What does it mean to “need to recharge” and how does one go about successfully recharging? You could even go a step further and ask yourself, “What will it cost me if I don’t take the time to recharge?”
I like to think of recharging as adding more fuel back into the fuel tank. To “fuel-up” in order to sustain action and meet the demands of daily life.
Just like a car, we all have a certain reservoir of fuel. It is this fuel, that enables us to access those parts of the brain (the executive functions) that allow us to think critically (survey the information coming in) -> control our emotions based on the thoughts and ideas generated -> and take appropriate and intentional actions.
When our fuel reservoir becomes depleted, it becomes more difficult for us to act or respond from intention. With a lower fuel level we have a tendency to be more at the mercy of our thoughts and emotions.
We often take actions, or react in a way that we later regret. When ADHD is added to the equation, the fuel reservoir can become depleted more quickly, causing an individual to feel any number of things; tired, unengaged, drained, overwhelmed, disconnected, anxious, and irritable, just to name a few.
This depletion tends to send an individual into what we call a “fight or flight” mode.
Recharging With ADHD
What causes an ADHDer’s fuel reservoir to become depleted more quickly?
There are a number of contributing factors. Sensitivities to a variety of things and the constant bombardment of stimuli compromise one’s fuel reserve.
Many ADHDers have increased sensitivities that contribute to the draining of the fuel tank. Sensitivities to light, noise, and visual overload in the environment are some of the more common sensitivities.
ADHDers also have increased sensitivities to perceived criticism or failure. The emotional responses an ADHDer has to the perceived criticism or failure will drain the fuel tank quickly.
Additionally, Russell Barkley, PhD., a researcher and educator dedicated to the field of ADHD, (http://www.russellbarkley.org/) says that when we use our executive functions (which are responsible for planning, organizing, making decisions, focus of attention, emotional regulation, etc.) too quickly, too much and too often, our fuel tank becomes depleted.
How To Recharge
So what can you do about a depleted fuel tank? RECHARGE it!
However, before you can recharge your fuel reserve you need to be able to tell when your fuel level is getting low. Here are steps you can take to recharge yourself.
- NOTICE: How can you tell if your fuel tank is getting low? Do you notice a change in your body that signals a lower fuel level? Do you notice certain thoughts or emotions associated with times you are running on fumes? Keeping track of these signals is an important first step in RECHARGING.
- IDENTIFY: What is causing you to burn through your fuel supply? Is it a certain activity? A person that is creating a toxic relationship? An uninteresting or overstimulating environment? A specific time of day? Or is there something else?
- ACTION: What can you do when you notice your fuel levels getting low? Many of my clients turn to nature as a way to recharge. Whether it be going outside for fresh air and sunshine or looking at a tranquil picture on your phone, nature can be calming.
Other activities that my clients have found useful:
- Mindfulness practices
- Taking some deep breaths
- Pictures of family
- Eating a balanced meal
- Participating in an interesting and enjoyable activity
- Playing an instrument or listening to music
- Getting together with people who lift you up
- Helping others
What will you do differently after reading this article? How do you recharge? Leave me a comment below and share your intentions and strategies for others to see. We are stronger together!