ADHD Essentials

Thoughts on Self-Care During COVID-19

March 20, 2020

What's Up Team!?!

There are a lot of different ideas in my head.  Lots of topics to address.  My skill set, professional experience, and educational background make me uniquely qualified to handle some of the problems we’re facing right now in the shadow of COVID-19.  Obviously, I’m not a doctor, but the challenges around maintaining our mental health, homeschooling, working from home and parenting during this time?  Those I can handle.

I think the most important place to start, though, is to remind all of us (me included) that self-care matters. Take the time to care for yourself and your family.  That matters more than school, or work, or cleaning out your closets.

  • Watch an extra episode of your favorite TV show together.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Call a friend. (Or Skype with them!)
  • Eat the cookie.

 

Also, set healthy boundaries around your social media and news consumption.  It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the information available to us.  Especially because we’re at home, with easy access to it, and little pressure to avoid the rabbit holes. 

  • Limit how much time you spend on social media
  • Remember that when you are on there, you’re seeing other people’s highlight reels. Don't compare other people’s highlight reels to your blooper reel.  They have a blooper reel, too.  It’s just not on Facebook.  (And it’s definitely not in Instagram!)

    That post your friend shared about the amazing project their kids did this week?  It didn’t happen.  Not like you think.  Those kids got a ton of help, and mom’s fried because of it.  She’s as burnt out as you are.  You just can’t tell because she keep smiling in all the pictures.

  • Also, remember that the news is for profit. It’s designed to get ratings. And the best way to keep you watching is to elicit strong emotions.  Fear, anger, concern, that sort thing.  Those emotions aren’t helping you.  Turn off the news, and be targeted in your consumption.  Pick a few reliable, well-established news outlets, like NPR, the Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal, or the New York Times, and visit their sites once or twice a day at most to get updates.  Don’t overwhelm yourself with constant monitoring.

 

And speaking of boundaries, set some for you expectations of yourself and your kids, too.  Your kids are just as anxious as you are, if not more so.  That means they’re going to make mistakes, and get frustrated and sad, and angry.  Don’t take it personally, but help them bounce back.  And frame social distancing so they know it’s not a time to be scared.  Social distancing right now is like looking both ways before you cross the street.  We don’t do it because we’re scared, we do it because it’s a strategy to keep us safe. 

As for yourself, set reasonable expectations.  You’re not going to do all the things you think you’re going to do. 

You don’t need to be all things to all people.  You don’t have to be a great spouse, and a great friend, and a great parent, and a great homeschool teacher, and a great housekeeper. Allow yourself to be thoroughly ok at some of them, the important ones, and crappy at the rest.  Support those who need it if you can, but pace yourself to keep some gas in your tank. 

If I’m honest, this is a lesson I’ve had to learn over the last few days.  Because I know ways to navigate this situation, I feel very much like I should be helping everyone else.  And because it feels urgent, I want to help everyone RIGHT NOW!  I want to post a podcast episode every day, and start a YouTube channel to share tips and strategies that I know will help.  But to do that, I would have to ignore my own family.  I just can’t drop the ball on my kids to help everyone else with theirs, and then claim I know how to be a good parent.  I have to prioritize the important over the urgent. 

So, here’s how I’m going to do that.  I’m wrapping this episode here.  But I will post at least twice next week – somewhere in the middle of the week, I will post a COVID-19 tip show for those who want the help.  And on Friday, I will post an interview episode like usual for those that want a break from all this.

If you’re anything like many of the folks I’ve been in contact with, you probably fall into both of those groups.  If there’s anything specific about maintaining our mental health, homeschooling, working from home, or parenting during this time you want me to address, send an email to Brendan@ADHDessentials.com, and I’ll address your concern on the mid-week show.

 That said, this is going to pass.  Things will be okay.  Take care of yourselves, and each other.  And give yourselves and each other the grace to make mistakes, feel uncertain, and be not-quite-good enough.  That’s where ADHD lives, after all.  Our comfort in that space might just help us navigate this uncertain time more effectively than others.

Again, email me at Brendan@ADHDessentials.com if you have any questions you want me to address in the mid-week show.  I’m here to help.   I love you all, I believe in you.  We can handle this.  Together.

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