jennifer Koretsky