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My Emotional Journey with ADHD

“I am all that I was, and now I have the potential to be even more.”by Cynthia Hammer, MSW, ACSW – Founder of the non-profit ADD Resources

It Seemed So Easy for Others

Are wondering if you might have ADHD? Will it be immediately clear to you that you have ADHD so you’re able to set about getting diagnosed and treated? Is it the eureka moment that we so often hear about?  Can it be as simple as a parent takes their child in to be diagnosed for ADHD, recognizes it in themselves,  bursts into tears, is diagnosed and treated, and experiences a dramatic improvement in their life?

It Took Me Years

This was not my journey of awareness and acceptance of having ADHD. It took me over a year after learning about ADHD to realize I had this disorder and another year in treatment to develop a positive attitude. For any of you who may be reluctant to start your journey, I assure you that learning to accept and manage your ADHD will bring you more satisfaction and contentment with your life than you have ever experienced.

I Was So Sure It Was the Fault of My Poor Parenting

Although my brother and nephew were diagnosed with ADHD years ago, no bells went off in my head when we started to have problems with two of our children. Russell Barkley, Ph.D, says 40% of children diagnosed with ADHD have a parent with the same disorder while Ted Mandelkorn, MD, says that over 90% of those diagnosed with ADHD have a relative somewhere in the immediate or extended family who also has the condition. I knew there was a familial connection to the condition but thought what our children were exhibiting was plain, old-fashioned misbehavior. If we could only parent better, they would behave better.

And So It Went

Off and on I had read library books about ADHD. Sometimes I would think it described one or another of my sons, but then again, it did not sound quite like them. So it went for several years. Then my husband heard a pediatrician talk on ADHD. He came home convinced it described one son. We took him to be diagnosed and started him in treatment. After a year of attending treatment sessions with my son, along with more reading and attending CHADD meetings, I tentatively told the pediatrician treating my son that I thought I had ADHD as well and he readily agreed!

My Denial Pushed Back Help

The prime reason it took so long to help my children and myself is denial. No one wants to admit there is something the matter. They don’t want to have any impairment. They don’t want to be different from normal people. The condition is called a disorder, such a hopeless sounding label. My relatives with ADHD were having major problems in their lives. I was reluctant to associate my children with the same condition. Wasn’t this consigning them to a bleak future? Wouldn’t it be more hopeful to keep working on better parenting skills than to say they had this disorder? I thought ADHD was a handicapping condition that would be diagnosed and that would be it. I focused on denying the disorder, instead of on how treatment could bring benefit and improvement.

Accepting the Diagnosis for Others But Not for Me

After accepting the diagnosis and treatment for my sons, why did it take so long to see the condition in myself? Denial, along with two other factors, was at work. ADHD is difficult to self-identify because of its complexity and the lack of clarity in the description of the symptoms. One author would stress certain features or describe them in a way that I could relate to. I would say, “Yes, that’s me!” Another author would describe other features and it wouldn’t sound like me! I should have paid more attention to the wording that introduces a list of characteristics, where it says, for example, “will demonstrate 8 of the following 20 characteristics.” I didn’t need to have all the characteristics to have the condition, but the characteristics had to be of a degree and pervasiveness that they caused significant turmoil in my life.

Lack of Self-Awareness Made It So Hard

The other factor that makes self-identification difficult is related to an ADHD characteristic, a  lack of self-awareness. For example, I could feel I had offended a coworker, but I had no insight or understanding of how or why. I was too fearful of what they might say to ask them. ADHDers do not realize how they come across to others. (This is why it is helpful to have outside evaluations of your behaviors from people closely associated with you.) In many ways, people with ADHD delude themselves that they are doing just fine; it’s the others that they work with or associate with who have the problems. ADHDers always have good reasons to justify why they did something the way they did, and they do not understand why others might have a problem with that.

My Son Helped

My lack of self-awareness made me unable to examine my own actions and say to myself, “This is typical ADHD behavior.” However, I was able to look at my son’s troublesome behaviors and recognize that I did similar things. What he did (or did not do) that annoyed me were things that I did! As I analyzed my son’s annoying behaviors, I began to have some understanding of how I annoyed and frustrated others.

My Supervisor Helped

Another factor in my developing awareness was my supervisor. Her grandson recently had been diagnosed with ADHD, and she had read about the condition. She knew my two children had been diagnosed, and we sometimes would share information. During my annual evaluation, she brought up some points about my work that could use improvement, e.g., my inability to be a team player; my penchant for getting excited about a new project, but dropping it when only partly finished, blithely expecting someone to finish it because I had moved on to other things; and my not prioritizing my work so that the most important things got done. She said I was a mixed bag and that made it hard to evaluate me. I did some things very, very well and other things inadequately. I recognized these behavior patterns as common to ADHD. When I mentioned that I thought I might have ADHD (again my tentativeness), she said she thought so too.

Treatment Brought Me Relief

After getting diagnosed by a knowledgeable physician, I entered treatment, and like the condition itself, my emotions became very complicated. Of course, I felt relief, mentally saying over and over again, “So that explains it!” After starting on medicine, I immediately noticed improvements in my functioning and relationships. The education and counseling I received helped me learn which behaviors were related to ADHD, and I instituted techniques for managing or minimizing their disruptive influence. So it surprised me, when almost a year after being diagnosed, I blurted out, “I’ve been in a grieving process.” I hadn’t been aware of feeling this way until the words came out of my mouth.

Yet, I Grieved for the Loss of My Individuality

Why is there grief! I have two explanations. To accept the diagnosis and treatment, I had a loss in my self-image. Prior to knowing I had ADHD, I knew I was an individual. I did some things, maybe many things, differently than others, but I had a pride in most of my characteristics and abilities. Now I was learning that those characteristics that made me special are a disorder. Even though I had not seen the connection, my special characteristics had made my life more difficult than it is for normal people.

I Felt Disabled, Ashamed and Embarrassed

I felt like a disabled person. As I became more aware of how I came across to others, I felt shame and embarrassment. There was something the matter with me. Others could see it. Often they were reacting negatively to me because of how I acted. Even though part of me could see that my relationships were improving because of treatment, another part of me withdrew from relationships. I felt awkward and self-conscious, feeling that I was less than others.

I Grieved for the Life I’d Lost

The second reason for grief was a realization that my whole life had been less than it could have been. If only someone had only known about my ADHD years ago…. If only I had been diagnosed and treated years earlier…. Much in my life would have been better. These thoughts kept going through my mind. I reflected on the inappropriate actions I had taken, the people I had offended, the mistakes I had made. I felt ADD was accountable for all that had been bad in my life.

I Found Others Who Were Angry Instead

Many ADD adults, in addition to grief, experience anger as they recall their life experiences. They have so many unhappy memories of being demeaned, berated, and made to feel inadequate. Now they wonder why no one knew there was something wrong. They wonder why they weren’t treated with more kindness, patience, understanding, and love. It would have made such a difference!

Now, I Am All That I Was and More

With treatment, both grief and anger subside and resolve. I came to realize that knowing I have ADHD did not make me a new person. I stayed the person I was, my unique, special self. Only now I can better control the kind of person I am, and I am better at perceiving how I come across to others so I can adjust my behavior accordingly. Knowing about my ADHD and getting treatment for it did not make me less, as I initially thought. I am all that I was, and now I have the potential to be even more. In this context, I like to think of the American advertising slogan, New and Improved. While I am not a new model, I am an improved one! Life is a continuing adventure.

*About the Author

0 1 CynthiaHammerEarlyCynthia Hammer, MSW, ACSW, an adult with ADHD and the parent of three sons, two with ADHD. At age 49, she learned that she had ADHD and realized she knew very little about the disorder. Cynthia founded ADD Resources in 1994 and went on to become a nationally recognized advocate for the understanding of ADHD among both those who have it and those who treated it.  Cynthia is now retired and lives in Tacoma with her husband.

 

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ADHD and Sleep Issues from A to Zzzz

 If you have ADHD and you struggle to fall asleep, you’re not crazy, you’re not being bad and most of all, you’re not alone.By Linda Walker

If you have ADHD and you struggle to fall asleep, you’re not crazy, you’re not being bad and most of all, you’re not alone. Several studies have revealed that people with ADHD are more likely to have irregular circadian rhythms. What’s a circadian rhythm? According to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, “circadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in your environment.”

Are You Out of Sync?

Circadian rhythms are the changes that happen in your body that make you sleepy at night (when it gets dark) and make you want to wake up in the morning as it grows light. As many as 70% of adults with ADHD complain they have difficulty falling asleep, wake up tired (or not at all without enormous effort) and feel out-of-sync with the rest of the world.

If you work independently and don’t need to follow the same schedule as the rest of the population (perhaps you live on a desert island?!), this may not be a problem. (Sounds pretty lonely though!) However, if you must interact with family, friends, peers, customers or anyone else who’s not on the same schedule as you while they’re awake, this can cause problems.

It’s Not Just “Beauty Sleep”

Falling asleep at 1 or 2 AM may not be a problem if you’re a freelancer who answers to no one in real time and you can wake up at 9:30 or 10 AM, but if you have a day job or if customers expect you to answer the phone between 9 AM and 5 PM, you’ll have to cut your sleep short to make it to the office on time. The resulting lack of sleep will affect your ability to focus, your capacity to deal with and manage stress and the functioning of your working memory.

If you’re “tired” of struggling (wink! wink!) luckily, studies show that you can adjust your circadian cycles with a few relatively simple techniques. As someone who has struggled all my life with insomnia, I have tried many of these strategies myself. Here are a few that have the biggest impact.

Humans are like plants; our internal clock is usually set with daylight. When daylight hits your eyes, your brain signals your body to increase your body temperature and starts secreting hormones, like cortisol, to modify the electrical activity in the brain. In the evening, when the light begins to dim, this triggers the production of the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin. In ADHDers, however, melatonin production is often delayed.

  1. Manage Your Light

If you struggle to fall asleep, start dimming the lights at home as early as right after supper. Stay away from blue-light-emitting sources, like computer screens at least 3 to 4 hours before you need to fall asleep.

  1. Exercise

Many of my clients with ADHD report dramatically better sleep quality with earlier sleep onset when they engage in cardiovascular exercise (not at bedtime, but during the day!). Cardiovascular exercise is any activity that makes your heart beat faster for at least 20 minutes, such as jogging, taking a brisk walk, moderate biking, aerobics, cross-country skiing, hockey, basketball, skating, etc. Pick one or more sports you enjoy and do at least 20 minutes each day. You’ll find your sleep will come more easily.

  1. Top Up on Melatonin

Studies have shown that supplementing melatonin with light management can advance sleep onset. You can find melatonin supplements at some pharmacies and certainly at health food stores. They work even better when you use them in combination with light management.

  1. Zone into Sleep with Sound Waves

Research shows that the brain is frequency-following, that is, you can train it to fall into a certain brainwave pattern by listening to sounds in that frequency. Our brain regulates our state of wakefulness by changing the amplitude and frequency of brain waves. To fall asleep, we produce Delta waves in lengths of 0.5 to 4 Hz. Some sounds induce our brain to fall into Delta waves. I use the sounds of the ocean and find that it really works for me. My youngest daughter, Kyrie, and ADHDer, had problems falling asleep until we started playing ocean sounds, along with improving her sleep hygiene, at bedtime.

  1. Change Your Mind

Many ADHDers find their thoughts churn at bedtime, which keeps them from falling asleep. By thinking about what happened today or what will happen tomorrow, you’re activating certain hormones that keep you awake. Changing what’s going on in your mind might be as simple as reading stories – not work-related stuff – before bed. If you struggle to put a novel down, read short stories like the ones you’d find in Readers’ Digest.

  1. Do a Mind Dump

If you’re still plagued by concerns over what you have to do, dump all those thoughts in a notebook that you place next to your bed. “Dumping” will help you avoid staying awake because you’re afraid you’ll forget.

ADHDers need to be vigilant about taking care to engage in good sleep hygiene. Lack of sleep DOES NOT CAUSE ADHD; however, lack of sleep can make your symptoms worse, so taking care of your brain and its creative genius by sleeping enough can help reduce your struggles. Everyone, whether or not they have ADHD, needs 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night; less sleep than that and you’re not able to tap into your brain’s potential.

If you find that one of these strategies has helped you, or if you have your own approach that works wonders, please share it in the Comments section below.

And have a lifetime of great night’s sleep!

 

 

Linda WalkerBy Linda Walker, PCC, B. Admin. Linda is a certified ADHD Coach who helps adults with ADHD overcome the special challenges of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) they encounter at home and in the workplace. She is the creator of The Maximum Productivity Makeover for Creative Geniuses, a training program for adults with ADHD and the author of With Time to Spare. Coach Linda Walker

 

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I want to change my ADD life. What can I do?

ADD is a way of life, a difference in the way you see and move in the world. You can learn to manage the world and use your brain.A series of short articles by Sarah Jane Keyser. Follow the links.

ADD has strengths as well as weaknesses; like heads and tails, you can’t have one without the other.

Attention Deficit Disorder is not an illness (in spite of the name) and there is no “cure”. ADD is a way of life, a difference in the way you see and move in the world.

You can learn to manage the world and use your brain.

There are many ways to train your brain. Usually, a combination of medication, ADHD coaching strategies, and exercise is most effective. Each individual needs to discover what combination works best for him or her.

Here are some ways that you can change your life:

Life Styles for ADD – You can do many things for yourself. A good program includes exercise, what to eat, how to breathe, how to get to sleep and how to enjoy.

Maintaining the Brain – If your car runs on two cylinders you take it to the garage. If your brain sputters take it to a doctor for a checkup.

ADD Coaching Strategies – A coach is a partner who guides you to new ways of seeing yourself and the world. An ADD coach who knows how ADD feels and understands the ADD brain can help you value your strengths and structure your life.

Celebrating ADD – Learn to appreciate the passion and sparkle which are the gift of ADD.

 

 

Published by Sarah Jane Keyser, Copyright 2006, all rights reserved. Learn more about ADHD at Coaching Key to ADHD

Permission is granted to forward or post this content in full for use in a not-for-profit format, as long as this copyright notice and full information about the author, Sarah Jane Keyser, is attached intact. If any other use is desired, permission in writing is required.

*** About Sarah Jane *** Sarah Jane Keyser worked for many years with computers as a programmer, analyst, and user trainer, but her struggle with inattentive ADD kept getting in the way of her plans and dreams. Her credentials include ADD Coach training at the ADD Coach Academy, the Newfield Network’s graduate coaching program “Mastery in Coaching” and “Coaching Kids and Teens” by Jodi Sleeper-Triplett MCC. Sarah Jane is an American living in Switzerland who coaches in French and English by telephone.

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Life Styles for ADHD

Keys to living well with ADHD include diet, exercise, breathing, sleep and being positive.

I want to change my ADHD life. What can I do?

Life Styles for ADHD

Maintaining the ADHD Brain

ADHD Coaching Strategies

Celebrating ADHD

 

Diet

The standard meal in Western cultures is loaded with sugar and simple carbohydrates in the form of white bread and pasta, and candy bars and sweet soda for snacks. Such food creates a surge of sugar in the blood which briefly gives a feel of energy, but a flood of insulin follows which removes the sugar from the blood and causes an energy crash leaving you feeling more tired, spacey, confused and inattentive than before. This food also lacks the proteins and vitamins your body needs to build and repair your body.

The ideal program is four or five small meals a day each containing protein and complex carbohydrates to maintain a steady supply of fuel to the brain. Proteins are found in meat, dairy products, nuts and soy products. They provide amino acids, the material to build and repair all the body systems: the immune system, muscles, hormones and especially the neurotransmitters which make the brain function. Complex carbohydrates are found in vegetables, whole grains, and beans. They provide energy but take longer to digest than sugar and simple carbohydrates and, therefore, do not create the insulin surge that leaves you more tired than before. They also contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber which your body needs for optimum health.

A word about fat – In western mythology, fat is a baddy, but, in fact, fats in the form of oils are essential for a healthy brain. By weight, the brain is more than half fat. There are different kinds of oil and all in appropriate quantities are important.

Water is essential. The brain needs a steady supply of oxygen and energy. If the blood flow slows due to dehydration, you will feel sluggish and inattentive. A glass of water will help the blood flow better.

Exercise

In a school for an Apache Indian Tribe, the program includes exercise five periods a day. If it rains they send the children home because learning is impossible without exercise. 95% of the children are hyperactive.

Until recently, experts thought that new brain cells could not be generated, that the brain cells you had at birth had to last your entire life. Research in the last ten years has shown that the brain is much more plastic. It is like a muscle; it grows when you use it. Brain cells are created, grow and link to other cells in response to usage. Exercise promotes brain growth. Use it or lose it.

The brain is a very expensive organ; it uses 50% of our food and more than 50% of the oxygen brought to the brain in the blood. Exercise increases blood flow and encourages the growth of new capillaries to increase blood carrying capacity. Exercise releases nerve growth factors called Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF) known as Miracle-Gro, a fertilizer for the brain. BDNF enables cells to bind to other cells and makes stem cells grow. Pursuing an intellectual or physical activity stimulates the growth of new cells.

Exercise fuels the chemical factory producing neurotransmitters such as endorphins, norepinephrine for arousal and alertness, dopamine for the attention system, and serotonin for mood regulation and stress control. It allows nerve cells to survive and grow. Studies have shown that exercise is as effective as Prozac in combating depression and the results last longer. Exercise also increases a recently discovered neurotransmitter, the neuropeptide of love, called phenylethylamine (PEA).

What kind of exercise suits you?

Intense aerobic exercise is best, 30 to 45 minutes at least five times a week. Once you feel the benefits you won’t want to miss it the other two days. If you aren’t the extreme type, a fast walk, enough to raise your heart rate will do. Dance and Tai Kwon Do or other forms of the martial arts are highly recommended for their total effect on the attention system. They take large amounts of brain power and teach respect for oneself and others and foster resilience. Yoga has also shown good results.

If you already have a well-filled schedule, you can try just running in place or skipping rope for three or four minutes whenever those neurons start playing leap frog under your skin.

Breathing

Yes, breathing. Oxygen is essential for every cell in your body and especially the brain. Breathing brings oxygen in and blows off waste products like carbon dioxide. Slight changes in oxygen level can change the way you feel and behave. Under emotional stress, anger or anxiety, people change the way they breathe. Breathing becomes shallow and rapid, an inefficient pattern which lowers oxygen levels.

Slow, deep breathing from the belly will help you be more focused and less anxious.

Sleep

People with ADHD often have difficulty going to sleep at night and even more difficulty getting up in the morning. Sleep deprivation makes ADD symptoms worse and can interfere with every aspect of life. There are many strategies for getting to sleep. Here are some basic rules. Avoid stimulating activities such as TV or exercise for at least two hours before bedtime. Eat a small snack which includes protein such as a glass of warm milk or cheese and crackers before going to bed. Take a warm quiet bath. Play a tape of music or sounds of nature. Experiment to find which ones work for you.

Enjoy

Perhaps you were brought up to believe that work comes before play and the two do not mix. Well, here’s a new belief: doing things you enjoy and thinking enjoyable thoughts is good medicine for the brain. Try it!

When you think positive, happy thoughts your brain produces serotonin the feel-good neurotransmitter. When you think negative stormy thoughts your brain produces adrenaline, the stress hormone. Doing an activity that you enjoy acts as a stimulus for the brain.

 

Published by Sarah Jane Keyser, Copyright 2006, all rights reserved. Coaching Key to ADD

Permission is granted to forward or post this content in full for use in a not-for-profit format, as long as this copyright notice and full information about the author, Sarah Jane Keyser, is attached intact. If any other use is desired, permission in writing is required.

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16 Steps to Better Self-Esteem with ADHD

For my ADHD tribe! Change your attitude and change your life. By Kari Hogan

The reason for making this list is that ALL (or most) AD(h)D’ers have a low self-esteem issue. I wanted to make this list to help myself as well as others.
Follow my steps to a better, more confident YOU!
After all, I made this list for my tribe!!

Let’s get started!

Your first step is STRUCTURE.
By creating structure, each day, you’re giving yourself a reason to wake up and get out of bed!

The second step echoes the first step. Set up a daily to-do list. This will give you a sense of accomplishment (it gives you a reason to be proud of yourself).

Step 3. FOCUS on your good qualities. Look in the mirror and choose 5 things about yourself that you DO like about you! Write these 5 things down and tape it to the mirror (changing the 5 things each week). By choosing 5 things you do like about yourself, you’re creating hope and mindfulness that goes deep down to create an inner peace. Inner peace leads to a sense of power and in a matter of weeks, a more confident you!

4. Be your own cheerleader! No one else will do it for you. Your only concern should be you. If you have to, tell yourself, “I can do this”, “I am going to do great”, “I AM worthy”.

5. Learn to LIKE yourself. Meditation works wonders!! Sit in a quiet place for 10 minutes and just breathe in and exhale all of that negativity.

6. Get CREATIVE. DIY projects, draw/sketch something, crochet or paint a landscape. Anything that makes you use your mind in a positive, constructive way.

7. Get ACTIVE! This means anything from exercise to walking up your street. You could also try Yoga or Karate. This activates the positive chemicals in your brain- happy vibes! If all else fails, DANCE!

Number 7 would tie in perfect for the eighth step as well, which is,
SEEK SUPPORT. This can be a family member, a close friend, a Facebook support group or any other networking support groups. Enlist someone you trust to get active with you. Killing two birds with one stone is always a plus! By enlisting a close friend or relative, you’re getting the support aspect as well as working those happy brain cells. If you make this a habit and decide, “I’m not up for this today”, that partner will get your butt up and make you do it! Ah, support is great!! That brings me to number

9. All of us could use a little pep in our step and we’re not getting there by loading up on donuts. Try introducing a, once a day, healthy snack. This will promote energy and unlike donuts, won’t bog you down. With time, you can baby step your way to healthier meals. Instead of that scone in the morning, try a banana and yogurt. Protein and potassium make for a great and energizing way to start your day. An apple with peanut butter is a great option as well. Make that apple and peanut butter a snack and you have a totally guilt-free snack and an afternoon burst of energy!

10. GET OUTside or change the scenery. It’s a great way to promote a healthy mentality and a happier you.

11. TAKE CARE OF YOU! The world is an amazing place, but it’s also very stressful at the same time. Take time for yourself. Get a massage, pedicure or do something you love. (We’re nearly there!)

12. TRY SOMETHING NEW! This is a way to get out of your comfort zone. Say you decide to try Yoga, well, some of those stretches are hard to do. Go with me on this. You sign up for a class, get in there and do better than other first timers. That will boost your confidence and make you proud that you were able to try something new and excel! If you don’t do as well, hey, practice makes perfect and you’re working your way up to a brilliant confidence level while achieving a goal. That is definitely something to be proud of. It’s a double plus!

13. LEND A HAND! This is a no-brainer for me. I love helping. It makes my inner self-pleased to do something completely selfless and the reward- a smile on someone’s face. Examples of ways to help out are volunteering, helping an elder struggling to carry groceries etc. Get creative and look around. There’s always someone out there that needs a little assistance.

14. STEP IT UP. Comfort zones are hard to get away from but in order to succeed anywhere in life, you must step it up. Put on a smile (even if you’re not feeling it.) You never know who will see your smile and it impact their day and mood positively or, to go a bit further, your smile could save a life. I’m not kidding – Those people that are lonely, that never get noticed, the ones that keep a frown because no one cares – You notice. STEP IT UP, greet them. You may be preventing them from ending their life.

15. MEDITATE every morning to promote a peaceful mindset and every night before bed to promote a healthy, restful night’s sleep to wake refreshed and ready to begin your day.

16. BABY STEPS. Nothing happens overnight (Rome wasn’t built in a day), contrary to beliefs and otherwise. Start out slow and work your way up. All good things come with time, so be patient.

Finally, REINFORCE STEPS 1-16 each and every day. A healthier mind and body lead to a happier and more confident YOU!

Allow yourself to follow these steps and you will surely improve your esteem!
Just remember, I believe in you!

 

About the author: By Kari Taylor-Hogan of ADDing to the Mayhem: MOMX3 with ADHD – “We put the fun in dysfunctional.” Helping get the word out about self-esteem.   Originally published at https://addingtothemayhemmomx3withadhd.wordpress.com/2015/02/09/16-steps-to-better-self-esteem/

 

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Managing Overwhelm at Work

Connect your work with your deepest goals and values.

Connect your work with your deepest goals and values.

By Kari Miller

If poor concentration, inconsistent follow-through and a feeling of being overwhelmed get in your way, you’ll want to improve your workplace productivity. Make changes that guarantee you complete priority tasks to increase your income and give you more free time for yourself and your family.

 

Do any of these sound familiar to you?

 

  • You easily get sidetracked, jumping from task to task or thought to thought.
  • When you think about a big project it feels overwhelming and you can’t figure out how to get started, so you just put it off.
  • You schedule more things in a day than you can get done and consistently underestimate how long it will take to accomplish things – which means you’re always running behind.
  • You spend time looking for things that seem to be misplaced only to find them right in front of you.
  • Despite feeling constantly “busy,” you never seem to be “productive.”
  • You feel more clear-headed, alert and focused when you drink coffee or soda, or smoke cigarettes.

 

Tips to managing overwhelm at work

 

If you are dealing with these signs of workplace overload, you’ll want to put the following workplace productivity tips into action.

 

Remove the “clutter” from your surroundings 

 

One key to better concentration is to limit the distractions around you.  Start by choosing one important thing you are going to work on NOW.  Make a commitment to do this one task to the best of your ability.  Write the name of the task on a post it note and stick the note up on your computer or desk, right in front of you so you can’t miss it.  Clear all unnecessary things from your desk.  Close unneeded computer programs.  Put the task “in the spotlight” so it grabs your attention!

 

Remove the “clutter” from your mind

 

There’s an old saying, “garbage in, garbage out.” In this case it means that productivity is the result of mental clarity.  There are many things you can do   Evaluate your patterns in the following areas and look for ways to improve your basic health and to sharpen your mental acuity.

 

Exercise

If you are not exercising every day your body is not adequately eliminating toxins, and these toxins are clouding your mind.

 

Diet

If your diet does not contain adequate nutrients, your mind is paying the price in terms of concentration and memory.

 

Water

The brain is 75% water and functions by conducting electrical impulses. Your mind will function more quickly and smoothly if your body is properly hydrated.

 

Sleep

If sleep is a problem for you, it may help to relax your nervous system for at least an hour every night before turning off the light.

 

Here are a few of my favorite ways to calm your body so your mind can rest:

  • take a warm shower or bath
  • use soothing smells such as lavender either as a lotion or potpourri
  • put on soothing music or a favorite DVD, lie down, close your eyes and just listen
  • learn reiki or chakra meditation techniques to take control of your body’s energy system

 

If you are not giving your body the things it needs to run smoothly, your workplace productivity will suffer.  Commit to making changes that will support your body’s ability to do its job smoothly and efficiently or you’ll suffer from “garbage out”!!!

 

Make changes in your physical environment

 

There are several ways you can plan your environment to improve your concentration, follow through and productivity.  Figure out how you work best in terms of the arrangement of furniture, the kind of chair you use, the lighting and the temperature.

 

Include movement as a natural element to your work routine. Great ways to do this include alternating sitting with standing or walking.  Get an extension for your telephone and attach a headset so you can get up and move around while you talk on the phone.  Stand on a balance board while working. This stimulates the attention control center of the brain.

 

Create “flexible workstations.” Set up two locations outfitted for work and alternate between them every hour or so. This will stimulate your mind and improve concentration. One of your stations can be a high table where you stand while working.  You can stand on the balance board at this station, stimulating your nervous system for better attention and concentration.

 

Shine a spotlight on your values and goals

 

The most powerful productivity strategy is to connect your work with your deepest goals and values. Find a way to connect what you are doing now to your most cherished beliefs. Find the deep and profound “why” of every task.

 

For example, if paperwork is boring to you but people really matter to you, find creative ways to remember that you do the paperwork in order to benefit people. This is even stronger if you connect the benefits of doing paperwork to one specific person who you truly care about. Try it, it really helps!

 

It takes some practice to remember to think of the deep connection and value you bring by completing boring tasks, but with practice, you’ll find you are less resistant to boring tasks and take more pride in accomplishing them!

 

Display reminders of your values and goals in your environment. Set out pictures of your loved ones to remind yourself how much your work supports their lives.  Post inspirational pictures and quotes, much like a vision board to keep you on track to achieving what matters most to you! Keep the items that connect you to your goals in plain sight so they motivate and inspire you to concentrate and get more done!

 

 

If workplace overwhelm is not the whole story

 

If your thoughts race from topic to topic and you constantly feel overwhelmed, even in situations other than work, you may be facing more wide-ranging issues that affect other aspects of your life.  If getting things done at work is only one of the struggles you are facing, you may be one of the millions of women living with undiagnosed ADHD.

 

There are more myths and misinformation about ADHD than most other conditions.  ADHD is a biochemical condition affecting the chemical makeup of the brain.  It is not a choice and it is not a character flaw.  ADHD can’t be caused by poor diet, working too hard or having a stressful life.

 

If you have ADHD and are not actively managing it, your entire life is affected.  There are many strategies that can help women who are living with ADHD.  The first step is to get more information about the signs of ADHD in women.  Begin right now to take charge.

 

Take one these screening tests for ADHD to see if you have symptoms associated with ADHD. If you are concerned, get educated and seek diagnosis to get effective treatment. For more news on the issues facing women with ADHD, see ADDvance.com with Katleen Nadeau, Ph.D. and Patricia Quinn, M.D.

 

 

Originally published as: “Productivity in the Workplace: Tips for Concentrating and Getting More Done” by Kari Miller – As an ADHD coach and board certified educational therapist, Dr. Kari helps women conquer their biggest ADHD challenges. She assists women in getting focused, organized, and motivated so they get unstuck, finish what they start, and accomplish more every day! Dr. Miller capitalizes on her expertise as a learning specialist to help women find unique and exciting strategies for managing their ADHD challenges.  Through her group and individual coaching programs and online supportive community, she encourages and inspires women to set their sights high and make big changes in their lives! www.ADHDclearandfocused.com  Kari.Miller.coach@gmail.com

“Image courtesy of Marcolm/FreeDigitalPhotos.net” – Modified on Canva.

 

 

7 + Steps to Get Fit Gradually

Guest Post from ZenHabits

Guest Post from ZenHabits

 

“Exercise is a vital component in the treatment of ADHD.” ~ Russell Barkley, Ph.D.

 

“For a very small handful of people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD ADD), it may actually be a replacement for stimulants,” says John Ratey, M.D., an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “But, for most, it’s complementary — something they should absolutely do, along with taking meds, to help increase attention and improve mood.” When you excercise  your brain releases several important chemicals that elevate the brain’s dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels. These brain chemicals affect focus and attention, which are in short supply in those with ADHD. (1)

I found a great article by Leo Babauta with an approach to developing an exercise routine  that you can stick to without losing the habits you’ve already put into place. Even if you’ve tried in the past and failed, you CAN make a major shift in your diet and exercise habits. You don’t even need much motivation. Change is possible when you approach losing weight as changing your lifestyle one small step at a time.  Don’t rush it!  Make small, gradual changes, barely challenging yourself at each level. These tips are perfect for people with ADHD.  Take the time you need to get comfortable each step of the way. Believe in yourself and work the steps. They work.

“I know a lot of people who want to lose weight but are stuck –  like I was in 2005.

They want to get healthy and fit, but can’t seem to stick to a diet or exercise plan. They start, and then fail, and then feel bad about it.

This was where I was 10 years ago, and I’m happy to tell you that it’s possible to change.

The secret lies in leveling up.

Like a video game, the way to changing your health habits is by starting out at the first level, and only going to the next level after you’ve beaten the one before that. The problem is that most people start at Level 10 and fail, and wonder what happened. Most of us want to skip several levels, but we’re just not ready.

So the secret is to start at Level 1 and to advance only when you’re done with that level. One level at a time, you’ll master the game of losing weight and getting healthy.

Here’s my guide to leveling up.

Level 1

Please, for goodness sake, don’t make the mistake of skipping this level because it sounds too easy. The easy levels are where you gain your skills.

You need to do two very easy things at this level:

  1. Start walking just for a few minutes every day.
  2. Reduce your eating by a little bit. A very little

The walking should be as simple as walking around the block a couple times, or going to a nearby park for just 5-10 minutes. It should seem so easy that you feel a little dumb not doing more.

Why should it be so easy? Because you’re not ready for higher levels yet. You might think you are, but if you haven’t been regularly exercising for awhile, you aren’t.

The eating could just be as simple as putting a little less on your plate at dinner, or having one less soda a day. Make it almost unnoticeable.

Only progress past this level after you’ve successfully done it for a week.

Level 2

Remember, don’t go to this level until you’ve had a streak of 7 days of doing Level 1.

Here are the two things to do at this level:

  1. Walk every day for a few minutes more. If you’ve been going around the block twice, make it three times. Or add 5 minutes to your walking.
  2. Eat a little less than in the previous level. Just a little less — not really noticeable.

You’ll slowly adjust to the new levels of walking and eating. Do this for another week before going to the next level.

Level 3

If you’ve successfully done Level 2 for another week, you’re ready to add more:

  1. Walk a little more.
  2. Eat/drink less of something that’s empty calories — less soda, sugar, bread, pastries, sweet coffee drink, chips, cookies, pizza. Don’t drop any of these completely, just eat less of it.

Slowly, you’re adapting to a new level. Again, spend a week here.

Level 4

Now we’re going to change things up a little!

  1. Add a minute of faster walking to your walks. Just one or two intervals of walking at a pace that makes it harder to have a conversation. So walk for 5 minutes at conversational pace, then speed it up for a minute, then back to the regular pace. You can repeat that a couple times if you feel like it.
  2. Add some veggies to your food. Just a little, and something you might like. Greens are the best, but if you’d rather eat carrots or cauliflower, go for it. Don’t make it a lot, just a little.

Spend a week at this level.

Level 5

Basically, this is a repeat of Level 4 — add a little more fast walking to your daily walks, and add another veggie to one of your meals.

You can repeat this adding each week for 2-3 weeks. You’re getting the idea by now: basically, you started out by eating a little less each week (barely noticeable) and then adding some vegetables to your diet. You started out by walking just a little each day, slowly adding more, then adding some faster intervals. Keep increasing this progress slowly, one week at a time.

Level 6

Now we’re going to add some harder challenges:

  1. Add some hills or stairs to your walking routine. Find a hill to walk up for at least a few minutes, or if you have stairs in your building, do a few flights at the end of your regular walk. Don’t make this too hard!
  2. Try finding and making a new healthy recipe online each week.

Stay at this level for 2-3 weeks, until it seems easy.

Level 7

Only do this level once the previous level seems really easy!

  1. Add some pushups. Just 2-3 sets of fewer pushups than you think you can do.
  2. Find a healthy breakfast and eat that.

Other Levels

By now, you’ve been walking, doing walk intervals, added some stairs/hills, and some pushups. You’re in much better shape than before.

You’ve also slowly started eating less, adding vegetables, trying out new recipes, eating a healthy breakfast.

That’s a major shift in your diet and exercise habits, and you did it slowly, barely challenging yourself at each level. You didn’t rush it.

Now that you understand how this leveling system works, you can create your own levels beyond Level 7. Some ideas for higher levels — but be sure not to make any of the levels too difficult:

  • Add more bodyweight exercises
  • Add a little bit of running to your walks if you want
  • Try some pull-ups
  • Try some dumbbell weight exercises
  • Eventually, try some basic barbell weight training (squats, dead-lifts, bench).
  • Do a few yoga poses on some days
  • Eat more veggies
  • Reduce empty carbs
  • Add whole grains
  • Eat less junk food
  • Slowly eliminate fast food

If you can slowly change your diet and exercise to include these levels, I can almost guarantee you’ll have weight loss over time, and most importantly, you’ll be much healthier over the long run.

Leveling up isn’t easy if you’re impatient, but it’s the smartest way to change, and it works.”

 

(1) Exercise and the ADHD Brain. ADDitudeMag.com – www.additudemag.com/exercise-and-the-adhd-brain Harvested 6/9/2017

About the author: Leo Babauta of Zen Habits shares his work freely, without copyright. If you appreciate this approach to gradually improving your health through diet and exercise, feel free to pass it along. Originally posted on Zen Habits – August 11th, 2015 – http://zenhabits.net/levels/

(I added the first two paragraphs and highlighting. Note: I’m proof that this approach works, having gradually lost 30 pounds using these tactics.  The best part is that I have been able to maintain that loss. Joan Jager)

“Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhoto.net” Modified on Canva

 

Four Things Every Successful Super-Mom (and Dad) Knows!

4 Things Every Successful Super-Mom

By Diane Dempster

About once a week my kids accuse me of being ADD. I’m not, actually, but they see the challenges I have managing the details of life, and it can look A LOT like the things I’m coaching them to manage.

Besides, it’s fun to razz Mom a little.

After listening to one of our guest experts recently, I’ve discovered the truth. I suffer from:

STRESSED OUT SUPERMOM SYNDROME! 

Being the grown-up in the family with the most executive function can be a challenge on the best of days. Add to that single parenting, menopause, full-time job (ok, more than full time), and mostly it can be exhausting. Personally, I have complete compassion for the other moms out there who add their own ADHD to the mix – hats off to you girls!

For the most part, I wear my elevated executive function status like a badge of honor. I’ve got it – all!

Seriously, there are days that I handle things seamlessly, bopping from here to there, with a smile on my face, and a task list in my hand.

But on other days, the balls are dropping so quickly that I can’t even remember the ones I’ve missed. I can hear myself muttering expletives, or worse yet, yelling them at my kids! The challenge comes when I realize that the ratio of “got it” days to “oh crap” days is not in my favor.

In reality, how we handle dropping balls is about biology. How well our brain operates under life’s stressors is directly correlated with our stress level and attitude. It’s not all that different from our kids and their ADD – a stressed out, overwhelmed brain simply can’t function at optimal capacity.

So what’s the solution? Something I call:

Simple Self Care for Super-Moms! 

Taking care of yourself isn’t all that hard, and doesn’t take that much time or investment. It can make a huge difference in terms of how you are able to manage your life, and the lives of your family.

Here are my four simple steps:

  • Manage Triggers Consciously – Know what sets you off – pushes your buttons – and find ways to sidestep them if you can. This requires letting go of some things, or delegating others (or getting some coaching around specific triggers, which, by the way, was my salvation!) Learn about the threat cycle and practice the steps religiously when you do get triggered.
  • Do for You – A wise woman once told me that if you want your family to give you what you need – tell them what you want – or better yet, give it to yourself! Simply spending 30 – 60 minutes each week doing something just for you can be sufficient fuel to balance the most challenging weeks.
  • Practice Radical Compassion –We work with parents every day around having compassion for our kids and their ADD. It’s equally important that we do the same thing for ourselves. If you are able to see that everyone has best intentions and does the best that they can in the moment, including you, then supporting yourself on the rough days becomes easier. Ultimately, it requires letting go of the “should,” not taking things personally, and seeing setbacks as opportunities to learn and adjust, rather than mistakes or “failures.”
  • Let Go of Resentment – This is often the hardest because it is so intertwined with the others. We get triggered by the idea that we “have” to do everything; we get resentful that we don’t have time for ourselves; and instead of having compassion for our family members and what they are capable of, we get frustrated that they aren’t doing more. All of these are completely normal and appropriate reactions.

AND your reaction is a big part of what is STRESSING YOU OUT!

Finding a way to be “ok” with the situation, even seeing how much it helps your kids that you are carrying a heavier load, can actually help decrease how much the situation stresses you out.  Being a super-mom isn’t a bad thing, and it isn’t necessarily a good thing either. Finding a way to support yourself in being the kind of mom you want to be is what is important. Spend some time looking at how you’re managing and supporting your own life, and take some simple steps forward. Ultimately, it will make thing better for the whole family.

 

By Diane Dempster. Article originally appeared on ImpactADHD.com and is reproduced with permission of ImpactADHD™

 

“Image courtesy of arztsamui/FreeDigitalPhoto.net” Modified on Canva.com

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