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!!!

6 Reasons Why ADHDers Don’t Like The Holidays

christmas-tree-1856343_640The holidays are nearly here!  But do you enjoy them? If you answered no; don’t worry, you aren’t alone. Many adults with ADHD feel the same. While many people love vacation time away from work, eating good food and spending time with their families, it’s not always the case with ADHDers. [Read more…]

Exercise and ADHD

Exercise and ADHDTo the average adult with ADHD exercise takes a back seat to almost all other activities. Work, family and friends, errands, sleep and even housework! These activities are important, however so is exercise. Exercise not only helps the longevity of your body, but it helps reduce some of the negative effects of ADHD too. For example, exercise improves your attention, mental focus, memory, mental stamina and allows you to expend pent up energy. Dr Hallowells says  “Exercise stimulates epinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, like meds. So exercising is like taking meds for ADHD in a holistic, natural way”.

So what can you do to make sure exercise is part of your daily life? As well as choosing a form of exercise that is fun for you and one that is convenient, a powerful way is to look to those people who you admire and are inspired by. Perhaps your favourite sports personality or someone who you know personally. There is one particular example of someone we all know who I find very inspiring and that is Barack Obama.

On the 4th of November 2008, the eyes of the world were on America and its election day. Barack Obama made history by becoming the first African American president. His political views, beliefs and sincerity resonated with millions worldwide. It was a huge day for him and his young family. Over two years of hard work on the campaign trail culminated on this day. We can only imagine the intense emotions he must have felt. That evening when the results were official, he stood in front of 125,000 people in Chicago and gave a speech that brought people to tears and gave people goose bumps all around the world. I am guessing he didn’t get much sleep that night.

Do you know what Barack did around 6 am the morning of the 5th of November? After this momentous day? He went to the gym. Then he put on a suit and started his day.

Now if anyone could excuse themselves from a visit to the gym that day, it would have been Barack Obama. Some thoughts that might have popped into his mind: I am too tired, too busy, I have just been voted the next president of the United States! Even if those excuses did come to his mind, he went to the gym anyway.

What can you do to make sure you exercise regularly?

  1. Make exercise part of your daily routine so that it would be just as hard not to exercise as not brush your teeth at night.
  2. Think of who inspires you to exercise and use them as a motivation to get you moving.
  3. Give yourself a healthy reward after you exercise.
  4. Next time an excuse pops into your head about not exercising, think of Barack.
  5. Notice and enjoy the benefits that exercise has on your ADHD.

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.

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.

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.

8 Great Reasons to Exercise When You Have ADHD

1)      Increases Productivity

Billionaire ADHDer, Richard Branson, says that on days he exercises on he has 4 extra hours of productivity. Perfect proof that time spent exercising is an investment not an expenditure.

2)      Allows you to focus on the task at hand

Try this experiment, next time you are sitting down trying to focus on a task, but just can’t. Get up and do 30 push ups or go for a run around the block. Now, sit down again. I bet you are able to focus and get that task done in record breaking time! This is because brain activities (like focusing and paying attention) are fed with oxygen and aerobic exercise increases the amount of oxygen in the brain.

3)      Can replace stimulant medication

In his book, Spark: The revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, Dr John Ratey, says exercise can be a substitute for stimulant medication for some people or a complementary treatment for others.

4)      Reduces Depression

There is a large amount of research showing that exercise is very effective in treating mild to moderate depression.   Exercise seems to affect certain neurotransmitter systems in the same way that taking an antidepressant does. As one out of four ADHD adults suffer with depression, this is a great reason to pop on your sneakers.

5)      Helps anxiety

Anxiety is helped by exercise both immediately and in the long term. This is great to know since 50 percent of adults with ADHD also have an anxiety disorder.

6)      Improves learning and Academic results

When a school in Naperville included daily exercise in their students curriculum weight loss problems went down and Academic achievements up.

7)      Aids Sleep

Getting regular exercise improves the quality of sleep, helps you fall asleep quickly when you climb into bed and reduces sleepiness during the day.

8) Increases Confidence

Research from the Journal of Health Psychology showed  when  people with low self confidence exercised their self esteem improved. This is brilliant news as many adults with ADD have low levels of self esteem.



Check out another article about ADHD and Exercise