5/30/13

Traveling with ADD / ADHD: How to Survive Your Next Vacation


As an adult with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), I often to incorporate habits and hobbies into my daily routine that counterbalance my high energy and distractibility. But what happens when a trip forces you out of your usual routine?

Whether for business or pleasure, sometimes you must leave behind the tricks that help you to thrive with ADHD. But that doesn't mean you can't find new ones. With Memorial Day weekend in our wake, let’s focus on what steps to take before, during, and after your next vacation:
Pre-Trip
Before any long weekend or trip, make sure to wear yourself out physically. We all know how brutal travel can be for ADHD'rs, especially if you haven’t burned off that excess energy beforehand. Whether by car, plane, train, bus, or motorcycle, you get that jittery feeling in your muscles and the urge to move. Let's preempt that by adding another step to trip vacation.
Move that body! A pre-trip run is my physical activity of choice. What works best for you? Well, that depends on what sports and hobbies you enjoy. Anything from dancing to swimming, boxing, rollerblading, or even Zumba are great choices. As long as it holds your interest and gets your heart pumping. While I love my yogis, for this purpose choose high-intensity workouts that really get you moving.
On Your Trip
Snacks Want to see a honey badger in no time? Steal an ADHD’rs snacks. Okay. Really don’t do that. Especially if your sibling or spouse has ADHD. I guarantee a growling weasel with slink out of the next room, teeth bared. That’s me at my best.
If you’ve been following along with us, you know the importance of keeping healthful snacks on hand... (See: The Seven Deadly Sins: GluttonyNutrition: Snack on this Delivery Service, & Back to School & Work with ADHD)
My quick and easy tip for travel is to throw a protein bar in your suitcase for each day you’ll be away. That way you’ll never find a rumble in your belly or a tantrum on the rise. Luna Bars, Powerbars, KIND bars, and Balance bars are four snackbars that I enjoy, but there are plenty of others that you can find at your local grocery store. Apples also travel relatively well, and aren’t too heavy to throw into a bag. Rice cakes and peanut butter as equally portable, although a bit messier.
Keep Moving! Whether to the beach, the mountains, a city, a foreign country, or a friend's second home, the wonderful thing about travel is experiencing something new. And we ADHD'rs love novelty. On vacation, new foods, languages, smells, and sights steal our attention at every turn. So why not take advantage of the local activities that keep your body in motion? In the process you'll make new memories, and perhaps even learn a new skill or two.
Check in with the locals or ask the hotel staff if you're staying in such accommodations. If all else fails, keep your eyes open while you're sight-seeing. You're bound to see someone in motion.
Sleep. I'm not a great napper, but sometimes I give it a shot. My biggest problem is that once I'm awake, my mind is buzzing with the day ahead. I'm simply so excited for it to begin. 
This flip-side of this is that I have a tendency to short-circuit. So, sleep I must. Try to get to bed early while you're on vacation so that you don't burn out. Sleep is ever so important for us ADHD'rs who expend a remarkable amount of energy during the day. Yes, you may drag our feet to bed, but I promise you'll get a better trip out of it.
Post-Trip
As with the front end of my trips, once I return home I'm itching to hop on a trail or in the pool. Anything to realign my body and get my muscles moving. My family and friends can usually judge when we’re nearing the end of a vacation. Not by the number of days we have left, but by how my legs jostle, my heels tap, and I'm overall behaving very “ancy." It’s not that I’m bored or having a great time, it’s that my body craves physical activity.
Make sure to burn off that energy once you return home. It’s not always possible to that night. So if you get in late, try to sleep and jump into gear in the morning. I promise it'll make your next day at work or school easier to power through.
What helps you during your trips away from home? Do you have any techniques to share? Send me a note at WriteToJulianna or comment in the box below.

Until the next sunset...




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