Scared Your Good ADHD Habits Won’t Last?

After I have been working with a client for a little while and they have started to experience success, a strange phenomenon occurs. They enjoy the success at first, “I can’t believe I am finally doing this!” They are thrilled. I am thrilled!

Then fear and doubt creeps in, and they feel scared in case they can’t  keep the new habits and behavior. [Read more…]

Nature and ADHD

ICRIA1E6DEDid You Know There is a Positive Link Between Spending Time In Nature and ADHD?

Researchers at the University of Illinois found that 20 minutes in nature (green therapy) helps reduce unwanted symptoms of Adult ADHD among its participants. One of the reasons why green therapy works is because when you and your brain is in a relaxed place, your voluntary attention decreases (goaldirected attention) and your involuntary attention takes over, so your brain can rest and refresh itself.

Good news for city dwellers! the benefits of being outside in a green area were present, whether the participants were in a city park or a remote rural setting.

There are all sorts of ways to incorporate green time into your day, from a gentle stroll to something more adventurous. Here is a list of some activities you can do to while you are spending time in nature.

1. A stroll or gentle walk

2. Bike riding

3. Inline skating / skateboarding

4. Horseback riding

5. Growing a garden

6. Hiking

7. Canoeing

8. Fishing

9. Running

10. Flying a kite

11. Camping

12. Gardening

13. Yoga or Tai Chi (outside)

14. Bird watching

15. Walking your dog

 

Depending on where you live and your lifestyle, some of these activities, you will only be able to do at the weekend, while others are more accessible and you can do them every day. If you aren’t used to being outside in a green setting, slowly integrate it into your life, until its part of your daily routine.

Remember, its important to be in a green setting and not just outside: The greener and more natural the environment, the bigger the reduction in ADHD symptoms.


Action Steps for Spending Time in Nature

1.     Have at least 20 minutes of green time a day (but there is no maximum).

2.     Try every item on the list once, just for fun.

3.     On days that you aren’t able to go outside, notice and compare how you feel and function to those days that you are outside.

How do you spend time in nature?

 

ADHD Checklists. A Simple Way to Feel Organized

checklistA few years ago, as I was flying back to Montreal after visiting my family in England, I was catching a short flight from England to Paris, followed by a long haul flight from Paris to Montreal.

When I climbed on board the airplane in England, someone was sitting in my seat. The air stewardess asked me to wait until all the passengers had boarded then she would find me another seat. Meanwhile, the pilot and copilot walked onto the plane and invited to me to join them in the cockpit (as this was a before 9/11). Sitting in the jump seat, I had the best flight ever. It was a bit like a fair ground ride. As exciting as the experience was for me, it was all in days work for the pilot and copilot. They were chatting to me and each other about regular things such as going to Tescos  that evening to pick up groceries.

Taking off and landing required their full attention. Though before takeoff, they explained they couldn’t chat with me for a while. Then, the copilot pulled out a binder full of checklists and methodically read out each line while the pilot physically checked out each item on the airplanes dashboard.

When I was a nurse, we used checklists too. Before a patient is escorted from the ward to surgery, a nurse uses a pre-op checklist. They check the patients hospital ID, that they have the right notes and xrays, that all jewelry and false teeth have been removed. Each item on the checklist is designed to help keep the patient safe during surgery.

With all the modern technology available these days, a simple checklist can get overlooked because it seems like a basic tool. Nevertheless, basic can be powerful!

As someone living with ADHD, you can use checklists to your advantage. They make you feel organized, competent, support your memory and help you to use your time more effectively.

Here are some suggestions of how to use checklist.

*Have checklists on the front door, with all the items you need for the day. Phone, wallet, keys, lunch, bus pass etc.

*Have checklist of actions for daily routines. For example, your morning routine checklist might include shower, shave, eat breakfast, take meds, clean teeth, etc.

*If you have a hobby where you need to remember a lot of items, a checklist is very handy.

*For tasks you dont do every often, such as taxes, create a checklist. Your list will help you break any resist or overwhelm you feel in starting these task, because you know exactly what actions you need to do.

*At work, there might be multistep tasks, where it is easy to get distracted or lost. Having a checklist helps you see a task through to completion.

*Is there another area of your life where you would like to feel more organized? If so, write a checklist!

Some ADHDers feel that they shouldnt need a checklist to remember to do basic things like getting ready in the morning. Or at work, you might feel silly because no one else has one. Still, there is no shame in having a checklist and just because they dont have one, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t benefit from having one! 🙂 Checklists help you to feel and look highly organized.

Where do you keep your checklists?

You could keep them in a binder like the copilot did. Or you could tape them in convenient places around your home or office. For lists you dont use very often, you could keep it in your computer and print it out when you need it; for example,tax session.

How do you make a checklist?

Some things like your morning routine, you might be able to write it out from memory. For more complicated lists, such as for taxes, have a pen and paper nearby as you are doing the task and write down key steps in real time. Then, you have the list for the future.

After completing your checklist, try it out a few times, and make any alterations. Then, when you have a final list, type it out and keep it in a plastic envelope, or even get it laminated to keep it clean.

In The Checklist Manifesto, author Atul Gawande, identifies some key points to help you draw up an effective checklist:

1.     Have five to nine items. (You dont need to include things you do automatically; just the things that get missed.)

2.     Have all the items on one page.

3.     Keep the list clutter-free.

4.     Use upper and lower case text (as its easier to read).

5.     Choose a font that you can read easily.

What checklists are you going to make?

 

 

Interview with ADD and Loving it Star

While I was at the CHADD conference, I interviewed Patrick McKenna.

Patrick stars in the famous “ADHD and Loving It” documentary. As well as being incredibly funny, he is also very smart! In this interview, he explains that doing what you are naturally good at, helps your self esteem and allows you to be successful in your chosen field.

Another one of Patrick’s secret to success is to embrace and love all of who you are, including your ADD. Don’t worry about wasted time in the past . . . today is the perfect day to step forward and start implementing these suggestions.

I was particularly excited to talk to Patrick as a growing number of my clients realized they had ADD after watching the “ADHD and Loving It” documentary. They had always realized they were different, but didn’t know exactly why until watching the documentary. This is a common experience of people across North America… Patrick and his co-star Rick are changing people’s lives.

Want to see more interviews from the CHADD conference? Head over to: http://budurl.com/w9yj where myself and business partner Marcia Hoeck interview more experts.

Learn more about the FAB work Patrick is doing at Totally ADD!

Do You Feel ‘Behind’ In Life?

do you feel left behind in lifeA common complaint or worry people with ADHD is that they feel ‘behind’ in life. Their peers seem to be racing ahead and they don’t feel they are where they should be as they pass age milestones. The truth is everyone feels they are ‘behind’ in life to some degree, but people with ADHD seem to feel it more keenly. Perhaps because some things do take them longer (e.g. graduating from University because they take fewer classes each semester) or because their self esteem and confidence is lower.

In a world where the media portrayal of what normal is has us all graduating from University at 21 years old, advancing up the corporate ladder in our mid 20’s and happily married with children at 30. It’s good to know to that the world is changing and there is a new type of normal.

Working life
People no longer work Monday to Friday, 9-5 in the same job until they retire at 65 years old. Today we have more career changes than past generations. There is flex time, satellite offices and stay-at-home-dads. You can be a self made multi-millionaire in your early 20’s (for example Facebook’s Mark Zucherberg) and keep working because you love it into your 90’s.

Parenting
Traditionally, parents were of the opposite sex and had children in the ‘peak birth rate years’ of 20- 24. Now there is an increasing number of first time parents in their 40’s and it is no longer taboo to be a single parent. Elton John is the perfect example that you can be a new parent whatever our age or sexuality.

Marriage
The average age for first marriages is getting higher and higher. At the moment, it is 28 years old for men and 26 years for women.

What does this have to do with ADHD? I wanted to illustrate that the old linear way of living isn’t the norm any more. We have more freedom to make choices based on what suits us than ever before. You are never behind; there is no rule that you are a certain age when you should get married, or buy a house, or have a particular position at work.

When you free yourself from these norms you give yourself permission to live your life at a pace that works for you will thrive. When you have ADHD it’s important to do what makes you tick, to listen to your internal messages rather than any external messages. If you do this, you will experience more happiness and success than ever before.