Info on ADHD

Welcome to the Untapped Brilliance Blog! I am Jacqueline Sinfield the ADHD coach for Adults. On this blog you will find tons of info on ADHD. One the most common sentence I hear from clients is ‘I have so much potential but I just can’t seem to reach it’.  I wrote the ADHD book Untapped Brilliance: How to Reach Your Full Potential as an Adult with ADHD to answer that very question. Untapped Brilliance outlines simple yet highly effective, alternative ways to minimize your unwanted ADHD symptoms so that your wonderful gifts can shine brightly. When that happens, not only are you able to reach your potential, but your life also becomes way less stressful and lots more fun.

The articles here on the blog are all a reflection of my ADHD Coaching philosophy. I am really excited to share with you loads of info on ADHD, and proven strategies that are super effective in minimizing your negative aspects of ADHD so that your magnificent gifts can shine brightly and you too can reach your potential!

Don’t forget to leave questions or comments as I love hearing from you

How Does Vitamin D Help ADHD?

sunflower-1009291_640Vitamin D is a superhero among vitamins! Yet it is only recently that we realize it had super powers. 20 years ago, we thought Vitamins Ds job was to make strong bones, because of its role in regulating calcium. Now we know Vitamin D plays a much bigger role than just our bones. It has a vital part in our physical, mental and psychological well being.

Vitamin D is the only Vitamin that is a hormone and each tissue in the body has Vitamin D receptors. Vitamin D is needed by every part of our body, including our brain, heart and immune system, so that we can operate at our best. Having optimum levels of Vitamin D protects against many illnesses and diseases including depression, flu, cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimers and much more.

Despite being so important, vitamin D levels in the general population are at an all time low. One of the leading reasons for this is because in the 1980s, we started to use more sunscreen. Optimum levels for a healthy person is 50 nanograms /ml. However, most people living in the modern world don’t meet these requirements.

Why is Vitamin D important when you have ADHD?

There is a connection between ADHD and low Vitamin D levels. A recent study found that Vitamin D deficiency was seen more in children with ADHD than in the control group. In children with ADHD, the average vitamin D level was 16.6 ng/ml; in contrast, in children without ADHD, it was at 23.5 ng/ml.

Here are 4 reasons why keeping your Vitamin D levels within the recommended range is extra important when you have ADHD.

Vitamin D:

  • Increases dopamine and norepinephine levels, which reduces the negative symptoms of ADHD) 
  • Increases production of Acetylcholine, which helps you to maintain focus, and concentration 
  • Encourages the growth of nerve cells for memory storage and executive function; both of which can be problematic when you have ADHD 
  • Is involved in the release of serotonin, which helps with depression and SAD: 2 conditions that people with ADHD can struggle with

Your Vitamin D action plan!

1)     Find out what your Vitamin D levels are.

Do you know what your Vitamin D level is?  Most people dont know what theirs is because testing isn’t routinely done by your doctor. However, you can ask to be tested! There are 2 test options. The best one for checking your overall Vitamin levels is the 25 (OH)D test; also called 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

2)     Create a plan to increase your levels.

It will probably involve spending more time in the sunlight (though be careful not to burn) and taking a supplement.
Taking a Vitamin D3 has been found to be more helpful in raising and keeping vitamin levels at a healthy level than D2.

How much should you take?

The recommended amount seems to vary depending who you ask!
From 600IU to 2,000 IU, and much higher. It would be best to consult with your doctor and get a personalized recommendation based on your current Vitamin D levels, your weight, skin type as well as your general health and the meds you are on.

3)     Recheck your levels

After you have implemented your plan for a period of time (e.g 6 months), get your levels rechecked to see if there has been an improvement. In addition to the test results, after a short period of time, you will (hopefully) notice improvement to your mood, memory, attention, etc.

Will My Child Inherit ADHD?…And more!

Jacqui on about.comHere is a roundup of my latest 6 articles on About.com as their ADD and ADHD expert! You could read them all, or pick the ones that sound the most interesting to you.

Will My Child Inherit ADHD?

If you are a parent diagnosed with ADHD a big concern is ‘Will my children have ADHD too?’ Here are 3 suggestions to help in this stressful time

Click here to read the full article.

Book Review. Natural Relief for Adult ADHD

Book Review of ‘Natural Relief for Adult ADHD’ author Stephanie Sarkis looks at complementary ways to treat and manage your ADHD

Click here to read the full article.

How to Deal With Boredom When You Have ADHD

Boredom is one of the things people with ADHD fear the most and will go to great lengths to avoid it. Here are 3 tips to avoid boredom.

Click here to read the full article.

Help! My Partner has been diagnosed with ADHD

If you are struggling with your partner’s ADHD diagnosis, here are the answers to 3 common questions.

Click here to read the full article.

Why didn’t I know my child has ADHD?

When a child is diagnosed with ADHD, parents wonder why they didn’t notice ADHD symptoms before. Here are 5 reasons.

Click here to read the full article.

 

 

Do You Sabotage Yourself Like This Too?

flower-767599_640When you are treating and managing your ADHD, it will almost certainly involve you making some lifestyle changes. Perhaps changing the way you eat, exercising every day, and taking an omega 3 supplement, going to bed before midnight, etc.

When you make those changes, an interesting phenomenon happens.

1.     You feel excited and proud of yourself because you are consistently taking actions that help your ADHD.


2.     These new habits help your ADHD. You feel more in control, less frazzled and able to focus and concentrate more. High fives!


3.     You start to worry about how other people are able to manage their ADHD.

 Concerns about how other people manage their ADHD vary, but here are some common ones.

 

·  Its fine for me, but what about the moms with small children? How would they have the time to do this?

·  I can do this because I make a good income, but what about the people with ADHD who dont make as much money as me?

·  I am lucky because I have a supportive partner; but what about people who are single? How do they do this?

·  I have an understanding boss. But what about those people who have strict bosses? How do they keep their jobs?

 Even though you are a kind person and care about others, these worries arent about anyone else, it is about you. Its a clever way to sabotage your success.

Let’s take an example of Ken (not his real name). He tried many times to exercise on his own and as a last resorthired a personal trainer. It worked! Ken was thrilled about being able to exercise regularly, his annoying ADHD traits reduced, he lost weightso he was on cloud nine. Then, 3 months later, he stopped working with the trainer. He told himself that other people with ADHD couldn’t afford a trainer, but they still managed to exercise; so he should be able to as well. Ken hasnt been back to the gym since.

Kens story is a classic example of this selfsabotage behaviour. Because you arent use to feeling calm and organized, you feel guilty, selfish or that you dont deserve to feel this good. You create a way to bring yourself back to your comfort zone of being disorganized. Gay Hendricks calls it an “Upper Limit problem.

Those people who you imagine, dont actually exist. Everyone has a unique situation. So the chances of someone having the exact situation as you, with the additional problems that you are imagining, are highly improbable.

Also, dont presume the way that works for you and your ADHD would work for everyone.

In Kens case, training with a personal trainer solved his problem of exercising regularly. However some people love exercise so much, they cant wait to get to the gym. Others would much rather go to a Kung Fu class or exercise alone than work with someone one-to-one.

If you have found something that works for you, keep doing it!!! Recognize those thoughts and worries for what they are:  Self Sabotage. Stopping something that works for you doesn’t help those ‘moms with young children, etc.  All it does is stop you from treating your ADHD and reaching your potential.

 

 

Does ADHD Ever Go Away?

CarIf you are diagnosed with ADHD, it’s something you have for life. This might seem like bad news if you are struggling right now. However, it doesn’t need to be!

Some people manage and treat their ADHD so well; they think they must have outgrown it.

They havent; instead, they created a life that works to their advantage. Problems related to their ADHD are camouflaged so well they seem to have disappeared. For some people, this happened almost by accident, while others worked hard to design their life to suit them.

Here are some tips so that you can do this too!

Work Environment

Your work environment is one of the most important areas of your life, because you spend a lot of your time there. Be sure to match your job to your strengths and personality.

At school, many hyperactive children get into trouble for not being able to sit still and instead, talking to their friends. Working in an office and sitting at a desk for 8 hours would be torture. Yet a sales job where you travel around and visit clients in their offices and no 2 days are the same, would be great because you are getting paid to do what you love.

People with inattentive ADHD often get feedback that they are ‘slow’ and take too long to perform a task. Rather than having a job where speed is required, work somewhere that your pace is seen as an asset. Instead of criticism, you would hear, ‘wow, they are so conscientious and patient; they have all the time in the world for their clients.

Many people with ADHD struggle to wake up in the morning. Instead of working someplace where they start at 7:30 am and being reprimanded for being late, they work at jobs where they have flexi time, or where the work culture starts later and finishes later than the traditional 9-5.

Life style

When you directly treat and manage your ADHD, the symptoms reduce. Daily exercise, eating protein for breakfast and taking Omega 3, getting enough sleep and meditation are all super helpful. The trick to doing these things everyday is either make them so fun you cant wait to do them, or they become so part of your routine, they happen automatically, like brushing your teeth.

People

Spend time with people who think you are awesome! Spend zero time with people who criticize you or put you down. All your life, you might have heard that you were ‘too sensitive for your own good’ or have ‘too much energy’ or ‘ you talk enough for 2 people.

Everything is relative. Rather than hanging out with people that grumble about your energy, spend time with people that are impressed with it or have even more than you do.

I know some people with ADHD who are quiet and find making conversation hard work. Their favourite type of person is someone who loves to talk.

When you are with people who love you just as you are, you will feel more valued and loved. You stop feeling bad about yourself. Then, something really crazy happens! Your ADHD improves!
When you are trying to avoid criticism by being on your best behaviour
, your ADHD gets worse. But when you are relaxed and happy, it improves. Isnt that a silver lining?

Your Mindset

When you are comfortable with yourself and your ADHD
, you dont mind when you make mistakes. You deal with it matteroffactly. If you lose your wallet, you phone the bank and cancel your cards. If you forget where you parked your car, you look for it. You dont get mad about it, or talk to yourself so meanly that it takes weeks to recover. You manage your ADHD, learn strategies and tricks to help you. So then, when something happens, you can trust yourself to handle it and you dont see it as a personal failing.

What do you do that helps your ADHD ‘disappear?’

7 Tips to Avoid Post Holiday Blues

Stocksy_txpa8712e54wpk000_Small_472571There are some people with ADHD who dont like the holidays and cant wait to get back to normal. There are other ADHDers who find the holidays exciting and enjoy every moment; but then, when they are over, they experience a big emotional low.

The build up to the holidays seems to start right after Halloween. So that means 2 full months of parties, shopping trips for presents and outfits, decorations to put up, elaborate cooking and family traditions.
Once midnight has chimed on New Year’s 
Eve, and the popping of corks comes to an end, it is back to normal. Life can feel flat and ordinary.

Many people with ADHD feel depressed after big events or after achieving a goal. The holidays and New Years celebrations are no exception.  It doesn’t help that January is cold dark month and you might have S.A.D.

If you experience an emotional low or depression after the holidays, here are 7 suggestions to stop that from happening… or minimize it.

 1.     Have Something to Look Forward to

Start planning some events to look forward to in January, February and March.
Plan one thing for each month that will take your focus off the ending of the holidays and on the new thing.

2.     Set Goals

Rather than setting New Year’s Resolutions, set goals instead. Having a goal to channel your energy and focus really helps override low moods. It doesn’t matter what the goal is: declutter your home, lose weight, train for a race, or something completely different!

 3.     Tidy Up

Pack all your holiday decorations away. Many people with ADHD procrastinate packing their holiday decorations away and leave them up month after month. Rather than prolonging the holiday mood, it can add to your sadness. Set your timer and put everything away.

 4.     Put Your New Belongings Away

If you have presents or new items from the sales, put them away too. Having clutter lying around increases the risk of depression. You could also donate belongings you dont use; because it creates space and shifts your energy.

5.     Assess Your Life

Often, the people who experience the post holiday slump the most, are the ones who dont enjoy their daily lives. If this is you, what is it about your life you dont enjoy? Your job? Being single? Your commute? Your unmanaged ADHD? Whatever it is, there are ways to improve the situation.  Make a commitment to yourself that you will make big changes to your life this year.

6.     What IIAbout The Holidays You Enjoy?

Another good thing to assess is what is it about the holiday you enjoy? Is it that you get to go out more than usual? Spend more time with your family? Or something else? Next, work out how you can include more of those things in your day to day life.

 7.     Review Your Year

Look at the last 12 months and write down everything you did and accomplished. Think of at least 25 things. If you would like to share them, add them in the comments section below. People with ADHD have a tendency to focus on what they didnt do and that makes you feel bad about yourself. Celebrating your accomplishments, even small ones, makes you feel good about yourself and happy. Happy is a great way to start the New Year!!!!

7 Ways to Make This Your Best ADHD Year Ever…and More!

Jacqui on about.comHere is a roundup of my latest 6 articles on About.com as their ADD and ADHD expert! You could read them all, or pick the ones that sound the most interesting to you.

7 Ways to Make This Your Best ADHD Year Ever

Here are 7 ways to help manage your ADHD, so 2016 will be your best year yet!

Click here to read the full article.

ADHD Tip: How to meal plan in minutes.

Meal planning can cause anxiety and overwhelm for many people living with ADHD. Here is a simple stress-free way to meal plan.

Click here to read the full article.

How to Navigate Social Gatherings. 6 ADHD Friendly Tips

Many people with ADHD find social events challenging. Even though they aren’t your favourite thing, here are 6 ways to successfully navigate them.

Click here to read the full article.

Do You Need to Cut Down Your Drinking?

If you are living with ADHD, assessing your drinking habits is a good idea because there is a higher chance of addiction in people with ADHD compared to people without ADHD

Click here to read the full article.

5 ADHD Christmas Survival Tips

Many people love the holidays: However, when you are living with ADHD, holidays have a darker side too. Here are 6 ADHD Christmas Survival tips!

Click here to read the full article.

6 ADHD friendly Tips to Eat Less Sugar.

ADHD symptoms seem to work against eating a healthy diet! Here are 6 tips to reduce sugar in your diet when you are living with ADHD.

Click here to read the full article.

 

ADHD and Letting People Down

origami-827901_640Here are 5 common reasons why people with ADHD ‘let people down’, even though you don’t mean to.

  1. Forgetfulness
    ADHD affects memory. This means you forget things including: important meetings, birthdays, events, errands you were going to run. When you realize you forgot something, you probably feel awful and try to make it up to the people involved.

2) Miss Deadlines
When you have you have ADHD, a deadline can make you hustle. As the deadline approaches, you are able to work with laser-like focus and clarity. You might pull an all-nighter, and clear your schedule to meet this deadline. But not always.Sometimes a deadline will be approaching, and you just can’t make yourself take action. The deadline comes and goes and you feel really bad.It’s not that you forgot; it’s been consuming your mind for days. When you miss deadlines and other people are involved, they feel let down, annoyed or angry.

3) Cancel at the Last Minute
You have a plan to go to an event and then you have to cancel last minute.This might be because you have a deadline to meet for work, or your car ran out of gas and you are stranded. Maybe it’s because you planned it a long time ago and your excitement and motivation to go isn’t there anymore. When you cancel repeatedly (even when there is a good reason), it upsets people and they feel like you don’t care.

4) Over-Committing
Over-committing often happens because your intentions are good. You get multiple invites for one evening and rather than letting people down, you say ‘yes’ to everyone. However, this can cause the very thing you were trying to avoid. People do feel let down, because you didn’t stay long, or you were stressed and distracted while you were with them (perhaps checking your phone to reassure the next person you will be there soon).

5) Motivation
Dr. Russell Barkley says ADHD is less about attention and more about motivation. This means unless you are motivated to do something, it’s very hard to take action. In the morning, you might tell your spouse, that you will take the trash out, cook supper, or do the laundry. But when you get home from work, you aren’t motivated to do anything. They feel let down or that ‘you never do anything you say you will’. You feel bad about the situation and that you hurt someone you love.

Negative Consequences

When you feel you are constantly letting people down, it affects your self-esteem and puts you at a mental disadvantage. You feel you ‘owe’ the other person for these repeated ‘let downs’, so you tolerate behaviour from them that isn’t usually acceptable. They might put you down, or say mean things, or have an affair, etc. Because you feel you are to blame, you tolerate it.

You might agree to things you wouldn’t usually agree to, to ‘make up’ for your behaviour. For example, you agree to help them move, when you hate moving, or go on holiday to a location you know you dislike. When you do this, your ADHD symptoms get worse, which can create more problems.

It’s time to make a change!

Actions speak louder than words. Don’t try to convince people you are going to change. You don’t need their belief or support. You just need to believe in yourself AND a plan of action. Taking consistent action is how you will see different results.

Here are 6 suggestions for you to stop letting people down and start feeling great about yourself!

  1. Use External Memory Aids
    For example: a daytime planner, online calendar, reminders on your phone. They all support your memory.
  2. Become an Excellent Planner
    You might not be a natural born planner, but it is a skill you can develop. When you plan your day, week and month, you get a realistic idea of what is possible. It also helps you to be prepared. For example, you can plan a time to stop to buy gas if you have a long trip.
  3. Create Systems and Habits
    Habits are great way to override memory and motivation problems. When something becomes a habit, you do it automatically. For example, checking your calendar on Fridays to see who has a birthday next week.
  4. It’s Ok to Say No
    People would rather hear a no, than a yes followed by a cancellation. The first time you say no, it might feel scary, but after a few times, you will become a pro.
  5. Yes Means Yes
    If you get an invitation, check with your calendar. If you have time and want to go, say yes. Then do whatever it takes to be there. That might mean saying no to more exciting offers, leaving work early or going even if you don’t feel like it. However, this is how you will get a reputation of being reliable.
  6. Motivation
    When you start to upgrade your life using the previous suggestions, you will get a clearer idea of what you genuinely enjoy doing (the things you are motivated to do) and what you are doing out of guilt. Now, stop doing activities out of guilt! There will still be tasks you don’t feel motivated to do that need to be done. E.g. housework. For these, set up a reward system, use your timer to create a sense of urgency and turn it into a game.

 

What do you do so you don’t let people down?

Self-esteem in ADHD Adults and More

Jacqui on about.comHere is a roundup of my latest 6 articles on About.com as their ADD and ADHD expert! You could read them all, or pick the ones that sound the most interesting to you.

Self-esteem in ADHD Adults

Self-esteem is how you view of yourself. It’s your personal evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses. Here are 5 ADHD friendly ways to improve your self-esteem.

Click here to read the full article.

ADHD and Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback is biofeedback for the brain. Here is a brief introduction to neurofeedback and ADHD.

Click here to read the full article.

5 Tips to Help You Understand Your ADHD Date.

Dating a person with ADHD, can be confusing!. Many ADHD behaviors make it look like your date isn’t interested in you, even when they are!

Click here to read the full article.

5 Tips for a Happy Relationship with Your ADHD Partner

After you have successfully navigated the dating phase, you and your ADHD date become a couple. Here are 5 tips to help you have a happy relationship with your ADHD partner.

Click here to read the full article.

How to Enjoy Thanksgiving When You Have ADHD

Many people living with ADHD feel stressed, unsettled and overwhelmed during Thanksgiving. However, it is possible to enjoy Thanksgiving when you have ADHD. Here are 6 suggestions!

Click here to read the full article.

Book Review. ADHD: What Everyone Needs to Know.

Book Review. ADHD: What Everyone Needs to Know. Authors Stephen P. Hinshaw and Katherine Ellison systematically answer all your burning questions about ADHD.

Click here to read the full article.

The ADHD Holiday Wish List

PresentsIt’s December! Before we know it, the holidays will be here!

If your mind usually goes blank when a loved one asks what you would like for Christmas, this wish list will give you ideas. The 10 items will help you and your ADHD, so that 2016 is a really awesome year for you.

  1. Gift Card for Audible .com
    Many people with ADHD can’t read a whole book. In fact, sometimes reading just a few pages is challenging;which is why audiobooks are so perfect for you. Audible.com has the audio verison of (almost) every book, no matter what gene you enjoy; from fiction, biographies, self- help books, to business. You can listen while you are driving, working out, or doing housework. In fact, listening to a book is a great way to make mundane tasks more enjoyable :)
  2. Watch
    Does time seem to travel differently for you?  Do you often arrive late for appointments?  Then, a wrist watch is the perfect gift as it helps you to become more familiar with the passage of time. It doesn’t need to be a fancy one, if you are worried you will lose it. The best type of watch for ADHDers, is analog rather than digital and one with numbers (not stylized), so it’s easy to read.
  3. Eye Mask
    An eye mask, (like the ones they give you on a plane) is great if you have problems sleeping.  When you climb into bed, get into the habit of popping your mask on. It blocks out light that comes into your bedroom via your curtains or gadgets. This light interferes with your melatonin production, and makes it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. People with ADHD are light sleepers and so, a small thing like an eye mask can make a big difference in the quality of your sleep.
  4. Fitbit
    We know that exercise helps reduce ADHD symptoms, but making exercise a daily part of your life can be challenging. Using a Fitbit (a posh pedometer) to track how many steps you take every day is a great way to see how active or inactive you are. You will be motivated to come up with all sorts of ways to increase your daily step count. It turns exercise into a game!
  5. Water Bottle
    Making sure you are well ‘watered’ is essential for your ADHD brain to work at its best. Without enough water,your concentration will become shorter, your memory worse, and your productivity reduced. Having a bottle water to carry around, makes it easy to remember to drink and monitor the quantity. This is my water bottle. I know when I have drank 6 of these, I have reached my goal of water quota for the day.
  6. Alarm Clock
    A Full Spectrum Light Alarm Clock is a state of the art alarm clock! It has a light that gets brighter and brighter rather like the sun rising, so that you wake up gradually. This is particularly good for people who are grumpy when they are woken up abruptly. There are many on the market, with all different features to meet your needs. A quick Google search will help you choose yours.
  7. Gift of time
    If you have a friend or family member who has a good dress sense, ask them to gift you 3 hours of their time to help you organize your closet. Getting dressed in the morning can be really painful when you have ADHD and a great way to take the pain away is to declutter your closet and do some outfit planning.Give your friend permission to be brutally honest. Try on every item of clothing and decide if it should stay or go.  With the clothes you decided to keep, create outfits. You could even take photos of these outfits as a reminder. Then in the morning, all the decisions have been made and you can get dressed quickly.
  8. Slow Cooker
    There is a direct link between the food we eat and how well our brain operates. A healthy diet can help minimize the negative effects of ADHD. Cooking at home is the best way to know what you are eating. However, meal planning and food preparation is tricky when you are living with ADHD. That is why a slow cooker is a key piece of equipment in every ADHDer’s kitchen. They make eating healthy and tasty meals simple and effortless. If you get one, email me and I will send you my top 5 slow cooker recipes.
  9. Cleaning Service Voucher
    Using a cleaning service doesn’t need to be a weekly commitment. A cleaning company can do a deep clean in 4 hours. They will do the parts of your home that you never have time to do. Don’t feel shy to ask for this! There is no shame. Housework and ADHD are a known mismatch. This will probably be your best gift. :)
  10. Daytime Planner
    Using a daytime planner is a gift that keeps on giving! That little book helps improve your memory, your time and organization abilities. The key to its success is to look at it at least once a day. When you have ADHD, the best daytime planner layout is one where you can see the whole week at a glance and each day has hourly segments.