Your ADHD Health Overhaul!

kit-1704526_640When you have ADHD, it is easy to forget that your ADHD is just one part of you.  All of your time can be spent thinking of ways to manage your unwanted ADHD traits and leave no time to take care of the rest of you, including your physical health.

Taking care of your physical health is extra important when you have ADHD as statistics show that people with ADHD are more likely to have stress related illnesses, be overweight and develop diabetes than someone without ADHD.

ADHD symptoms can cause problems too. Procrastination, fear of picking up the phone or feeling ashamed that it has been a long time since your last appointment are just a few reasons why it can be hard to book appointments.

This is why once a year it’s good to have a health overhaul! This is where you take care of  all your health worries, as well as routine health appointments that might have been forgotten.

This time of year is perfect to do your health overhaul because the New Year brings with it a fresh energy and there are lots of visual reminders on the web and magazine stands to focus on your health.

There are 10 steps for your health overhaul:

1. Mentally Scan Your Body

Do a mental scan of  your body from head to toe, and write down which doctors you need to visit. Here are some examples of doctors that might be on your list:

  • Optician
  • Dentist
  • Gynecologist
  • General doctor (for an annual check-up)

Include your own special health needs, for example, a podiatrist for your feet, a dermatologist if you have any worries about moles, etc.

Your list might include alternative practitioners, such as a chiropractor or acupuncturist.

If you haven’t visited a health professional for a long time, don’t feel guilty or ashamed. It’s better to visit now and address the problem head-on than to feel bad about yourself every time the thought pops into your head.  I went to see my chiropractor for the first time in 5 years and both him and the receptionist were very happy to see me. Yours will be too!

2. Facing Resistance Head On.

Often resistance to booking an appointment comes from a few reasons.

Not having the telephone number nearby.

This is an easy fix. Hunt the number down and write it next to the doctor’s name.

You don’t like your doctor 

If you have a doctor that you don’t enjoy visiting, whether it’s because the receptionist is rude or the doctor’s style doesn’t resonate with you, it’s time to find a new one. Ask friends, family or coworkers for recommendations. Or, if you have one doctor or health professional you like, ask them for a recommendation.

3. Making Time

Appointments do take time away from your usual daily activities. Before making the call, look at your calendar and decide what days or time of day is best for you, such as lunchtime or right after work. It’s probably not a good idea to see everyone in one week – you will be worn out! However, you could make a personal goal to see one doctor a week until you have seen everyone.

4. Pick Up The Phone!

Now it is time to phone. Schedule 30 minutes when you can phone each number on your list. If you hate using the phone, the first call will be the worst. However, once you have made the first call, you will feel elation/relief and the next will be much easier.

5. Write Down the Time and Date

Write down the time and date of your appointment into your calendar so you don’t forget it.

6. Go Prepared

Once you have your appointments scheduled, start to jot down the questions you want to ask each doctor. This way you don’t have to rely on your memory when you are face-to-face with your doctor.

7.  Entertainment

Take something with you that is fun to do in the waiting room.  A book to read or a sudoku puzzle, whatever is fun for you. Waiting times can be long, so have something interesting and compelling to ward off boredom (which is agony when you have ADHD).

8. Follow up

After your appointment, there is often some follow up action, perhaps another appointment in a month or going to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription. Whatever the follow up action is, do it right away.

9. Book Now

If at all possible book your next appointment. For example, if your next check-up is in 6 or 12 months, book it before you leave the doctor’s office. This prevents long delays between appointments.

10. Keep Your Receipts

Keep your receipts safe! You might be able to claim your visit on your health insurance or include them in your taxes.

Great job! You are all set for another year!!!

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?

 

Why is Omega 3 Important When You Have ADHD?

Did you know that people with ADHD have less omega-3 in their bodies than people without ADHD?  Low levels of omega-3 can result in poor attention, focus, working memory issues and mood swings, all of which are very much like ADHD symptoms.
omega 3 and omega 6 for adhd

Of course, low levels of Omega-3 do not cause ADHD, nor does increasing your omega-3 levels cure ADHD.  However, researchers have found that taking a supplement does improve ADHD symptoms.

7 Benefits of Taking Omega-3

*Improves classic ADHD symptoms. For example it increases focus and attention.

*Increases memory, motivation and learning. Watch this compelling video about how omega-3’s helped transform Elliot’s life.

*Reduces feeling blue or depression. This is one of the biggest benefits clients report to me.

* Can help reduce symptoms of conditions that often co-exist with ADHD, such as  anxiety.

* Improvement in PMS symptoms. This is great news for ADHD women as many struggle with PMS and an increase in their ADHD symptoms.

* Might reduce the side effects of stimulant ADHD medication. Talk with your doctor before taking omega-3 with your prescribed medication.

* Better quality sleep.

What Exactly is Omega-3?

Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid. They are aptly named ‘essential’ because they are vital for your health.  They keep our brain and nerves working well and are used to build new cells.  Since our bodies cannot produce this type of fat, we need to make a conscious effort to consume it.

The main categories of essential fats are omega-3 and –omega-6. If you are eating a typical western diet, you don’t need to worry about getting enough omega-6. You will already be getting lots from rapeseed soybean and sunflower seed oil.

However, it is much harder to get enough omega-3 without careful planning.

The ratio between omega-6 and omega-3 is also very important.  One hundred years ago, the ratio between the two fats in the average person’s diet were 1:1; now our average ratio is around 20:1, weighted towards omega-6.

Omega-3

There are 3 types of omega-3 fats: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

DHA is found in cold water fish, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel and rainbow trout.

EPA is also found in fish; however, the fish don’t produce it; instead they get it from eating algae.

ALA is found mainly in seed oils like flaxseed.  Our bodies then convert it to DHA and EPA.

Do I need to Take a Supplement?

Since Omega-3 has so many benefits when you have ADHD, and because it is quite hard to get enough from your diet alone, taking an omega-3 supplement is a good choice.  Paul Montogomery, researcher at the University of Oxford in England, says that people would be ‘lucky’ to increase their omega levels with diet alone.

When you are choosing a supplement, look for one that has more EPA’s than DHA’s. The ideal would be 3 or 4x EPAs to DHA’s.

Ways to Include Omega-3 Into Your Diet

In addition to taking a supplement, you can still include omega-3 into your diet. Here are some ideas.

Fish, such as Salmon, tuna, mackerel, rainbow trout

Walnuts

Flaxseed

Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale.

What if I am Allergic to Fish?

If you are allergic to fish or are a vegetarian, you can still get the benefits from omega3. Check out this article to learn more.

What About Cod Liver Oil?

Cod liver oil is a fish oil;however, the levels of DHA and EPA are lower in cod liver oil than an omega-3 supplements.  To learn more about cod liver oil for ADHD, head here.

Speak With Your Doctor

Omega-3 supplements are sold at pharmacies, health food stores and on the internet. However,  speak with your doctor before you start to take them.  Like all supplements they have side effects and can change the way your body uses prescribed medication.

What if Omega-3 Supplements Don’t Agree With Me?

Some people find that Omega-3 supplements upset their stomach, give them fish burps,or just generally make them feel off.  To avoid this, start with a low dose and gradually increase to your recommended dose. Take your supplement with your main meal of day. Sometimes the ingredients in the capsules can be the reason why you feel ‘‘off’. In which case, a liquid form of omega-3 might be helpful. The liquid is often flavored, sometimes  with lemon, so that it tastes pleasant when you swallow it.

How Long Does it Take for Omega-3 Supplements to Start Working?

Research has shown that it takes approximately 4 weeks for improvements to be noticed. However, many of my clients notice differences in as little as a week.  Some people say they haven’t  noticed any improvement and decide to stop taking their omega-3 supplements. It is only after they stopped that they realize that they had been working after all.

 

Have you tried omega-3 supplements?

 

ADHD and New Year’s Resolutions

The New Year always brings with it an enthusiasm to look at yourself and your life and make some positive changes. While tons of research has been to done to show that New Year’s resolutions don’t work. We also know that creating habits and setting goals do work.

So, why not make use of this New Year energy to make some positive changes using goals and habits in your life? Wondering what areas to address? Why not your health? As the healthier you are, the less problematic your negative ADHD symptoms are. For example, getting enough sleep, eating healthy food, exercising every day, taking supplements, such as, Omega 3, managing stress are all known to help your long term health, but also your ADHD symptoms right now.

There is a brilliant website that is dedicated to your health called http://www.realage.com/. The site’s creator, Dr. Roizen is a cardiologist and wanted to motivate people to take better care of their bodies. He realized everyone wants to be youthful so used this as an incentive. Some people are younger physiologically and mentally than their calendar age because they active make healthy eating choices while some people are older.

Take the quiz which covers all topics related to health, from what you eat, drink and smoke to how fast you drive and how often you use your cell phone.

After you get your results and find out how old you ‘really’ are you are given a compressive checklist of actions to take to reduce your real age. You can use the checklist to motivate you and guide you to know what new goals and habits to make in 2013

Good luck and I would love to hear what changes you will be making!!!

How do I maintain focus in a high stress work environment?

How do I maintain focus in a high stress work environment?First it’s important to take care of yourself with the first 5 steps of Untapped Brilliance.
This means, taking Omega 3 supplements, exercise regularly, eat a healthy ADHD diet, daily meditation and get enough sleep.

People find this a boring answer, as it is information they have heard before and they were hoping for something new and sexy. However, the reason you have heard about these things before is because they work!

These actions provide you with strong and solid foundations. A building with strong foundations can survive adverse weather conditions. In contrast, a building whose foundation is weak or non-existent will crumble with a slightest puff of wind. When you take care of yourself with those 5 steps you will find you are able to focus, concentrate and emotionally able to handle your high stress work environment.

There are other things you can do too when you are actually at work:

1) Take breaks. If you are busy and stressed you think that working through your breaks will help. It doesn’t. Breaks help you to be   focused and on top of your game when you return.

2) Be in the moment. I know this sounds hard, but when you are mindful and focus on the task you are doing at that given moment, you will feel grounded and centered. You will get a  sense of job satisfaction and if at a later point you question if you did it or to a good standard, you will know you did.

3) Positive Affirmation. Have a positive affirmation that you repeat to yourself in times of stress. It doesn’t matter what that is, so long as it makes you feel good. A few examples would be…’I am doing really well’ ‘I work well in a busy environment’ ‘I am focused and grounded’

When you talk to yourself calming, kindly and positively you will notice a big difference on your physical performance.