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“Do you grind your teeth?”
–Monday Morning at the Dentist

“Uh, no? I don’t think so…” I do have a CPAP, and that requires me keeping my mouth closed at night, but maybe then I grind my teeth? Or was it eating ice last summer that I didn’t catch as a sign of anemia and instead explained away as seeking sensory input because I was bored. But, I’ve been stressed over lots of health issues and finances for the last several years. Lots of reasons I could be clenching my jaw…

Whatever the cause, I’ve got more cracked fillings. I’m in the dentist’s office at 8am on Monday. I’m bleary eyed, and hungry (skipped breakfast to make the appointment on time). Leading me back to the theme for now: the sides of ADHD that we hide and the less that ideal coping mechanisms. Not even delving into the darker sides of addiction, and mental health, and other co-morbidities which are incredibly common with ADHD.

The dirty, the unkept, the masking, the things we hide. Or try to hide. For many of us, daily hygiene and maintenance are a complex combination of overwhelm, shame, and boredom, sensory overload or many other factors that make it harder to “maintain” and do what we should. The truth is, your self-worth is not tied to your hygiene, says KC Davis. Care tasks like this are morally neutral: You’re not a good or bad person for doing them or not doing them.

“To make things even harder, it can feel like society places value judgments on your ability to keep up with your hygiene. These practices are very personal, very charged with cultural values, and tied to a lot of messages around self-worth, or that you’re “gross,” “lazy,” or “dirty” for not being able to keep up.”

So, how to get around it? 

Trial and error, and rebuilding seems to be a lot of it! For a while, I was very proud that I was flossing daily. At some point, that fell off. I do it sometimes and definitely more regularly than before building the habit several years ago…but even when I have a habit, I often realize I need to rebuild it. Or tweak it. Something changed and the habit broke. What changed? I’m not sure maybe, I was traveling? Or ran out of floss picks? Would flossing more help with the cracked fillings? Probably not. But it will help keep me from needing more in the future, I assume. 

Some things to consider when something is hard/gets neglected: 

Do you need to do it? Do you need to do it as often? Is it hard? Unpleasant? Boring? How can you make it easier, more pleasant? Can someone else do it for you (delegate, trade, hire?) Is there another way to get the need met?

How to not be discouraged? 

Not always easy, but if you built a habit once, you can do it again. You’ve learned things. You can do them. Make it easier for yourself. And we make most of these more moral than they need to be. Be kind to yourself. You’re worth it. (my brain, please take note….)


Resources

Otter.ai – I’ve discovered otter.ai to help assist me with taking notes during my virtual meetings with clients. Otter.ai uses an artificial intelligence assistant that writes notes, automatically captures slides and generates summaries of meetings. I’ve even been able to highlight key points in real-time. Otter.ai also is able to provide live captions for meetings for those with hearing impairments or auditory processing disorders. 

ynab.com – YNAB (You Need A Budget) is an excellent budgeting tool that can be incredibly beneficial for anyone looking to take control of their finances. With YNAB, users can create a budget based on their income and expenses, track their spending, and set financial goals. The software is easy to use, with a clean and intuitive interface that allows users to see their financial situation at a glance. One of the best things about YNAB is its focus on giving every dollar a job, which means users can allocate their money to different categories and avoid overspending. Additionally, YNAB offers excellent customer support, a wealth of educational resources, and the ability to sync with multiple bank accounts and credit cards. Overall, if you’re looking to improve your financial management skills, reduce debt, and save for the future, YNAB is an excellent choice.

Struggle Care – Struggle care is a self-care podcast by a host that hates the term self-care. KC Davis talks about mental health, care tasks and more. Some of the recent episodes talk about how to find a good therapist, moral perfectionism and low energy self-care. Try it out for yourself today!

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