Category Archives: Self-care

Creative Routines to Fulfill your Goals

By Joan Jager

Once again, the New Year has come and gone without any action on my part to name any “resolutions”. My ideas for goals are still rolling around in my brain with no specific starting date, commitment, or accountability. For now, the ideas are flowing and hope sustains me. That will have to be enough.

I’m taking my own advice again this month, better late than never. I’ve also written another post full of resources for you to explore. Writing these newsletters, with long posts full of resources to explore has never been easy for me nor really very popular. But ADHD advocacy is what gets me up in the morning and collecting information, sharing, and offering support is what I do best. Turns out there’s even a name for it. Curation.

(Google definition: cu·ra·tion – /kyəˈrāSHən/ – the selection, organization, and presentation of online content, merchandise, information, etc., typically using professional or expert knowledge.)

I saw a cartoon last week with two characters talking. The first one asks, “Why do you think that 2020 will be better? The second replies, “There will be flowers.” The skeptical creature retorts, “There are always flowers. What makes this year any different? Then, looking over the other’s shoulder, he wonders, “What’s that you are doing? Our optimistic fellow simply answers, “I’m planting flowers.”

And therein lies my both my dilemma and my hope. Choosing wrong will have consequences – adding yet another failure to my already sketchy history. My coach, Jennie Friedman, recommends first imagining how the “flowers” or goals will look and feel when achieved. What will success look like? What’s in it for you? Why is it worth the effort? The stronger your picture, the more likely it is that you will be enjoying your own garden this year.

For those with ADHD, setting a goal is just one of many decisions. Making it happens requires creative thinking. Neither the importance of a task or depending on willpower works well. Because the ADHD brain works so much better when interested, goals first need to be something we can get excited about, invested in SO MUCH that you will not have to depend on “shoulds” or shame to propel action. Only then can we create a PLAN for positive and sustainable action. With this new approach, it becomes much more probable that this year there will indeed be flowers!

In the past, my best tools for success have been using small and sustainable actions to create habits and build routines that move me forward.  As Darius Foroux says in “Stop Trying to do Everything  “Success is sequential, not simultaneous.”

Things add up. You learn one skill. Then another. You finish one project. Then another. Over time, your accomplishments add up to form an impressive feat.”

Identify those “things” that are most appealing, important to your values, or necessary for the future imagined. It may be a cleaner house, better health, looking good, more money, or happier family life. Traditional guidelines for housekeeping, organizing, weight loss or planning techniques can be helpful, but many methods don’t come naturally to those of us with ADHD. Our memory fails us. We may lose track of what we were doing every time something new attracts our attention. We often fail to follow through on commitments to yourself or others. Over time, we come to lose faith in ourselves.

When the goal reflects your internal values, however, your natural strengths and talents come into play. See Self-advocacy for ADHD: Discovering your Strengths or Be the Best Version of Yourself: Explore your Strengths for more information. These not only compensate for problems from ADHD, but they also make most tasks feel almost effortless.

Your progress need not be so hard-fought. Try making small changes, usually by linking them to already established routines. Linking taking your medication with brushing your teeth is one example Taking five minutes to plan your day with your first cup of coffee is another. When you get home from work, you might bring in the mail and immediately throw away any junk mail.

Whatever your final intent, the first steps towards creating habits to add to your daily routines should be easy to implement. Actions should ideally be small enough to prevent an emotional reaction of alarm, fear or overwhelm by the task ahead. To help you get overcome those barriers and get started, ADHD coach Sue West provides us with 20 Momentum Strategies to Combat Procrastination.

Create routines to make larger changes a reality. Your reward comes as each day goes a little smoother. You begin to string a series of successes that move you towards the future you want. Small actions build new habits, and your routines provide the structure and support for areas that we struggle with.

It’s not just getting things done that matter. Many of us fail to meet such basic needs as eating, sleeping, resting your brain or controlling your emotions to keep from procrastinating, being overwhelmed, or succumbing to perfectionism.  We rush towards productivity without the self-care we need to sustain progress. I recommend 16 Steps to Better Self-esteem with ADHD by Kari Hogan yet again because it excels in providing strategies to meet your basic needs, to feel whole, and enjoy more success in your personal and public life.

For more ideas, ADDitude Magazine just put out an article by Michelle Novotni with more specific “ADHD Hacks” that can be helpful when “tweaked” to work for you.”  My 25 Rules for Life: A Practical Cure for ADHD Shame and Stagnation 

“Think of ADHD as a marathon, not a sprint”, she says. “To be a successful marathon runner, you have to conserve your energy, pick your battles, and pace yourself. You have to plan for the long haul.”
Her tips include:

  1. Celebrate Progress, Not Perfection. As long as you’re making progress toward your goals, I encourage you to consider your efforts a win. Be kind to yourself.
  2. Value the Power of Praise. Praise is a way of sharing love and building self-esteem
  3. Quiet the (Inner) Critic.

Like anyone, and especially if you are a child or adult with ADHD, we need to feel loved and accepted before we can keep our feelings under control and move forward towards our goals. This control is also known as self-regulation. Children need acceptance from their parents and adults that guide them, but so do grown men and women. Adults may need to “re-parent” the wounded part of themself – to connect with and work on accepting that inner child who bears the scars of being misunderstood and misjudged in childhood. I highly recommend Learn to Parent Yourself, an article by Sharon Martin.  “If we didn’t get age-appropriate discipline, unconditional love, models for healthy relationships, or the skills to understand and manage our emotions and behaviors, we’re likely to struggle with these issues in adulthood. Adults often think they should just innately have these social-emotional skills – but these are learned behaviors.”

Leo Babauta of Zen Habits has written about the art of  Unconditional Acceptance of Yourself.

“What if we applied unconditional acceptance of who we are? Leo says. “What if we took a good look at ourselves, our body, our thoughts, our feelings, our actions, and said, “You are perfectly OK. You are perfectly good”?

“What if instead, you loved yourself, fat body and all? What if you loved yourself, laziness, and all? What if you loved yourself, all that is ugly and incompetent and mean, along with the beauty and brilliance and kindness?”

“Acceptance isn’t stagnation — you will change no matter what. You can’t avoid changing. The question is whether that change comes from a place of acceptance and love, or a place of self-dislike and dissatisfaction. I vote for unconditional love.”

Coming from a place of love and understanding, you can work within your own values and interests. The more you can put boring, mundane, or difficult duties on automatic, the less time you have to manage the most damaging aspects of ADHD. You can live and work more “in the flow”, using the way the ADHD brain is motivated, not by importance but by interest, challenge, and deadlines, and in ways that match your most treasured values in life.

Your routines provide the structure to do what you “need to do” but are not inspired by. Habits and routines help you get to what you WANT to do by handling those necessities of life that may not even be on your radar otherwise. Your routines should not look like anyone else’s. They should reflect your own values, minimum standards, and ease of following the steps to the routine.

For instance, I hated cleaning the bathroom, but having a clean sink with polished chrome was important to me. I started using the toilet paper method of cleaning the bathroom.  Now, every time I use the restroom, I grab some tissue, clean up the sink, spot clean the countertop, and polish the chrome. When I see hairs on the floor or in the tub, I scoop them up. If these areas look fine, I’ll take a minute to address the toilet, getting dust and hair off the seat and top of the tank, and clean up the floor around the toilet too. Same for the tub and floor, spot clean and wipe up hairs. By doing these small tasks throughout the day I seldom have to deep-clean the bathroom.

Now really, how many of you now believe that the toilet paper method the best way to keep the bathroom clean? But it works for me. And that is what is important. You will need to develop your own habits and rules. Ask yourself, “What the least thing that I can do that will move me towards my goals or projects?”

You may soon find that learning to plan your day becomes vital. Sara Jayne Keyser has a very simple list of 6 Steps to Survive ADHD Overwhelm.   If you have a busy work and home life, I love the Next Action List planner by Learn, Do, Become. Printable and podcast with directions. For an easier to use and less structured format, you can start with a Simple Weekly Planner from Emily Ley. Use 2 pages to make up a week – Just split the bottom sections of the second sheet for Saturday and Sunday.  You can also find a daily planning sheet among her other printables.

For those of you collecting more “hacks”, we have a number of useful articles.  46 Small Steps to Save Time from Sue West has easy tips to help you work with Executive Functioning Challenges.
ADHD coach Marla Cummins provides us with 20 Valuable Tools to Enhance your Memory. I wrote about more resources for planning and household tips in Manage your Life, House, and Home with ADHD featuring 9 resources that I have used to build routines.  A good starter article for housekeeping would be The Quick Start Guide to a Decluttered Home that Leo Babauta has generously shared.

Still, despite years of treatment and instituting numerous coping strategies, I continue to struggle to accept and value myself just as I am.

I am sure that I am not alone in this. I was recently inspired by the movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. I have the lyrics to a simple song, I Like You as You Are.

I Like You as You Are
Lyrics by Josie Carey | Music by Fred Rogers

I like you as you are
Exactly and precisely
I think you turned out nicely
And I like you as you are

I like you as you are
Without a doubt or question
Or even a suggestion
Cause I like you as you are

I like your disposition
Your facial composition
And with your kind permission
I’ll shout it to a star

I like you as you are
I wouldn’t want to change you
Or even rearrange you
Not by far

I like you
I-L-I-K-E-Y-O-U
I like you, yes I do
I like you, Y-O-U
I like you, like you as you are

Recommended Pinterest Boards
Habits, Routines, and Systems for ADHD
House, Home, and ADHD
Basic Self-care for ADHD
Planners, Journals, and Calendars

Photo by Shelby Miller on Unsplash – Modified on Canva.com

There will be Flowers! ADHD and the New Year

Welcome to 2020.

Once again, the New Year has come and gone without any action on my part to name any “resolutions”. My ideas for goals are still rolling around in my brain with no specific starting date, commitment, or accountability. I’ve decided that’s okay with me.

I saw a cartoon last week with two characters talking. The first asks, “Why do you think that 2020 will be better? The second answers, “There will be flowers.” The first retorts, “There are always flowers. What makes this year any different? Looking over the other’s shoulder, he then asks, “What’s that you are doing? Our optimistic fellow simply answers, “I’m planting flowers.” And therein lies my both my dilemma and my hope.

Imagining how the “flowers” or goals for my life might look like is just the first choice. They need to be something I can get excited about, invested in SO MUCH that I will not have to depend on “shoulds” or shame to create a PLAN for positive action. For now, my hope sustains me.

There will be flowers! (Flowers to be named later.)

I’m taking my own advice again this month. Better late than never. Moving towards those yet unnamed resolutions, I look to my best tools for success in the past, using small and sustainable actions to create habits and build routines that move me forward. As Darius Foroux says in “Stop Trying to do Everything ”, “Success is sequential, not simultaneous.”

“Things add up. You learn one skill. Then another. You finish one project. Then another. Over time, your accomplishments add up to form an impressive feat.”

Continue newsletter here>>>

Once I identify those “things”, that are creating problems in my life, I can try out small changes, usually by linking them to already established habits. When they work, they will eventually create routines to make larger changes a reality. My reward comes as each day goes a little smoother and I begin to string a series of successes behind me.

It’s not just getting things done that matter. Many of us fail to meet such basic needs as eating, sleeping, or resting. Your brain is already hampered in its ability to perform the necessary executive functions of the brain, those skills whose development is delayed – that give us the ability to coordinate actions needed to effect positive change for the future. The ADHD brain struggles with the ability to plan, keep items in working memory, move past procrastination, overcome overwhelm, or succumb to perfectionism. We rush towards productivity without the self-care we need to sustain progress.

I recommend 16 Steps to Better Self-esteem with ADHD by Kari Hogan for an easy to understand process to help you meet your basic needs and progress towards feeling whole and successful. ADDitude Magazine just put out an article by Michelle Novotni with more specific “ADHD Hacks” that can be helpful when “tweaked” to work for you.” My 25 Rules for Life: A Practical Cure for ADHD Shame and Stagnation.

“Think of ADHD as a marathon, not a sprint”, she says. “To be a successful marathon runner, you have to conserve your energy, pick your battles, and pace yourself. You have to plan for the long haul.”
Her first tips include:
1. “Celebrate Progress, Not Perfection. As long as you’re making progress toward your goals, I encourage you to consider your efforts a win. Be kind to yourself.
2. Value the Power of Praise. Praise is a way of sharing love and building self-esteem
3. Quiet the (Inner) Critic.”

Like anyone, and especially if you are a child or adult with ADHD, we need to feel loved and accepted before we can keep our feelings under control and move forward towards our goals. This control is also known as self-regulation. Children need acceptance from their parents and adults that guide them, but so do grown men and women. Adults may need to “re-parent” the wounded part of themselves – to connect with and work on accepting that inner child who bears the scars of being misunderstood and misjudged in childhood.

To help you with this, Leo Babauta of Zen Habits wrote about the art of Unconditional Acceptance of Yourself. He writes:

“What if we applied unconditional acceptance of who we are? He says. “What if we took a good look at ourselves, our body, our thoughts, our feelings, our actions, and said, “You are perfectly OK. You are perfectly good”?

“What if instead, you loved yourself, fat body and all? What if you loved yourself, laziness and all? What if you loved yourself, all that is ugly and incompetent and mean, along with the beauty and brilliance and kindness?”

Acceptance isn’t stagnation — you will change no matter what. You can’t avoid changing. The question is whether that change comes from a place of acceptance and love, or a place of self-dislike and dissatisfaction. I vote for unconditional love.”

Coming from a place of love, you can work towards better within your own values and interests. The more you can put boring, mundane, or difficult duties on automatic, the less time you have to spend trying to manage the most damaging aspects of ADHD. You can live and work more “in the flow”, using the way the ADHD brain is motivated, not by importance but by interest, challenge, and deadlines, and in ways that match your most treasured values in life.

Your routines provide the structure to do what you “need to do” but are not necessarily inspired or motivated to do. Habits and routines help you get to what you WANT to do by handling those necessities of life that may not even be on your radar otherwise. Your routines should not look like anyone else’s. They should reflect your own values, your own minimum standards of “good enough”, and the ease of following the steps necessary to complete the routine.

For instance, I hated cleaning the bathroom, but having a clean sink with polished chrome is something that is important for me. I started using the toilet paper method of cleaning the bathroom. Now, every time I use the restroom, I grab some tissue, clean up the sink, spot clean the counter top and polish the chrome. When I see hairs on the floor or in the tub, I scoop them up. If these areas look fine, I’ll take a minute to address the toilet, getting dust and hair off the seat and tank top and doing the floor around the toilet too. Same for the tub and floor, spot clean and wipe up hairs.

By doing these small tasks throughout the day, I seldom have to deep-clean. Even the tub and shower are easy. I have a soft toilet bowl brush that looks like a mop. I just spray Awesome cleanser with bleach that I get from the dollar store, wait a minute and wipe down with the “mop”. I don’t even have to get on my hands and knees.

Honestly, how many of you now feel that the toilet paper method the best way to keep YOUR bathroom clean? But it works for me. And that what is important.

You will need to develop your own habits and rules. Ask yourself, what is the “least thing that I can do” that will move me towards my goals or projects. If you have a busy work and home life, I love the Next Action List planner by Learn, Do, Become: Printable and podcast with directions. For a less –structured planner, you can download a weekly planner from Emily Ley. Choose the Simplified Weekly Planner. Use 2 pages to make up a week – Just split the bottom sections of the second sheet for Saturday and Sunday. You can also find a daily planning sheet among her other printables.

For those of you collecting more “hacks”, I wrote about more resources for planning and household tips that I’ve used with success in this newsletter, “Manage your Life, House, and Home with ADHD.” See these 9 tips to build routines. A good starter article would be The Quick Start Guide to a Decluttered Home that Leo Babauta has so generously shared.

For hundreds of extra ideas, I also have three Pinterest pages, House, Home, and ADHD, Habits, Routines, and Systems for ADHD, and Basic Self-care for ADHD.

Through all my years, my biggest struggle remains learning to accept and value myself just as I am. I am sure that I am not alone in this.  Writing these newsletters, long posts full of resources to explore has never been easy for me nor really very popular,  but ADHD advocacy is what gets me up in the morning and collecting information, sharing, and offering support is what I do best. Turns out there’s even a name for it. Curation. Google definition: cu·ra·tion – /kyəˈrāSHən/ – the selection, organization, and presentation of online content, merchandise, information, etc., typically using professional or expert knowledge.

I was recently inspired by the lyrics to a simple song from the movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. I’ve also included a video of the more well-known song “It’s You I Like” that includes Mr. Rogers’ conversation with his guest Jeffery Earlinger.

I Like You as You Are
Lyrics by Josie Carey | Music by Fred Rogers

I like you as you are
Exactly and precisely
I think you turned out nicely
And I like you as you are
I like you as you are
Without a doubt or question
Or even a suggestion
Cause I like you as you are
I like your disposition
Your facial composition
And with your kind permission
I’ll shout it to a star
I like you as you are
I wouldn’t want to change you
Or even rearrange you
Not by far
I like you
I-L-I-K-E-Y-O-U
I like you, yes I do
I like you, Y-O-U
I like you, like you as you are

It’s You I Like (7-minutes)

Until next month,

With hope, but no hurry, for the new year.
Take care,

Joan Jager

Photo by Shelby Miller on Unsplash

Modified on Canva.com

ADHD Mayhem to Self-Control: Self-care and leading with your strengths

Change a life of strife into one of thriving with ADHD.Newsletter September 2019

Welcome to Fall everyone,

Love the weather, but I’ve still got a lot of home repair and yard work to finish up.  It’s like going back to school after a long vacation.  I’m getting ready by setting boundaries that protect my time and energy to let me focus on the upcoming projects. I’m also breaking down the entire list to tackle one project at a time and rewarding myself each step of the way.

Fall can be a difficult time difficult for parents and children with ADHD in the family as well. Returning to school brings increased pressure for all family members. Moving ahead without undue stress is a matter of attitude and strategies to inspire action.

I am convinced that for children, understanding ADHD and how it impacts their life is one of the best ways to learn what they need to increase their well-being. For information as well as a bit of fun, see my Kids ADHD Page – Things to read, do and watch. For parents, parent coach Dianne Dempster writes about using self-care for better self-control of parenting skills in  Four Things Every Successful Super-Mom (and Dad) Knows!  Finding a way to support yourself in being the kind of mom you want to be is what is important.

.Managing ADHD is Possible

ADHD pioneer Russell Barkley, Ph.D. explains, “First, we must understand that most ADHD management is not a problem of knowing what to doIt’s a matter of doing what we know.” 

In her mini-workshop for teachers, ADHD educator and advocate Mary Fowler describes in detail many specific tools to help children “do what they know” through simple support techniques. See Increase On-Task Performance for Students with ADHD.

“External scaffolding is needed – like developing habits and routines, getting comfortable with transitioning between activitiesstrategies for starting and finishing projects as well as controlling one’s emotional responses.”

“What you need to know about Attention Deficit Disorder:

  • Accept that supports may be needed across the lifespan of a person with ADHD.
  • Interventions have to happen in the here and now on an as-needed basis.
  • *** The strategies ONLY work when they are used.”

 

The Art of Thriving with ADHD

For adults with a late diagnosis, Thriving with ADHD follows many of the same principles. You may be surprised to know that they aren’t so much about productivity for its own sake but more about how you are feeling about yourself. They are as much about accepting your unique personality quirks and gifts as they are about learning strategies to overcome your difficulties.  Author Kari Hogan says, “Take advantage of your strengths. Identify what you’re strong in and find ways to do more of it.  When you realize “you’re a natural” at something, this is almost always an indication that you are playing to your strengths… “Surround yourself with people who can embrace your differences and who accept you for who you are and for what you are not.” See Tools for Discovering your Strengths for ideas on how to use your strengths to meet your challenges and advocate for yourself. Kari’s strategies are outlined in 16 Steps to Better Self-Esteem for ADHD Adults

  1. “Your first step is STRUCTURE.
    By creating structure, each day, you’re giving yourself a reason to wake up and get out of bed!
  2. 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).
  3. Step 3. FOCUS on your good qualities….”

Community

ADHD communities are extremely supportive and a wonderful place to learn about your diagnosis and what to expect. “When you feel lost and alone, it’s comforting to know that others get it. … My best teachers have been people like me.” Support groups have been a vital part of my own treatment plan. It’s easier to recognize strengths in others than in yourself. Members of my “ADHD tribes” have helped me recognize many talents that I had discounted because of my difficulties in other areas. An online community will do, but meeting in person or through a video Zoom connection is even more powerful. See our sections on Finding Support for ADHD and Options to Personal ADHD Coaching for help discovering your own “safe place.”    For an amazing feeling of community, you might want to attend the 2019 International Conference on ADHD in Philadelphia, PA. Save the date! Thu, Nov 7 – Sat, Nov 9 –  (Earlier sessions for professionals begin Thu, Nov 6.)

That’s it for this month. Remember, focusing on organization and productivity tools can only get you so far. Self-care, self-awareness, and self-acceptance are the keys to self-control and finally being able to bring our lives into order.

Take care,

Joan Riley Jager

ADD freeSources.net

Facebook and Pinterest pages

 

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash – Title photo created on Canva.com

My ADHD Journey: Living with ADHD in Pakistan

By Haseeb Waqar

“My “ADHD” isn’t some label.
I own my ADHD.
I love it.
I thrive with it.
Don’t pity me.

I have been through hell and back more than once, and I’m still here, and I’m giving it my all to help as many people as I can and I’m proud of that.

I have many great qualities that define me more than my diagnosis ever will.

 

 

A boy was born. That hyperactive ball of energy did not sleep for the first 9 days of his life” tells my mother with a tiresome yet loving smile on her face. That, I would say, was a rock-solid hint as to what would come in time. I remember school being a dreary daily battle; running from one conflict to the next, never really understanding why things around me went so wrong. Unfortunately for me and multitudes of other kids my age, corporal punishment and indifference were the social norms in our schools and community. I felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere, nobody understood me or even wanted to understand me. By the age of 10, my life of constant conflict had finally taken its toll on me. That little boy – once full of curiosity, joy, and always a chatty ball of energy – now become a fearful, silent recluse seeking solitude.

My mother noticed that I had gradually stopped talking in our home and began worrying for my well being. Before I knew it, my mother had changed my school hoping I might find more compassionate and understanding teachers there. For the first time in my life, luck hit me hard. I found myself in a happy place brimming with kindness and understanding – and with it my confidence and self-esteem sky-rocketed. All that built up shame and guilt from my past washed away as time went on. I felt joy every day and most of all: I finally felt normal. My mother showered me with her constant care and supported me through my ups and downs. Thanks to her vigilance, I couldn’t have felt any better.

Then on, I was oblivious to the term ADHD. What is it? What does it mean? Back then I didn’t care – I was living my life as a carefree teen, oblivious to how ADHD was affecting every aspect of my life. As fate would have it, my uncle – who is an ophthalmologist in the UK – had always suspected that I might have ADHD. He sent my mother a pamphlet detailing what ADHD was and all its symptoms. That is how I first came to know of the term ADHD and I was in for a huge revelation.

I could see my entire life reflected in what I was reading. I never realized that all of these things I struggled with were direct results of my ADHD. I finally started to feel like I wasn’t lazy, crazy or stupid. My curiosity naturally drove me to investigate everything there was to know about ADHD. As I kept on reading, I found myself overtaken by a myriad of feelings. I was completely shocked at how nobody had known why I was struggling all along and why no one had tried to help me. I was relieved because my life suddenly made sense, all this new knowledge was proof that every conflict that had brought me and others misery was never intentional on my part.

I couldn’t believe how a general lack of ‘basic’ understanding of ADHD had held my life hostage for so long. I felt immense regret over innumerable past conflicts that need not have happened. On the other hand, I couldn’t have been more grateful for the fact that now I had an explanation for why I had struggled all this time. The next challenge: Survive in a society without any tools and support systems for myself.

After failing to find support at home, I reached out to as many ADHD specialists across the world as I could. Constantly practicing vulnerability, introspection and brutal honesty helped me become more self-aware. With time and tons of self-work, I became capable of talking openly and publicly about my struggles and how I overcome them.

ADHD manifests differently for everyone, and no one should have to go through life feeling the way I felt. We should all have the opportunity to know who our true self is, and to learn to focus on our strengths and gifts rather than our weaknesses.

This is why I decided to go down the path of becoming an ADHD Behavioral Consultant, enabling other kids and adults with ADHD feel more confident, more courageous and less alone on the crazy journey that is ADHD. I want to empower those people, like me, who have been struggling for so many years.

Whether it be in daily life, social situations, career choices, etc. I want you to know that I can help. You are not alone. I know what you have been going through, and I want to help make you the best and happiest version of yourself. No matter where you are in life, I am always happy to talk about your experience with ADHD and to help you find your path in life.

Additional resources: Our latest newsletter was inspired by the points Hasseeb outlined in his story. We’ve provided questions to help you reflect on your own journey with ADHD. See ADHD: What is YOUR story? If you’re struggling with defining your strengths, check out the tools for self-discovery found in both of these articles. Be the Best Version of Yourself: Explore your Strengths by Coach Marla Cummins and/or Self Advocacy for ADHD: Know Yourself. Our Pinterest page ADHD: From the Trenches features many personal stories.

About the author: Abdul Haseeb Waqar is an ADHD Behavioral Consultant in Peshawar, Pakistan.  His mission in life is to help others with ADHD feel more courageous, more confident, and less lonely on the crazy journey that is ADHD. Haseeb is focused and intentional about mastering his ADHD and fighting stigma in his community. He loves talking to fellow ADHDers and listening to their stories.

He feels blessed to have found his ADHD tribe in his online community of friends. Their presence brings immense joy and helps him survive the hard times.

Haseeb uses the tagline The ADHD Rebel on Facebook.

Find him on Instagram @adhd_hasseeb.

 

Photos of Haseeb found on the ADHD Rebel on Facebook. Modified on Canva.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Five Biggest Weaknesses (and How I am Turning Them into Strengths)

Sit down and consider some of your weaknesses and then make a plan to overcome themGuest post by Michele Cook

Have you ever considered what your five biggest weaknesses are? Mine have been smacking me in the face recently and I figured it was time to face up to them. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want to. In fact, I didn’t even want to face up to the fact that these things existed in my life. I was happy to sweep them under the rug and pretend they didn’t exist. Except that never works. So in a bit of motivation for you and accountability for me, I thought it was high time I put them out there in the light where I could examine them from every angle.

Biggest Weakness #1 – I hate asking for help.

I don’t even like asking my husband for help! I always think of other people are too busy, I don’t want to bother them, they wouldn’t want to help me, I don’t want to put them on the spot – and on and on.  The truth is allowing someone else to help me is a way to strengthen the relationships I have with other people. I get great joy out of helping someone. I feel pride when someone asks me for help. Why would I want to deny someone else that joy? Why would I think other people aren’t willing to help when it is something I enjoy doing so much?

The truth is, I shouldn’t. The truth is, I should be looking to collaborate with people on projects, to ask experts in their field questions, and to just plain ask for help when I am having a rough time. This is number one on my list for a reason and to combat it, I have to diligently squash that little voice in my head every time he pops up. I have to say, “No, I am going to give so and so the opportunity to help”.

So far this has been a struggle, but as I see more and better results, I am learning. My relationships are stronger. My marriage is stronger. I come away feeling like someone else has my back and it’s a great feeling.

Biggest Weakness #2 – I doubt my expertise and life experience.
Sure my life might be great as a cautionary tale but as an expert?

It took me a long time to launch my site about farming and rural living because I didn’t believe I was qualified to talk about these things. Forget the fact I grew up on a farm. No need to mention I can give shots and draw blood from most any farm critter. Sure I had a hugely successful garden this year, but didn’t everybody?

Can’t everyone hop on a piece of equipment and operate it? Of course not!

If someone else had said that to me I would have looked at them like they had three heads. Half the people I know can’t operate a lawn mower let alone a backhoe. So why was I feeling so unqualified? The answer lies in both the size of my place (a little over 3 acres) and my knowledge of farming. A three-acre farm isn’t much and my small flock of chickens and herd of goats felt tiny in comparison to many of the farmers I know. And there was the rub. Comparison. That dirty little word that makes us all feel less then we are.

To get over this one, I asked for help. (Go me!) I asked people what they were curious about or what they would like to do with their small acreage. The response was pretty overwhelming and I wound up with a year’s worth of blog posts in a matter of minutes.  Stop comparing and do what you do as good as you can do it.

Biggest Weakness # 3 – I put everyone and everything above myself.
I quit my job so I could focus on farming and writing books, but the truth is I wrote more books and did more for my business when I was working full time. WTF. How could I not have a full-time job and be getting less done?

I had to take a hard look at where my time was going and set some serious boundaries. Many of my friends and family would say “Oh you work from home so you have time to do XYZ”. The truth is, I don’t. Running a business and writing books is serious work, and it takes serious time to get those things done.

I started using my vision statement more and more to evaluate the things I was doing. If it didn’t line up where I wanted to go, the answer was no.

Biggest Weakness # 4 – I loathe self-promotion.

Maybe it’s the introvert in me, maybe it’s that dang little voice in my head, but I truly loathe self-promotion. If you are going to own a business or even if you want to climb a career ladder, self-promotion is part of the game. How would I get customers if I didn’t promote my business? If I didn’t say, hey this is a best-selling item that adds value (or tastes delicious in the case of my sold out spicy pickles) how would people know the option was even available to them?

I had to realize self-promotion didn’t have to be icky. I didn’t have to run around yelling “pick me, pick me!” All I had to do was create excellent products and services and show people their benefits. Instead of walking up and down the aisle at the farmer’s market yelling “GET YOUR SPICY PICKLES HERE!! SPICY PICKLES!! GET EM” HERE!!” I could just point to the jar and tell people it was a top seller.

When someone asks about my book on buying your first horse, I don’t have to tell them my life story and qualifications. All I had to do was to point at the 5-star reviews and show them how my book has helped other people in their situation. This was an eye-opening process to me and I am slowly putting it into practice.

Biggest Weakness #5 – I am easily distracted which leads to disorganization.
If you have read any of my posts on ADHD, this one might not come as a surprise to you, but it was something I thought I had a good handle on. I was wrong. When I started looking at the time I spent scrolling through my Facebook feed or playing games on the phone, I was embarrassed. All these distractions were wreaking havoc on all of the organizational processes I had in place. It’s hard to stay on track when you are watching random videos on YouTube.

This led me to really look at my processes and see what things I could do better and where I needed to give myself some leeway. Here are just a few of the things I did to protect me from myself.

  • I started leaving my phone in the bedroom where I couldn’t hear any of the buzzing or dinging.
  • I close my computer when I am not using it so I don’t hear the buzzes and dings.
  • I schedule play time
  • I brain dumped my to-do list, and then organized it into bite-sized chunks
  • I started using a timer

The truth is that working for yourself takes discipline. A discipline I am slowly developing. Doing just these few things is helping me stay more organized and less distracted. Next, I plan on tackling my processes to see what’s working and what’s not.

What are your five biggest weaknesses? Have you ever considered them or do you just sweep them under the rug? My challenge to you is to sit down and consider some of your weaknesses and then make a plan to overcome them.

 

About the author: Michele Cook is a mother of four, including two boys with ADHD and has ADHD herself. Like most people with ADHD, she has many projects going at once. She is a published author, a blogger, a communications specialist and owns a small farm in the mountains of Virginia. Her motto is “ADHD is my superpower” You can visit her site at Michele’s Finding Happiness 

Originally posted at https://michelesfindinghappiness.com/2018/10/03/my-five-biggest-weaknesses-and-how-i-am-turning-them-into-strengths/

 

Photo by Julien de Salaberry on Unsplash Modified on Canva

Pills Don’t Teach Skills: ADD freeSources Newsletter

Welcome to the carnival of life.

It’s almost springtime. The earth and sun will warm soon and we’ll see a renewal of growth that can inspire our own growth.

We’re finally thawing out here in the Northwest. It’s amazing, the snow has barely melted, but we already have Snowdrops, my earliest spring bulbs popping up all over. With more light in the day, I can feel my mood lifting and am finally feeling more productive. Once again, my February newsletter is going out the final day of the month. (I thought I was a little bit ahead, but it turns out that February is a short month. Who remembers things like that?)

You need more than meds to function well with ADHDIf you’re struggling too and could use a few new strategies, our latest article, “How to Make ADHD Work for youPills don’t teach skills: Manage Your ADHD with Behavior Strategies” offers a number of great ideas from basic health needs (like Eating, Moving and Sleeping) to a number of helpful ADHD hacks.

My thanks to our generous guest author, a new blogger, Tia of Little Miss Lionheart.

Tia found out she had ADHD in addition to anxiety at the ripe old age of 28 and went on a quest to figure out what that meant for her. What she discovered was life-changing and her blog was born. Little Miss Lionheart’s goal is to serve as every woman’s guide to ADHD and help you turn the challenges of ADHD into an advantage.

I love the comment one reader left.

“Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, many pointers, and understanding of ADHD! – It’s comforting to know I’m not alone and can gather support and acceptance with knowing I/we’re special and unique and able to embrace the way we are made and use it for our good, and too for those around us!” Wendi

Read “How to Make ADHD Work for you” here>>>

Meanwhile, I talk to myself to help overcome my fear of writing, perfectionism, and procrastination. I used a few personalized mantras to keep me going this month “Simplify, Simplify, Simplify,” “Put a Box Around ( Also known as Increase structure and Limit the Variables,) “Go for Enough, Don’t worry about Perfect, ” “Just Touch it” and “One step at a time”.

Your job is to discover whatever works best for you, your child or other loved ones. It’s not easy to learn to live well with ADHD, but it’s worth it. Do the Work! You won’t be sorry.

Enjoy any sunshine and warmth that your weather brings this March. It would be great to be able to put the snowshoes and shovel away for another year.

Take care,

Joan Jager

Snowdrops Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Title photos – both for Facebook and Pinterest – created on Canva.com

 

How to Make ADHD Work for You

You need more than meds to function well with ADHDPills don’t teach skills:

Manage Your ADHD with Behavior Strategies

Guest post by Tia of Little Miss LionHeart

This post contains links to other articles on Tia’s website as well as her Affiliate Links.

 

Whether you’ve been diagnosed with ADHD, think that’s what’s going on for you, or you have another issue with similar challenges, the symptoms can be overwhelming and medication, though helpful, isn’t a cure. For me, there’s been a gap between the effect of the meds and what I need in order to be functional.

I still struggle with getting big projects done–procrastinate starting them, can’t get myself to finish the annoying little details once most of the project is completed. I still forget things–like accidentally leaving my husband’s lunch out on the counter overnight instead of in the fridge where it belongs. Yeah, that happened last night.

When it comes to managing your symptoms, behavioral strategies become really important, or so I’ve learned for myself. I’ve discovered some practical tips to help bridge the gap.

Practical Health Strategies for ADHD

Exercise is Your Trump Card

Exercise is good for many things; it’s only to be expected that it’s one of the most helpful things you can do to naturally or behaviorally work with your ADHD. Regular exercise can help you improve focus and memory, calm impulses and reduce hyperactivity. It also helps improve sleep. Daily exercise is the goal but for many people that may not be realistic. Set your sights on exercising more days than not. More vigorous exercise may be most helpful but moving your body more, in general, is really what we are going for.

Mind Your Diet

Whether you are on stimulants or not on stimulants, your diet is a really important factor in ADHD management. It’s been said that many ADHDers (myself included) tend to crave carbs and sugar but all the simple sugars really mess with your attention, focus, impulse control, and hyperactivity. That’s not to say you have to cut out carbs entirely, just that focusing your diet on protein and fiber and choosing complex carbs like brown rice over pasta and pastries is most helpful.

Eat regularly. Eat balanced. If you are on stimulants, it’s easy to forget to eat. Don’t fall into that trap. Set a timer if you have to but not eating regularly can decrease the effect of your medication and hurt your body in the process, making you feel weak and dizzy (guilty on that one, but I’ve learned my lesson).

Sleep. Like, good sleep.

Sleep is another one of those things that can help your medication be most effective or hurt it’s impact. If you aren’t on medication, it’s still going to have a significant impact on your ADHD symptoms. We’re fighting an uphill battle as most ADHDers have trouble sleeping according to research. Lucky for you, I wrote an entire post on how to get good sleep. All strategies tested by your’s truly 😉 You can find it here.

How to Use Your ADHD Mind to Your Advantage

The Big, Important Question to Get Things Done

Using this question for myself has been a HUGE help in motivating myself to get things done that I need to get done. Sitting still for long periods of time is hard for me, as you can imagine, and even though I love writing, I don’t always love the process of writing. That’s where I developed this strategy. Let’s say I have to sit down and write my notes (THE WORST! I hate doing notes with a passion but they are an absolutely necessary evil). I have never experienced wanting to do my notes because they are the worst and most of the time I dread them and put off doing them and experience anxiety even at the thought of sitting down to do them.

One day I started asking myself, “What do I need in order to want to do this?”

I couldn’t think of something that would excite me about them but I thought of a few things that you make me dread it less and tolerate it better. I have to ask myself this question every time I have to write notes. Sometimes it’s a trip to the coffee shop to do them in a different environment. Sometimes it’s on my couch with a cup of hot cocoa, a warm blanket, and a delicious smelling candle burning. I still didn’t want to do them, but I did want the coffee and the environment and that helped me tolerate the notes.

When my doctor told me I had to start exercising to help with my ADHD symptoms, I was kinda dreading that mostly because I find the gym boring and I don’t run. I asked myself this question and found that it doesn’t feel like exercising when I’m teaching myself gymnastics. Now it’s really easy to get myself to exercise and sometimes it’s actually hard to get myself to stop exercising because it’s something I actually enjoy. I found a way to want to exercise.

Using this question as a motivation strategy has been a game changer for me.

Meditate with self-compassion

Meditation is a funny topic when it comes to ADHD. It’s one of the most effective strategies for managing ADHD symptoms and yet it’s also harder for ADHDers to meditate than it is for other people. Why? Duh, our attention likes to wander! I have found a few strategies helpful. One, I tend to do better meditating when I’m listening to a guided meditation and especially when I’m listening to one that uses imagery. The combination of auditory and imaginary imagery is enough to help me stay *mostly* on track. When my attention wanders, I just gently bring it back knowing that’s just par for the course and I keep going.

Self-compassion specific meditation is a really effective form of mindfulness that teaches us to have a better relationship with ourselves and helps us lessen overwhelming and painful emotions and change our self-talk. Those of us with ADHD are often pretty hard on ourselves when it comes to our challenges and the painful experiences we’ve had as a result. Constantly beating yourself up or shaming yourself for the challenges you face (whether ADHD or not) only make your symptoms worse and creates new problems, too. Mindful Self-Compassion has been a huge help to me personally in helping me accept myself as I am–challenges and all–improving my confidence and restoring my sense of worth, while also lowering anxiety. (Check out Tia’s website for some beginning exercises and if you like that, check out The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook: A Proven Way to Accept Yourself, Build Inner Strength, and Thrive by Kristen Neff to go deeper into the practice. (Link works) Tia owns this workbook and uses it regularly.)

Recognize Your Strengths

We tend to get bogged down with the challenges we experience and overemphasize the “deficit” part of ADHD. While we definitely experience challenges with the difficulty regulating our attention that sometimes causes friction and disrupts life a bit, it’s important that we don’t get fooled into thinking that these problems are all there is that matters about us and all there is to the ADHD “curse.”

The truth is that while there are some major challenges to having ADHD, there are also some strengths that we have because we aren’t neurotypical. ADHDers tend to be more creative and innovative, many of us make great entrepreneurs, we’re very empathic, tend to be passionate about justice and other things that really matter, and have the ability to learn to live fully in the moment to an extent that is harder for other people.

If you’ve experienced a lot of pain or shame as a result of having ADHD, it’s easy to look at the good things and think that they don’t matter in comparison to the bad. Just let both be true for you. The good doesn’t cancel out the bad and the bad doesn’t cancel the good–they are both true and they are both significant to you. That subtle shift can make a huge difference in the way you see yourself and your struggles.

The big lesson here is to not let yourself get stuck in the place of only allowing shame and deficit to be valid–whether related to ADHD or not. That’s giving it a bigger place than it should be allowed to have and keeps it in a place of power that holds you hostage. Let your strengths and your abilities be true, too.

Tips For The Biggest ADHD Challenges

How to Use the Hyperfocus to Your Advantage

Hyperfocus, in my experience anyway, is both the most amazing part of ADHD and the worst part of ADHD. At the same time (letting them both be true 😉). Hyperfocus lets me get awesome things accomplished no matter what barriers stand in my way. I’m determined, slightly obsessive (understated for dramatic effect 😂), and I love the feeling of being so into what I’m doing that nothing else exists. Until is 2 am and I have to be up in 4 hours. Until I’m trying to transition from what I’m doing to anything else (especially if I’m transitioning to something I really don’t want to be doing anyway). Unless I need to shift my focus and concentration to something else. Hyperfocus feels like a train barreling down a track fast and furious and trying to stop it feels like you’re trying to turn left in a car that just lost its power steering.

I’ve learned not to engage hyperfocus within a few hours of bedtime. It’s too hard to calm my thoughts down enough to go to sleep. I’ve learned not to engage hyperfocus just before I have to do something really important or requires a ton of concentration. It’s too hard to shift my thoughts and be fully present. I have learned to engage hyperfocus when I have ample time to indulge it and then it feels like self-care. I engage hyperfocus as a distraction if I’m anxious about something that I can’t control. I engage hyperfocus as a way to accomplish things that need to happen and further myself or my career. Using it to my benefit is what makes hyperfocus more of a blessing than a curse.

When used right, there is a major upside to hyperfocus.

Bounce, Fidget and Move to Manage the Restlessness

I feel too energized a lot. Exercise really helps with that but sometimes the restlessness hits in times that I’m supposed to be productive and exercise isn’t an option. As I’m writing this post, I’m sitting on my exercise ball (Link works), bouncing when I feel like it, taking a break to balance myself for a few seconds here and there because doing so helps me work with the hyperactivity to remain productive without so much discomfort.

When bouncing isn’t an option, I twist my wedding band around my finger or play with my hair or I use squishy toys to work out some energy because doing so helps me stay focused when I’m concentrating deeply. Using a standing desk to work allows me to balance on one foot or do calf raises or take a moment to do a cartwheel to work out excess energy. I’m much more productive and less likely to get distracted by all the other things I’d rather be doing when I give myself the space to do these things.

Use Accountability and Competition to Get Things Done

ADHDers are often competitive. The good news is, this can be used to your advantage to help you get things accomplished that you really don’t want to do. I mentioned that I hate note writing–one helpful strategy has been to have a race with a colleague to see who can get their notes done first. If you aren’t competitive or don’t like the feeling of being in competition, that same colleague can function more like an accountability partner who you know will be checking in with you to make sure you got it done.

This strategy is often used to help people stick with a new exercise regimen or make other difficult changes and it’s effective, which is why we still use it. Adapt it to fit what you need. Maybe have someone check in with you about that project you’ve been meaning to get to or whether you completed your to-do list today. Knowing that someone else will be aware of our progress, tends to make us more efficient and effective.

Use Tiles for things commonly lost

You’ve seen these, right? The little squares you can stick on your phone, keys, wallet, or whatever else you have a tendency of losing regularly and you can use an app to make the tile start beeping and help you find what you lost? These things are awesome.

I don’t really lose my keys that much anymore since I started hanging them on a hook beside the door (which is also a helpful strategy, btw), but I lose my phone generally about once a day. Once, I lost my phone and didn’t find it for 8 months! It was buried in the couch, apparently. What I would have given to have a tile that day instead of having to spend money on a new phone. Ah well, lesson learned. If you have trouble finding important things, invest in your new best friend.

Write it Down Because You WILL Lose it

I keep a notebook just about where ever I go. When I forget my notebook, I have an app on my phone that lets me take notes. I tend to experience a lot of anxiety that I’m going to forget important things because I often forget things. I mean, today at lunch I was searching for a straw and in the middle of looking, I forgot what I was trying to find.

That kind of spacing out creates anxiety that you’ve forgotten something more important than a straw and it’s going to bite you in the butt in the near future. So I write everything down. I KNOW I’ll forget it so writing it down helps me keep track of all the important things that I have forgotten and calms the anxiety. It also helps me keep major things from falling through the cracks…most of the time. If you have trouble remembering to look at your notebook or to do list, create a daily reminder to go off a couple of times a day to look at your to-do list.

Planners and Bullet Journals for Organization

In addition to my to-do list, I keep a planner.  I have appointments scheduled for most days and I definitely don’t want to forget them. Even with the planner, I sometimes still mess up my schedule but 95% of the time, the planner keeps me on track. I’ve begun experimenting with using the planner more strategically to help me be more effective with other tasks and get less distracted. I typically go for a weekly planner with a good amount of space to write for each day. Like this one.

Left to my own devices, I started writing this post and got lost in researching therapy and coach training for ADHD, then got caught up in a brain teaser game and a show on TV. I’ve started using the planner to separate when I focus on research, when I write posts, when I work on bigger projects (like ADHD coaching), etc..so I’m less likely to get distracted doing a little bit on multiple things that are important and that I want to accomplish.

It’s a bit more organized, which helps so that when I’m writing a post and I get caught up thinking I need to do research on this big project I have, I know that I’ve already planned out time to get to that project and can pull myself back to the task at hand. I’m also experimenting with bullet journaling because it combines organization (which I’m trying to get better at) with creative expression (which I love). Seems like a win-win.

Notes on Using Your Phone: Some people like me prefer a physical planner. There’s something about writing it down that helps me remember and it feels more natural to me than using my phone. For other people, using a phone is a better option. If it feels more natural to keep it on your phone or you tend to lose physical planners or need to set reminders for the events on your planner, your phone may be your best option.

Invite people over so it pushes you to clean your house

I’ve been unintentionally doing this for years. I have a hard time keeping my house clean. Partially because I hate cleaning. It’s boring, I’m impatient, and there are literally a million things I’d rather be doing. Also because cleaning involves a lot of things I’m not good at like organization, not getting distracted from one task to another, and I also really hate strong smells or getting damp or wet. Can you tell that I hate cleaning?

The mad dash to get the house presentable is the one thing that focuses me enough to get the job done and ignore all the things I hate about cleaning. The time crunch is a pretty solid motivator for me. If your house is a mess, consider inviting a friend for dinner next weekend. In my experience, before she walks in the door, the house will be in pretty good shape.

And there you have it, the beginners guide to managing your ADHD.

What do YOU do to manage your symptoms?

 

Title photos – both for Facebook and Pinterest – created on Canva.com

 

About the author: Tia found out she had ADHD at the ripe old age of 28 and went on a quest to figure out what that meant for her. What she discovered was life-changing and Little Miss Lionheart was born. Her blog’s goal is to serve as every woman’s guide to ADHD and help you turn the challenges of ADHD into an advantage.

Original Source

Website https://littlemisslionheart.com/

Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/littlemisslionheart/

 

Everything Is Awful and I’m Not Okay: Questions to ask before giving up

Self-care for when you feel bad and can’t pinpoint why***Guest post – This post is available as a downloadable one-page PDF here.  Source: http://eponis.tumblr.com

Note: I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve seen this article before, but it’s worth repeating. I know that I still fall into the trap of not taking care of the basics, then wonder why things are falling apart. It’s good to have a reminder that some answers are within our power NOW and that they can help solve more difficult problems as well.

 

Are you hydrated?  If not, have a glass of water.

Have you eaten in the past three hours?  If not, get some food — something with protein, not just simple carbs.  Perhaps some nuts or hummus?

Have you showered in the past week?  If not, take a shower right now.

If daytime: are you dressed?  If not, put on clean clothes that aren’t pajamas.  Give yourself permission to wear something special, whether it’s a funny t-shirt or a pretty dress.

If nighttime: are you sleepy and fatigued but resisting going to sleep? Put on pajamas, make yourself cozy in bed with a teddy bear and the sound of falling rain, and close your eyes for fifteen minutes — no electronic screens allowed.  If you’re still awake after that, you can get up again; no pressure.

Have you stretched your legs in the past day?  If not, do so right now.  If you don’t have the spoons for a run or trip to the gym, just walk around the block, then keep walking as long as you please.  If the weather’s crap, drive to a big box store (e.g. Target) and go on a brisk walk through the aisles you normally skip.

Have you said something nice to someone in the past day?  Do so, whether online or in person.  Make it genuine; wait until you see something really wonderful about someone, and tell them about it.

Have you moved your body to music in the past day?  If not, do so — jog for the length of an EDM song at your favorite BPM, or just dance around the room for the length of an upbeat song.

Have you cuddled a living being in the past two days?  If not, do so.  Don’t be afraid to ask for hugs from friends or friends’ pets.  Most of them will enjoy the cuddles too; you’re not imposing on them.

Do you feel ineffective?  Pause right now and get something small completed, whether it’s responding to an e-mail, loading up the dishwasher, or packing your gym bag for your next trip.  Good job!

Do you feel unattractive?  Take a goddamn selfie.  Your friends will remind you how great you look, and you’ll fight society’s restrictions on what beauty can look like.

Do you feel paralyzed by indecision?  Give yourself ten minutes to sit back and figure out a game plan for the day.  If a particular decision or problem is still being a roadblock, simply set it aside for now, and pick something else that seems doable.  Right now, the important part is to break through that stasis, even if it means doing something trivial.

Have you seen a therapist in the past few days?  If not, hang on until your next therapy visit and talk through things then.

Have you been over-exerting yourself lately — physically, emotionally, socially, or intellectually?  That can take a toll that lingers for days. Give yourself a break in that area, whether it’s physical rest, taking time alone, or relaxing with some silly entertainment.

Have you changed any of your medications in the past couple of weeks, including skipped doses or a change in a generic prescription brand?  That may be screwing with your head.  Give things a few days, then talk to your doctor if it doesn’t settle down.

Have you waited a week?  Sometimes our perception of life is skewed, and we can’t even tell that we’re not thinking clearly, and there’s no obvious external cause.  It happens.  Keep yourself going for a full week, whatever it takes, and see if you still feel the same way then.

You’ve made it this far, and you will make it through.  You are stronger than you think.

 

***This post is available as a downloadable one-page PDF here.

The author offers additional self-care resources on this page. http://eponis.tumblr.com/selfcare.

Some people have asked about making this into a poster or redistributing it.  This post is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License: alteration and redistribution are welcome as long as you attribute my tumblr.  http://eponis.tumblr.com/post/113798088670/everything-is-awful-and-im-not-okay-questions-to

 

Photo by Sander Weeteling on Unsplash Modified on Canva.com

ADHD, Zen, and The Clean-as-You-Go Principle

by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits

 

I’m not obsessive about neatness, but I’ve learned ways of keeping my house neat and clean in a simple, stress-free way.

I call it the “Clean-as-You-Go Principle.”

That’s pretty self-explanatory, but of course, I can’t resist going into the details. And also, I’ve found this principle to be great for other areas of my life: finances, email, work tasks, etc.

The basic idea is that, instead of waiting for the house to get really dirty and then having to spend a lot of time cleaning it, you just clean a little bit at a time.

Here are some of the ways I apply it (most of the time, not perfectly of course):

  1. When I’m done eating, I (usually) wash my dishes instead of leaving them in the sink. I’ll also often put away any food that’s leftover, wash cooking dishes like the pan, knife and cutting board, and wipe up the counters. It just takes a few minutes, actually.
  2. When I’m done brushing my teeth, I wipe the bathroom sink and counter to keep it clean. Having a washcloth nearby makes this easy.
  3. When I use the bathroom, I will use the toilet brush to clean it if it’s getting a little dirty. So my toilet is usually fairly clean.
  4. If I see a mess as I walk through the house, I’ll usually put a few things away. Takes just a minute, and no more mess!
  5. I’ll often sweep up the kitchen if I see some crumbs on the floor. Not every day, maybe every other day.
  6. If I see dust on the floor, I’ll wipe it up or get the broom and sweep it up.
  7. If I lift weights in the garage, I use my rest periods to clean the garage, a little at a time.
  8. When I cook, if something has to simmer for a minute, I clean up my cooking area as I wait, in between stirring the food. So when I’m done with cooking, there’s not a big mess.

You get the idea. None of these takes more than a minute or three, but by doing it as I go, it takes very little effort and I never have a really messy house.

Of course, a deeper cleaning is still required sometimes, but not as often, and it’s not as hard. Overall, this is an easy system that works really well for me. (Note: My kids don’t always follow it, but I either pick up after them or ask them to clean their messes whenever I see them.)

Applying the Principle to Other Areas of Life

OK, so a clean house — big deal, Leo! Give me something important to try out.

Alright, I like your attitude!

So let’s apply this to other areas of our lives:

  1. Emails: Every time you go into your inbox, clear out a batch. Like, archive/delete the ones you don’t need (or better yet, unsubscribe), then do some quick replies. Put ones that require longer tasks into a folder and add the tasks to your to-do list. You can do all of that in 5 minutes. Then get out of the inbox. Repeat later.
  2. Work tasks: As you go through your day, in between the important tasks of checking social media, watching videos and playing games … why not take care of mini-tasks for work? Just take care of them a little at a time. Break bigger tasks into things you can do in a few minutes (write just the outline of a blog post!). Scrub things a little at a time, and they don’t require huge commitments. Again, there are things that require longer focuses, but clean-as-you-go can be very helpful for keeping things in order.
  3. Finances: I like to put my bills, savings, and investments on auto-pay, for the most part … but I will very often check them (using online software like Mint.com to have all the info in one place) and make payments or adjustments if needed. Basically, if I see something that needs fixing, I (usually) take the few minutes and take care of it, rather than leaving it for later.
  4. Health & Fitness: I’m not training for a marathon or anything else right now, so I don’t dedicate large amounts of time to fitness. I just do a little bit every day. Do some pushups and chin-ups today, some barbell squats tomorrow, go for a run or bike ride the day after that, do some yoga for 20 minutes or so the next day, play basketball or go for a walk with the kids, etc. The idea is that if I do a bit every day, I don’t need to deal with health problems later.

I’m not perfect at any of this, by any means. But I’ve found that this principle can help me in so many ways, making lots of areas of my life a lot less stressful, a lot less messy, and a lot easier.

About the author: Leo Babauta is the prolific writer of Zen Habits. He shares his work freely without copyright. Please support his work through an online course or workshop. Originally posted at https://zenhabits.net/clean/ June 27, 2017

(Title photo courtesy of idea go/FreeDigitalPhoto.net) Modified on Canva

ADHD Strikes Again! Recovery

Recover emotionally and get back on track after an “ADHD attack.”

Recently I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and ashamed. And no matter how hard I  tried, I wasn’t able to break the cycle of emotion, self-judgment, and paralysis brought on an by an unintentional mistake.

Often, I am so “hard on myself” when something goes wrong that I just fall apart and neglect to use most of my strategies for coping. My routines fall apart, my memory slips,  everyday tasks, and household errands go undone. And everything I try to do fails. Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, ADHD strikes again!

 

ADDitude Magazine explains this extreme reaction in a two-minute video. With ADHD, they say, “Even a momentary emotion can gobble up all the space in the brain just like a virus can devour a whole hard drive.”

 7 Truths about ADHD and Emotional Regulation

All too frequently, those of us with ADHD make mistakes that may well irritate or offend others. We forget, speak out of turn, fail to do something as well as we would like or lack the skills or interest in getting things started or finished. Whether the problem is small or large, an apology is often the first step in making things right again.

As Ari Tuckman, Ph.D. writes in Love Means Saying you’re Sorry, “The first step is to calm our own reaction so we can see beyond our own needs. You may not have tons of control over your ability to do all the right things at the right times, but you do have the ability to fix things afterward.” The first part of the article has good information for couples, but the second section, The Value of a Good Apology, has some great ideas for when you blow it. He suggests that you:

  • Recognize the impact on the other person.
  • Say what you will (try to) do differently in the future.
  • Make amends, if necessary.

I also found some good advice on New Life Outlook for when you offend someone.  There’s much more to the article but the basics are:

  • Take care of yourself.
  • Don’t blame yourself.
  • Talk about it.
  • Learn from past experiences.

 

I try to struggle through on my own, but I finally have to let go of that silly idea that asking for help is a sign of weakness. I reach out to my personal ADHD support team – my friends, family, coaching groups, and others for help.

The Wall of Awful an interview with Brendan Mahan M.Ed., MS., is about the emotional toll that negative thoughts and repeated failure have on your ability to take risks and initiate tasks. He says, “Staring at the Wall sets us up for being overwhelmed by the emotions it represents; causing us to freeze and accomplish nothing. Going around leads to avoidance.” He offers a number of tips on overcoming this “Wall” in the podcast as well on his site, ADHD Essentials. TWO 6-MINUTE VIDEOS from See in ADHD: Why is it so hard to do something that should be easy? How to do something that should be easy? 

Why Is It So Hard to Do Something That Should Be Easy?

I also found Surefire Strategies That Don’t Work for ADHD – And Some That Do by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. that helped me get through to the other side of “Awful.”  One suggestion from David Giwerc is to “Be self-compassionate. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Try being more understanding and kind. Remember that you’re not less intelligent or capable than others. You have unique brain wiring. Focus on your strengths and on finding strategies that work for you.

 

Our guest author this month is Brandon Butler. He shares with us a healthy, natural way to cope with life’s daily challenges that you may not have thought of in Five Ways Dogs can help those with Mental Disorders. Ned Hallowell agrees with Brandon, saying, “I often urge people to start with a dog.  Dogs are the world’s best givers of love.” ~ Psychology Today

We do not have a dog but have really enjoyed dog-sitting for many of the reasons Brandon mentions. Zoey is a great visitor and gets me outside to walk and collect a few smiles” – my favorite reason for walking.  This connection helps me exercise daily,  one of my most effective coping strategies.

Please leave me a comment if you TOO struggle with emotional overwhelm. What are some of your tricks?

Joan Jager

Photo by Erik Eastman on Unsplash – Modified on Canva.com