Stress Relievers for Parents of a Child with ADHD

May 24, 2011

Stress, a normal physical response to disturbing life events, can be good in small doses. Stress can help motivate you to improve your performance and push you to complete things.  However, in larger doses, and over a period of time, stress can play havoc on a person. If you are parenting a child with ADHD, you are almost certainly under stress to some extent.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the constant dealing with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, it is time to look at some things to relieve the stress in your life.  Here are some ideas to help you proactively deal with the stress of AHDH symptoms in your child.

Luxuriating in a bath: This time-honored stress reliever can take you out of your day-to-day routine of dealing with a child with ADHD and help relax your muscles—and your mind. Pick a time when you can spend an hour or so; light a scented candle; and pop your favorite music CD into the player. If you have a comfortable bath pillow to recline on, even better.  Next time you are shopping, pick up some bath oil or bath salts in anticipation of your short “vacation.” Scents can help you relax, too.

A brisk walk: Moving your muscles—especially in the open air—can help alleviate stress. If you have an MP3 or CD player, load it up with some favorite popular music—Motown or David Bowie or Sarah Vaughan—whatever makes YOU feel good. Twenty minutes of exercise can make a world of difference and refresh you to face the next issue with your child with ADHD.

A planned weekend or a night away from home: It’s great if you and your spouse can plan a weekend away, but if that doesn’t work, even an overnight break can be restorative.  While a spa environment is wonderful, it’s not what you do as much as that you are away from the stress triggers in the house.

A shopping spree: For some people, shopping for a little something special or a gift for a favorite friend can help redirect your focus. This helps lift your mood and dissipates stress.

Break your routine: Do something entirely different—try a new menu; take the dog with you on your walk; call a friend you haven’t seen in a long time; play a computer game. Again, it’s not so much what you do as that you do something to shake things up a little and help distract you from thinking about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Get a massage: Now, who doesn’t like a relaxing massage? A deep muscle massage can promote relaxation and help tension disappear. An occasional massage can be like a mini-vacation, and if you can afford to have a massage regularly, you may find your neck and back aches becoming less of a problem.

Get organized: Spend some time cleaning out your purse or a drawer where things tend to collect. Get a calendar or personal organizer—and use it! You will be surprised at how good you will feel when you’ve accomplished a small organizational task or a larger one, such as starting to use a system for keeping track of appointments.

While it is easy to claim you don’t have time to relax, if schedule these relaxing moments regularly, you and your child with ADHD will benefit.

Mom’s Take

It just snuck up on me. Since my daughter’s ADHD diagnosis, I have been so involved in talking to doctors, getting her medication right, setting up charts at home, communicating with the school—that I didn’t even connect the headaches I was having and my short temper with what was going on with my daughter. Once I realized that much of what I was dealing with was stress, I had to admit that a little time out for Mom was in order. It wasn’t easy, even to find half an hour, but once I saw how much I got out of it, I put it on the weekly schedule. I make sure that at least once a week –twice is even better—I take a walk, see a friend, soak in the bath, or get away. This helps me have more patience with my daughter and with the others in the family.