Hi, I’m Emma! I’m a part time blogger, full time kindle girl. I’m an aspiring graphic designer and have lived with an ADHD diagnosis for 15 years. I have a cat named Barbie and a desire to help the world, one blog post at a time.
January honestly feels like the longest month of the year, right? Or is that just me?
I guess it’s because it comes at the tail end of the holiday season. A time where we are rushing, rushing, rushing through the whirlwind of excitement the festivities brings. All the people, all the noises, all the lights. Everything is happening, the Christmas movies are playing and Hallmark Girl is baking, the fireworks are popping, the countdown has passed. Then we are thrust into a new year where everything slows down.
The first week of January is usually dedicated to setting resolutions and kick-starting annual goals. This year, I decided to prioritize my health. That entailed scheduling medical check-ups and incorporating new habits into my daily routine. However, the initial weeks of the year can often feel sluggish. Creating new routines and sticking to them can be a bit tough sometimes. And with all these changes happening gradually, I sometimes forget to take time for myself and stay connected with my friends.
After the festive season concludes and friends and family return to their homes, the quietness of my apartment becomes more pronounced. I’m fumbling around on my yoga mat in the morning and recharging on my couch with a book in the evenings. As the snow falls and the cold weather persists, seasonal depression becomes prevalent. I find myself grappling with feelings of loneliness and self-criticism. Why am I struggling to keep up with simple tasks? Am I falling behind in my career? Did my friends forget about me? Am I doing anything right? These thoughts accumulate, making it easier to succumb to the downward spiral of depressive episodes. The combination of cold weather, reduced sunlight, and self-doubt creates an atmosphere of fatigue and despair.
So, I work on self compassion.
Self-compassion is the practice of treating yourself with the same kindness, understanding, and care that you would show to a close friend who is going through a tough time. It's about acknowledging that you are human and imperfect, and that's okay. Self-compassion means accepting and forgiving yourself for your mistakes, rather than beating yourself up over them. It also involves taking care of yourself physically and emotionally, and prioritizing your well-being. When you practice self-compassion, you cultivate a more positive and supportive inner voice that can help you cope with challenges and overcome obstacles. Instead of being harsh or critical towards yourself, you can learn to offer yourself compassion, encouragement, and understanding. This can lead to greater resilience, motivation, and overall mental and emotional well-being.
One of the hardest parts of living with ADHD as an adult is keeping a positive image of ourselves. We often focus too much on our mistakes, faults, and feeling like we're not good enough. This negative way of seeing ourselves can make us think we're more flawed than we really are and downplay our good qualities. This self-criticism can seriously affect our mental health, making us feel inadequate, depressed, and even alone. It's important to realize this tendency to be hard on ourselves and learn how to change our thinking to be more kind and accepting of who we are. Here’s a few things I do to keep myself afloat.
When I find myself falling into that familiar downward spiral of thoughts I create some space by pausing myself (literally, I tell myself “pause” out loud.) I usually carry around my emotional support water bottle and, well, drink it quickly. This tricks my brain into understanding that I am not in any danger, I am safe and I am drinking water. Plus it disrupts the anxiety and creates enough room for my own voice to begin reminding myself of the good. Once I am grounded I try to counter the negative thoughts with things that have gone right recently. I am learning new things as a writer, and my team is supportive. It’s okay for me to forget my yoga poses because I am still learning. I am grateful for my health, and the forethought I am putting into continuing to take care of me. Once a day, I will open LifeAt and write down the things that went right that day and the things I am grateful for. That way I am able to look back on my progress and see how far I have come.
In being kind to myself I take time to be kind to others as well. When I am feeling cooped up and alone I will head to a cafe and work from there. I will make a goal of complimenting at least 3 people around me each day. I practice active listening to share space with someone who may really need a support buddy or offer my presence to anyone who wants to cowork with me. I work on my communication in my therapy sessions and keep myself writing to maintain my pulse on how my mood is doing. And honestly - kindness comes in so many different forms. Sometimes being kind to myself is also just going to grab a cupcake from the bakery I love.
Reach out and Connect:
As an offshoot of the kindness aspect of this - I reach out to my local communities to connect and climb out of my isolation. I found a small journaling meet up and I am learning how to cross stitch at my local library with a group. I make the effort to call my friends to ask if they’d like to go to brunch with me and catch up. Sometimes we all get so caught up in our bubbles that we get nervous about checking in - I try to be the bridge between. I ask how a friend’s day has been, and really listen to them. I bring a cookie from that bakery I mentioned before to my friend who has been having a hard time remembering herself in the midst of a breakup. I volunteer at the nursing homes near me to say hi and help them connect their iPads to the wifi networks or listen to them talk about their memories.
Being kind to yourself often includes being kind to those around you. Loving yourself can include loving your friends and neighbors by listening and remembering them. Kindness is giving yourself permission to make mistakes.
I’m not afraid to see myself trying - and sometimes, that’s all you need to do. Try.