While medication and talk therapy can help you manage the symptoms of ADHD, daily habits pay a big role too. Regular doses of skillful self-care can boost your mood and make it easier to fulfill your responsibilities.
Paying attention to your physical, mental, and spiritual needs is essential. The more you love and nurture yourself, the greater your capacity to deal with troubling symptoms and pursue your goals. Make your wellbeing a top priority. Use these self-care strategies for getting organized and staying healthy.
Simple self-care routines.
- Clear away clutter. Tidying up your home and office, reduces anxiety and cuts down on time spent searching for lost keys and remote controls. Give away possessions you rarely use or donate them to charity. Use shopping lists to cut down on impulse purchases, so you’ll have fewer things lying around.
- Go paper free. How much of your clutter is unread mail and magazines? Cut down on paper with digital subscriptions and online banking.
- Schedule your time. Maintaining a calendar can be a major challenge with ADHD. Find a basic system that works for you and set aside time each day to plan your activities.
- Use reminders. Take notes, make lists, and set alarms. Being proactive can often protect you from the consequences of forgetfulness.
- Act promptly. Procrastination is common when you have ADHD. If possible, complete a task immediately while you’re still thinking about it, so you can check that one off your list.
- Limit distractions. Figure out where you’re wasting time. Resolve to watch TV for two hours or less each day. Check your messages at designated times instead of watching your phone during meetings and meals.
- Browse for apps. See what technology can do for you. Free apps can help you record your to-do list, sort your photos, and relax in between.
ADHD can take a toll on your body and brain. Your stress levels rise when tasks become more difficult and relationships more complicated. You may also have trouble remembering to take your prescriptions and schedule doctor’s visits. Here are some suggestions:
- Exercise daily or as often as you can. Physical activity trains your mind too. Strengthen your focus along with your muscles. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week.
- Take frequent breaks. Pause in between tasks and move around. Go outside to take a walk or work in your garden.
- Change your diet. Some research suggests that what you eat could reduce ADHD symptoms. Foods rich in protein help to stabilize blood sugar and balance brain chemicals. Smart choices include fish, beans, and dairy products.
- Sleep well. Do you find it difficult to fall asleep and wake up frequently during the night? Try going to bed and waking up on a consistent schedule. Keep your bedroom dark and quiet and avoid heavy snacks and alcohol before bed.
- Ask for help. Inattentiveness and mood swings can lead to misunderstandings with family, friends, and coworkers. If you feel comfortable, let others know about your symptoms and the steps you’re taking to make positive changes. They may be eager to support you.
- See your doctor. Tell your physician about your self-care program and any natural remedies you use. That way, they can coordinate your care and make other recommendations based on your individual needs.
ADHD affects many aspects of life, but consistent self-care will help you to enjoy greater life balance and peace. Healthy habits and a supportive environment give you more opportunities to use your unique strengths and increase your happiness and productivity.
Self care is the best care. To close out the month, the final post will offer some Natural Approaches to ADHD.
Until the next post,
To Your Success,
Positive parenting has helped many families to achieve greater harmony, and this approach may be especially important for parents raising a child with ADHD. A recent study confirms that cutting back on yelling and spanking can lead tobiological changes that make it easier for a child to regulate their emotions and behavior.
Researchers at Ohio State University studied family relations among preschool
children with ADHD and their parents. They found that parents who received as little
as 10 to 20 weeks of coaching showed significant improvement in positive parenting
skills. As harsh interactions decreased, their children demonstrated less abnormal heart
activity and greater impulse control. ADHD is challenging, but you can learn to discipline more effectively.
Consider these ideas that will help you to create a calmer and happier home life for you and your child.
Encouraging Positive Behavior:
Prevention is more effective than discipline. Create conditions that make it easier for your child to use their strengths and follow house rules.
- Understand ADHD. Your child may be highly creative and energetic. On the
other hand, they probably struggle with some things like listening attentively
and planning ahead. Consider joining support groups if you need to
- Enjoy one-on-one time. Your child is less likely to act out if they feel secure and
loved. Try to arrange at least one-half hour a day when you do something
- Offer rewards. Give your child an extra incentive to comply with your
expectations. Offer praise or small gifts when they complete their homework
and cooperate with their siblings. If they have trouble waiting a week or more
to get their prize, let them earn points throughout the day.
4. Be specific. Make it easier for your child to do what you want by spelling out
each step involved. Instead of asking them to clean their room, ask them to pick
their toys up off the floor and put their clothes in a laundry hamper.
- Use visuals and sounds. Many children with ADHD understand images and
sounds better than words. Clarify your instructions with other cues. Set a timer
that will buzz when homework time is up. Hang a poster in the bathroom with
pictures of a child brushing their teeth and putting on pajamas.
Maintaining Effective Discipline:
Of course, there will sometimes be lapses. Be prepared to discipline in a way that
works better than nagging or criticizing.
- Focus on learning. Discipline means training rather than punishment. When
your child slips up, show them what they need to do in order to succeed the
- Limit time outs. Sitting completely still may be overwhelming for some children
with ADHD. If you use time outs, keep them brief, and consider giving them credit if they manage to keep their mouths shut.
- Establish priorities. Trying to resolve too many issues at once can backfire.
Deal with one subject at a time. Give your child a chance to fix one situation
before you tackle the next.
- Stay calm. Children with ADHD may be even more sensitive than the average
child when it comes to being influenced by a parent’s mood. If you can remain
composed even when your child hits a classmate or keeps losing their glasses,
you’ll be in a better position to work together towards lasting solutions.
Parenting a child with ADHD is similar to parenting any child, but it usually requires
more effort and patience. You and your child can have a loving relationship if you
believe in their abilities and understand their needs. Stay positive and reach out for the support you need.
Which of these strategies have worked for you in the past? Which ones will you now be implementing? As always, please consult with your family physician, in this case a Pediatrician for advice and guidance suited to your unique circumstances.
Until the best post,
Does your child have ADHD? Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is a common childhood mental health disorder that affects about 5% of children in America, according to the American Psychiatric Association. However, the diagnosis of ADHD has been on the rise for the last several years. It is an issue parents, educators, and Doctors all have to contend with.
ADHD is characterized by impulsivity, a lack of focus, and distractibility that are also sometimes intertwined and co-existing with other behavioral and/or developmental challenges. Dealing with an ADHD child can be frustrating, challenging, and confusing for parents as they try to grapple with the question of why their child just won’t “behave.”
Try these techniques to learn more about ADHD and how you can cope:
- Realize that the ADHD Brain is Different. Researchers and scientists have shown that the brain of children afflicted with ADHD has different characteristics which are responsible for the child’s symptoms.
- Once you accept that your child’s brain is simply wired differently, it becomes much easier for you to keep yourself in control, when faced with difficult and challenging behaviors.
- Imagine for a moment, you have a hundred different things vying for your attention without the self-control to devote your attention to just one of them.
- The result is what a child with ADHD experiences: something grabs their attention and they go after it. This isn’t their fault, but it’s the distractibility that scrambles their brain and makes it more difficult to focus.
- Respond consistently. One of the most important things you can do when parenting your ADHD child is to use consistency when communicating.
- This is sometimes tough for parents because this assumes that we’re always going to have the same tone of voice and not allow our own emotional states to affect what we’re trying to communicate.
- However, ADHD children need to hear the consistency in what we say and in our tone of voice.
- With an ADHD child, we cannot express our expectations about something on just one occasion. Rather, we need to communicate our expectations on every occasion in just the same manner.
- For example, instead of saying, “Would you please turn off the TV?,” a more effective approach would be to use the child’s name so they recognize that they are being told to do something. Use this same technique every time you want them to do something.
- Use token economies for incentives. This is a simple, yet consistent, behavior management approach that uses a token economy system to encourage appropriate behaviors.
- This will also let your ADHD child begin to learn what’s expected of him, and see that he gets rewarded when achieving those expectations.
- The basic idea behind this behavior management system is that the child receives a token for following a demand and then he can turn in those tokens for rewards.
- A token economy system can be as elaborate or as simple as you want it to be. You can use pennies, buttons, colored popsicle sticks, reward dollars, or any other number of objects as the tokens.
- The frequency of the rewards that you give out will depend on the nature of your individual child. A child that has immense difficulty following-through, for example, will require more rewards in the beginning to achieve the desired outcome.
- The idea is to eventually phase out the rewards or to spread them further apart so that the child doesn’t become dependent on them.
Parenting a child who has been diagnosed with ADHD is no easy task. It often requires help and assistance from multiple professionals, such as counselors and therapists, school staff, and special education teams.
Consistency, communication, and a behavior management system are all important keys to parenting success with an ADHD child. If you struggle with disciplining your child with ADHD, the next post would be of interest!
Until the next post,
Disorganization, impulsivity, and procrastination can create money problems for those with ADHD. It is not uncommon for sufferers to have high debt, and more arguments with significant others over money. It is a constant struggle, as the bills pile up. Here is an ADHD Money Management Action Guide.
Prioritizing: make a budget that drives your priorities.
- Gather a pen, paper and all of your bills or a bank statement.
- Write out your monthly household bills – estimate high for utilities.
- Include money for miscellaneous expenses and recreation.
- If you have pets, include an estimate for vet care, feeding, grooming, etc.
- Annual expenses are divided into monthly payments.
- Include 5-10% for savings, if possible.
- Pay off credit cards and loans with interest before savings.
- If you can, pay additional money on your mortgage, car payments and credit cards.
Planning: develop systems for managing your mail and paying bills.
- Set up a process for managing mail.
- Get three boxes or baskets, a recycling bin and a shredder.
- One box/basket is for bills, one for mail to read later and one for outgoing mail.
- Put these by the door where you get the mail.
- Sort the mail into boxes/baskets before putting it down elsewhere.
- Most of your mail will go in the recycling bin.
- Shred things with your name and identifying information.
- Set up a system for paying bills (Bill Pay through your bank is recommended).
- Figure out how you want to pay bills – monthly or twice each month.
- Set a day and put a reminder on your calendar or alarm on your phone.
- Get the bills due from your inbox, sit down and pay the bills without interruption.
- Repeat for each pay date.
Follow-through: use cash for things you usually pay for with debit/credit cards.
- Gather several envelopes.
- Label each one (gas, food, laundry, hair, pet care, recreation, miscellaneous, etc.).
- Put the amount of cash you have budgeted for each item in the envelope.
- Each time you buy something, use the money from that envelope.
- Try not to spend all of the money before you get paid again, and add it to your savings.
Your ADHD does not have to lead to financial disaster. You must have a plan. Of course, you might feel embarrassed, but you should not be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I hope you found these tips useful!
Until the next post,
In 2010, just two months after completing a three year BSc in Florida, I relocated to the UK, to commence my MSc. One year, 195 credits. Looking back, I wished I had taken the part time, two year option. It was one wild year! Though I did graduate with Merit, had I chosen the two year option, my final grade would have been with a Distinction- the highest in the British education system.
I remember the long sleepless nights. Not much time to date, even less to enjoy more of life. What if II had to contend with ADHD? Oh boy! It’s not easy for most people to study. It’s even more challenging for those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Those with ADHD have above normal levels of hyperactivity and a below normal ability to focus on a single task. This makes studying especially difficult for adults and children with ADHD. If you are enrolled in school, diagnosed with ADHD, perhaps the following strategies can make studying less challenging:
- Remove distractions. Most of us are easily distracted these days. Those with ADHD are even more susceptible. It’s worth the effort to create a place to study, devoid of distractions as much as possible. A completely bare room with a desk and maybe a clock is ideal. The fewer the number of distractions the better.
- Focus on one task at a time. No one is particularly good at switching back and forth between tasks. This is even more challenging for someone with ADHD. Choose a task and commit to working on it until either the task or the allocated time is complete. Then, take a break and move forward.
- Take regular breaks. There are people with very short attention spans that have accomplished amazing things by alternating 10-minute work periods with 10-20-minute breaks. A break doesn’t necessarily mean sitting there staring into space. It can be a good time to do a chore around the house, do some pushups, or call a friend.
- Find the right ratio of working time to break time for you. You’ll never know what works for you without experimenting. There’s a right combination for everyone.
- Avoid waiting until the last minute. Plan ahead. Look at your schedule and begin working on papers and studying for tests well in advance. Avoid the temptation to cram the night before. It’s a poor strategy for anyone, but can be even worse for someone with ADHD.
- Exercise. Exercise can help to bleed off some of the excess energy that can make it hard to sit still and get to work. It is a great remedy for a variety of ailments. Regular exercise can be a tremendous boost to your ability to focus and study.
- Try taking a nap. Naps are a wonderful tool for some but seem to help others very little. Again, experiment and see what works for you. Try short naps, long naps, and everything in between. A little sleep can reset your brain in a way that simply relaxing cannot.
- Schedule study time. Have a schedule that you stick to. A routine can be highly beneficial and ensure you don’t fall behind. Catching up is always challenging but is especially challenging for someone with an attention disorder.
- Talk to your school. Your school might have accommodations for students with learning challenges. You might be entitled to free tutors, altered testing conditions such as a private room, or additional time for tests. This is true from elementary school to college. You’ll never know if you don’t ask. What do you have to lose?
If you or someone you care about has ADHD, you know how challenging it can be to sit down, focus, and study. However, the tips above can help anyone to be more effective at studying whether they have ADHD or not!
The key is to experiment and to keep an open mind. The right solution might surprise you. Be sure to get in touch with an appropriate medical professional if a satisfactory result isn’t attained. The right medication, treatment, or expert advice can make a huge difference.
Until the next post, ADHD and Money Management,
More than two years ago, most of us experienced the sudden shift to remote and hybrid work. Undoubtedly, it has been a rocky road for many working adults. The challenge can be even greater if you have ADHD.
You were probably happy to say goodbye to your daily morning commute. On the other hand, you may now be dealing with new concerns like Zoom fatigue and feeling less connected. Your old routines have disappeared, and it’s difficult to concentrate.
How can you work productively and protect your mental health while you’re doing your job at home? Here is a short guide to hybrid work for adults with ADHD. I know, I know..where was this guide two years ago, when I needed it?!
Tips for Video Conferencing
Daily traffic rose 535% on Zoom in 2020. The increase in video conferencing is even greater when you take into account many companies use multiple platforms. Becoming comfortable with new ways of communicating is essential.
- Move around. Being on camera reduces your mobility, so you wind up feeling more restless. Walking around the room occasionally and sitting on a stability ball will help use up some energy.
- Stand back. The constant eye contact during video calls can be overstimulating. Stand or sit further away from your screen to increase your personal space. Watching yourself can be tiring too, so most platforms have options to turn off the self-view.
- Look away. Relieve mental and physical strain by shifting your gaze away from the screen periodically. Glance up or fix your eyes on an object in the distance.
- Use audio only. Be selective about turning your camera on. Assess your company’s rules and culture first to avoid causing any friction.
- Schedule breaks. Video calls can make a desk job even more sedentary. Pause at least once an hour to stretch and take deep breaths.
Tips for Other Hybrid Work Issues
When your boss and coworkers are miles away, it’s up to you to stay organized and motivated. Try these tips for developing coping strategies that will help you focus:
- Take your medication. Many adults diagnosed with ADHD take medication as part of their treatment plan. Follow your doctor’s recommendations to help control your symptoms even if you’re staying home more.
- Plan your day. Structuring your time makes it easier to regulate yourself. Set reasonable expectations and block out enough hours for your top priorities.
- Designate a workspace. Putting boundaries between your personal and professional responsibilities will help you avoid distractions. Turn a spare room into an office or tend to business in one corner of your dining room table.
- Clear away clutter. Messy surroundings lead to greater anxiety and wasted time. Clean up after yourself and get rid of possessions you no longer use.
- Add storage. Visit office supply and home furnishing websites to shop for organizing solutions. Maybe you’d rather use baskets than filing cabinets.
- Post reminders. Find ways to prompt your memory. Hang a chalkboard above your desk. Put sticky notes on your refrigerator door and bathroom mirror. Set alarms on your phone to remind you to go to meetings or move on to your next task.
- Find a partner. Do you miss the social support you had at the office? Ask a coworker or friend to help you stay on track. Check in with them each morning or lunch hour.
- End your day. You might forget to shut down when you live and work in the same place. Maintain balance by sticking to a reasonable quitting time.
For adults with ADHD, adjusting to hybrid work requires some thought and effort. However, there are advantages too. You may have more flexibility to structure your job in a way that reduces stress and allows you to make the most of your personal strengths.
Until the next post-How To Study When You Have ADHD,
Does your boss keep giving you the same feedback? You need to follow instructions and pay more attention to details. These could be signs that you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
More than 8 million adults struggle with ADHD. If you’re one of them, you may have trouble keeping track of multiple projects or even showing up for work on time. The symptoms can vary widely in intensity, and many cases go undiagnosed.
While ADHD can make getting and keeping a job more difficult, there are coping strategies and other resources that can help. Let’s get it!
ADHD in the Workplace:
- Limit distractions. A quiet environment will help you focus. If you don’t have access to a private office, maybe you can work in a conference room or turn your desk to the wall. Minimize interruptions too, like checking phone messages and email.
- Clear away clutter. Is your phone buried under piles of paper? Tidying up will save time looking for lost items and reduce anxiety.
- Plan your schedule. Managing time can be tough when you have ADHD. Use an app or a paper appointment diary to block out time for activities and meetings. Check your to do list during the day to ensure that you stay on track.
- Create reminders. You can also use technology or post-it notes to jog your memory. Set an alarm for staff meetings and write yourself messages about filling out timesheets and sending your boss a birthday card.
- Move around. Relieve restlessness by taking breaks. Go for a walk at lunch. Make phone calls standing up.
- Change roles. Maybe you can develop a career geared toward your personality. Many adults with ADHD flourish as entrepreneurs, using their creativity and energy.
- Boost your self-esteem. While you’re finding your path, remember ADHD can be frustrating. It can also cause misunderstandings with your colleagues. Build your confidence by taking care of your health and advocating for yourself.
More Help for ADHD:
- Tell your boss. ADHD is a condition recognized under the Americans with Disabilities Act. You may be able to arrange accommodations to make your work life more comfortable and productive.
- Consider disability benefits. If your symptoms are so severe that they prevent you from working, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) payments. Working with a lawyer can help you understand the process.
- Talk with your doctor. It’s important to get diagnosed if you think you may have ADHD. Your physician can recommend an appropriate treatment plan and helpful lifestyle changes.
- Consider medication. ADHD can often be managed with a combination of therapy and drugs. Your doctor may prescribe stimulants, as well antidepressants. If you’re unable to take stimulants, there are alternatives.
- Join a support group. As much as your family and friends try to help you, you may still want to talk with others who have similar symptoms and experiences. Organizations like Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) can help you find self-help groups online and in your community.
- Find a coach. What if you need some assistance with implementing what you learn? Working with a coach who specializes in ADHD can help you master new lifestyle skills.
Some very successful business leaders and celebrities have used their ADHD to their advantage, and so can you. Think of IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad, Micheal Phelps the GOAT Olympic Swimming Champ, or Gymnastics Great Simone Biles. Find a career that suits your strengths and ask for help when you need it.
Until the next post – A Hybrid Work Guide for Adults with ADHD,
May is here!
Hopefully, you are having a much better Spring weather.
If this is your first time stopping by, a big hearty WELCOME. To my faithful subscribers, you are appreciated! If you ever need to get in touch, please send a message using the Get In Touch tab. I respond to all messages within 24 hours. In continuing with the mental health series, ADHD is the focus for this month.
According to the American Psychiatric Association,Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental disorders affecting children. ADHD also affects many adults. Symptoms of ADHD include inattention (not being able to keep focus), hyperactivity (excess movement that is not fitting to the setting) and impulsivity (hasty acts that occur in the moment without thought). It is more common among boys than girls.
About 4-5% of the population were diagnosed with adult ADHD before the diagnostic criteria changed in 2013 to include adults. That number may be substantially higher now. 60% or more of those who have ADHD symptoms as children or teens continue to have these traits as adults, including those who were never officially diagnosed. Only 10% of adults with ADHD are currently getting treatment. (Russell Barkley, 2010)
Causes of ADHD
Lower activity levels in the Prefrontal Cortex where attention is controlled is believed to cause ADHD. The lower activity levels are caused by:
- Lack of Dopamine and Norepinephrine
- In less than 10% causes may be environmental, due to illness or head injury, including birth.
- Fewer than 5% of these are believed to be from use of alcohol, drugs or nicotine during pregnancy.
Previous DSM- IV guidelines specified that symptoms must be present before the age of 7; in the DSM-V, that has been changed to age 12.
- Adults need to exhibit five symptoms from at least one category, primarily hyperactive or primarily inattentive, or symptoms from both for the diagnosis of ADHD Combined Type.
- The symptoms must lead to impairment in at least two areas of life: work, relationships, social, financial, parenting, home, etc.
- Adults with ADHD must have symptoms present since childhood unless caused by a head injury or other trauma.
- The symptoms must occur in two or more settings.
- Many adults with ADHD were not diagnosed as children, but find they still have problems in adulthood. If the symptoms have been present since childhood, particularly problems in school with academics and/or behavior, is is possibly undiagnosed ADHD. (DSM-V, 2013)
- Many people have characteristics/traits, but do not show problems with executive functions.
- They may be very active and high energy, but do not interrupt others, losing track of thoughts, forget things, struggle with disorganized, have problems listening, etc.
- These people generally do not meet the criteria for ADHD, and should be evaluated for Anxiety, Bi Polar II or Cyclothymia.
Until the next post, Dealing with ADHD At Work,