Part 2 What does Self-Care look like for Dyslexics and ADHD

We can’t start talking about self-care and not explain what it is.

What is self-care?

“the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.” Oxford Languages

“Self-care is the practice of taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional health. It is about making choices that support your well-being and help you to live a healthy and fulfilling life.” AI answer

The first conversation I have with potential coaching clients is about self-care. Most of the time they don’t realize it because it typically sounds like this. “What do you worry about most?  What keeps you up at night or wakes you really early in the morning?”

Poor sleep is a sign of self-care not being where most people would like it.

I want to ask people this question, “Describe for me your perfect healthy and fulfilling life.” The real truth is that most people can’t easily answer that question. That is why they are feeling like life is a struggle, a slog, and stressful. Then you add on being dyslexic or having ADHD and there are a few more things to consider when it comes to a healthy and fulfilling life. Just like a type 1 diabetic will never be free from having diabetes, they can hope to have an easy way to maintain their blood sugar level, continued research to increase their options for adding insulin to their bodies, and more foods that are not filled with so much sugar.

1. Reducing Stress and Anxiety

What the research shows about being a dyslexic or ADHD thinker is that our brains and bodies can be easily influenced in positive and negative ways. Stress and anxiety are some of the biggest amplifiers of the harder parts of being a dyslexic or ADHD thinker. I am talking about the poor spelling, the poor concentration, the really short memory time, problems with math, and more. The importance of learning how to reduce stress and manage situations in a more flexible and creative way is one of the number one priorities for self-care when you are neurodiverse.

2. Physical Exercise

All of that stress and excess energy in the body needs to leave the body. That is the power of exercise. After all these years of working with clients, I know within minutes of talking with a soon-to-be client if they were an athlete in school or college or not. For all of them, it is what made it possible for them to get through school. It is part of what they are missing in their adult life that we need to make sure gets added back in. For my clients who were never into physical athletics, I highly encourage any kind of daily movement. The sweatier you get the better it seems to be for the brain. Dr. Daniel Amen always talks about the importance of this for people with ADHD. I have found it to be just as important for the dyslexic processor too.

3. Food & Nutrition

I can almost hear you moan from here. You need to have respect for your brain as it is the organ running everything else. Just like cars need gas or electricity, your brain needs food and nutrients. The better the food and nutrients the better your body runs. It is that simple.

I had a client come to a meeting, and the coloring of his face looked off. I asked him if he had eaten today. He had not. He was having a hard time focusing, his answers to my questions were a struggle and he was just down and out. We paused the conversation, and I told him to go eat and have some water and come back. 15 minutes later he was back and the color in his face was nice and warm again and his eyes were brighter and he got so much more out of the meeting. Food, water, and any medication or supplements need to be respected. Your body will reward you when you get it right. Your memory will improve, your concentration will improve, you will miss fewer meetings, and it will cause your anxiety to go down.

Supportive foods really have a wonderful effect on the neurodiverse brain.

4. Fun

Make sure that each week you do a few hours of things that are just enjoyable.

The value of letting your brain relax from saving the world for a little bit is invaluable.

What makes you laugh, what brings you joy, what causes you to forget everything but most of all your worries? The goal is not to fall into the fun and avoid doing the work of life. The goal is to take a small break.

Being a business owner for all these years. I know all the ways to talk yourself out of having fun. “I’m too busy.” “I just have to get this one thing done and then I can have fun.” “I will have fun after my business takes off, right now I have to focus.” When business owners or C-suite clients try to tell me why they can’t have any fun right now. I laugh and remind them of the research that shows that a little fun does more good than always working.
What Makes You Laugh?

Just to be clear, I didn’t figure this all out overnight. I went kicking and screaming on #2, but I figured it out and it was worth it. I wish someone had known how important these things were for my dyslexic brain years ago and I would have done them sooner. The only people talking about this kind of thing were the health nuts and they just wanted to live longer, well when you’re thirty, you think you are going to live forever, so you don’t worry about those things. As more and more research started to come out about the typical brain and the need for these things and they could prove it neurologically, the more I stepped up and started to figure this out for myself. I soon learned that it was even more important for my overall well-being than the typical person.

Now you know. What are you going to do about it for yourself?


Optimal Self-Care of Dyslexic or ADHD Thinkers:

  1. Reduce stress and anxiety
  2. Physical Exercise
  3. Food & Nutrition
  4. Fun

Keep following along with this series as I talk more about the ways we can become more AWARE of dyslexia and ADHD in ourselves or in others.

What You Need to Know About Being Dyslexic As An Adult – The Simple Version
Part 1 Adult Dyslexia & ADHD: How do you become Self-Aware?
Part 3 The Importance of Growth and Self-Improvement
Part 4 Championing for Different Thinkers

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