You may not think you’re tired. You may actually feel full of adrenaline as you’re running from thing to thing all day – every day. You’re checking things off the list. You’re owning the day and feeling super effective! And then, while getting your teeth cleaned, you fall asleep. Like REALLY ASLEEP. You’re actually snoring and drooling in public! This is not a hypothetical – it’s my very embarrassing and very true story. I’d had no idea how deprived of real rest I was and this was my wake up call.
Parents are busy, but parents of ADHD+ers work overtime all the time. Even when we have “down time” our minds are constantly working trying to piece things together, run interference and plan ahead. There’s always a running list in our minds to attend to. So, how restful is our rest REALLY? When was the last time we considered whether it was enough? Is our gauge the fact that we’re still able to keep doing all the things and haven’t collapsed? That was my gauge until I noticed that every time I sat someplace quiet – a waiting room, a brow wax, car line for school pick up – I WAS FALLING ASLEEP.
Once I got this wake up call I really started thinking about things. It was glaring that I was coming up short on rest, which led to quickly noticing that my temper and patience were typically running short too. Here I was thinking I was getting all the things done, but the reality was: I wasn’t doing them as well as I could and I wasn’t treating myself as well as I should. I knew things had to change.
First, I resolved to build in adequate sleep time to my day. People vary in what they need, but I gave myself fifteen – thirty minutes to wind down then eight hours of solid bed time. THIS WAS HARD! It’s so tempting to use those quiet hours after everyone is put to bed to start doing all the chores staring you in the face! It’s hard to resist that 9 pm second wind for a laundry marathon! But those consistent late nights build routine and a definite rest deficit that is easy to become accustomed to.
Second, I starting taking two breaks in the day for myself. This is also VERY HARD! It’s not scroll through social media or email mindLESS time – it’s actually mindFUL rest. Sometimes I’ll walk the dog and enjoy fresh air and other times I’ll just sit in a quiet room. It was jarring for me at first. All I could do is think of things to be done. That’s when I realized I’d forgotten HOW to rest. Rest is NOT just sleep! Think back to all those routines we did like reading times and quiet play back in the day with our littles to avoid tantrums and meltdowns. How could I so easily forget!?? We all need this! The more I took the time for these breaks the more refreshed I actually felt for the rest of my day. I also tend to feel less stressed and more patience overall when I take time in the day to unplug.
Resting appropriately can feel like a luxury you can’t afford because there’s too much to do. It can also feel unnecessary if you haven’t fallen asleep in public – YET. But when is the last time you really thought about your rest routine and considered what you REALLY need? Maybe never since having a family? Well, it’s a new year which is a great time to think about doing some new things for YOU.
We’d love to hear how you might be embracing better rest for yourself this year. Please share your ideas or what’s been working for you. We can’t wait to hear from you. We’re cheering you on!