How To Declutter A Small Living Space

How To Declutter A Small Living Space

Guest post by Laura Snyder

Going to work, school, the gym, restaurants with friends …  it’s hard to think of your home as anything other than a landing pad at times. In reality, your home is where your electronics live and those electronics have cords, mounts, and batteries.  Your accessories have accessories. The kitchen is a hodgepodge of things you might never use again but feel enough guilt not to dispose of since your loved one gave it to you. Luckily, there are ways to declutter your home that are quick and easy.

To name a few, water bottles, skillets, coffee cups, underwear, these all seem to be in piles or hiding where you can’t find them. Here are some ways to store these items where when you need them, they are easy to find, and when you don’t need them, they won’t be in your way creating a mess.

Water Bottles

Are you like me and have half a dozen water bottles, but they’re hard to find when you need them, or they’re  soaking somewhere to get rid of the mildew smell? When they’re stored in cabinets, they fall down and if one empty bottle in the cabinet falls over, they all do like dominoes. The makers of the mDesign Stackable Water Bottle Storage Rack knew what they were doing when they developed this BPA-free rack. By stacking them in groups of 2 or 4 and storing them in your cabinet or on your counter, you can find them easier and give your kitchen a more put-together appearance.

Skillets

The next item that causes me unnecessary stress is the skillet. I have one of each size, and some of them are cast iron and some of them are Teflon-free. I have a white one from an infomercial, I have one from the 2000s that my dad gave me as a gift that I can never part with. They’re like Pokemon – Gotta catch ’em all! This Heavy Duty Pan Organizer is great for large cabinets that have extra space, you can set your skillets in it and still have room for your other pots and pans to lay next to them. Since most skillets advise to hand wash, this will also double as a drying rack.

Coffee Cups

Coffee or tea is a daily ritual, and it can be hard to keep up with the coffee cups. Using an organizational rack that fits in your cabinet is key. It needs to be as tall as your cabinet is, and if you have two of them you can maximize the number of cups that fit into your cabinet. The Cheesea Three Drying Stand is ideal, where you can dry your cups and store them upside down by their handle in your coffee cup cabinet.

Underwear

I never thought in a million years I would be that person who suggests underwear organization, but it is crucial to know what you are working with. With these units, you can put them in your drawer and see all of your underwear, socks, and what every else you keep in that top drawer, and know when to start doing laundry again. Let’s face it, we all determine when to do laundry based on how many pairs of undies we have left. Don’t make laundry day a mystery- organize your underwear today! The Creatov Collapsible Underwear Closet Organizer is the easiest, and fits in most top drawers.

USB Cables

Phones, iPads, Kindles, etc, it’s easy to have a snake farm of USB cables in your bedroom. The Bamboo Deluxe Recharger Station is a cute way to charge your phones, etc with a place to store your cables.

That one is cute, but if you want to take this seriously, you would consider this 8-Port Desktop Universal Charging Station. It has eight USB ports, and slots to lay your devices in and would look attractive on your counter while providing easy access to your devices.

Batteries

I just wanted a little section to say I’ve come to terms with batteries being  a major part of my life.  Organize accordingly. This battery organizer is great for knowing exactly where they are, replacing the dead ones and  moving on! No more battery drama as I like to call it. There is also a tester in this kit, so you know which ones are bad because the battery supplies the power to use the tester. ( note: you most likely can recycle batteries at your local hardware, or camera store).

TV Remotes

Losing your remote is no joke. I understand there are phone apps out there to replace the Roku remote, and people use Google Chromecast now, but losing the control to turn up and down the volume is not good. Some people like to use something like this armrest organizer on their couch, so they always know where the remote is.

I don’t think those work very well. They always get tucked into the cushions with the remotes. I prefer to hang mine on the walls so that I can see it in plain sight with a wall-mounted remote control holder. All day. Never worry about it being sucked into the sofa as everything else does. Including me time, and time, and time again.

Shoes

When it comes to organizing shoes, frustrations ensues when I see shoe racks that suggest buying just one rack will solve all shoe organizing problems. The truth is , is that we have boots, flip flops, Keds, Chucks, Sperrys, etc,  and these are not stored the same as the other. High heels on a rotating shoe rack? Forget it. Here is what I have determined:

I would recommend this shoe tree for light, flat shoes that you wear daily or to walk in. This one tips over if you have several shoes all different weights, and is only good for Keds, Chucks, Sperry’s or any other shoe that is a smaller shape and lightweight.

 

shoe organizer
amazon.com

You’ve seen these cubby hole racks. It displays high heels in such a way that makes them look like art on display, all you need is a spotlight? But do we really want to put one pair of shoes per cubby hole? You can probably lay the pair on their sides and fit in a couple of pairs per cubby hole, and place this in your closet.

This over-the-door shoe organizer
is best for flats, or flipflops. It’s really easy to grab a pair in a hurry, especially if you get one that is clear. You can put this on the inside of your closet if you aren’t keen on your flipflop collection being on display in your bedroom.

Boots need their own rack. A boot rack may seem odd at first, but storing boots is best upside down. If you have them standing up with a pool noodle in them, they still fall over. Storing them upside down makes them easier to grab when needed, and puts the weight at the top. If you’re only wearing boots  seasonally, you might want them stored like this and put them on the top shelf of your closet, away from your other shoes:

Mail

Going to websites for as many bills as possible to opt out for paper mail was the best decision I ever made. But the piles of mail still exist. Usually, I have one counter or table dedicated to mail, or just papers in general. This steel file folder has helped greatly with  making sense of my mail, magazines, to-do lists, TV manuals, guides what have you:

It’s sturdy, it won’t break or lose shape if you move, and it has neat little hooks to hang your keys. As long as you store anything paper here, and shred anything that can’t fit, then you’ll be sure to have a neatly organized living space.

Handbags and Jackets

Let’s talk about bags. I have bags for every occasion. I have a few medium sized backpacks for when I want to go spend the night at my Mom’s house, but then I also have backpacks for my laptop. There’s the camelback for my hiking or cycling adventures, the cat carrier duffle bags in blue and pink for each cat, and about 5 purses that are constantly in rotation varying by size and occasion. I have a few duffle bags on standby for the rare gym trip or small vacations via car. Each bag is in use at some point, so I don’t want to hide them away in my closet never to be seen again. I like to be tasteful, but also store my bags where I can get to them easily.

Remember the high heel cubby holes? You can also use this purse organizer for bags.

Do you have a large corner of your office or bedroom that you’re not using? This Pursenal Butlerbe a cute addition to also store your handbags or jackets that you’re using daily or weekly while your other favorites are stored in a closet.

https://www.amazon.com/Pursenal-Butler-Original-SHORT-Purse/dp/B00I13XMCQ/ref=sr_1_33?ie=UTF8&qid=1491512697&sr=8-33&keywords=purse+organization

This spiral purse tree rack is much cuter, but I can’t imagine my bags hanging on this tree without tipping it over. This might be useful if you have many designer handbags, all similar in size and weight.

If you want to keep the ones you use the most out on display and the rest in the closet as far as handbags go, this hanging purse rack would be a great way to store handbags in the closet:

This hook rail are great for hanging jackets or handbags. Remember, the concept is to display the ones that you use often and then hang the ones in your closet that you rarely use such as luggage for the airport or that leather jacket that you only pull out for special “bad to the bone” occasions.

Canvas Bags

Do you live in a city that outlawed plastic bags and you find yourself knee-deep in a pool of canvas bags? This trunk organizer is a great way to organize so that you’ll always have them when you need them.

Or keep them in a wall-mounted collapsible file organizer.

 

What are your favorite go-to home organization finds? Let us know in the comments below!

26 Ways To Pamper Your ADHD Brain

26 Ways To Pamper Your ADHD Brain
As an ADHD adult, it’s important to “treat yo self” often. School days and work days can get pretty rough, and if you’re a parent it’s only worse. Do something nice for yourself to recharge and forget your woes briefly. It can be something as simple and cheap as an egg timer – a little and functional gift to yourself can go a long way to brightening a bad day. Here are some of our favorites.

Books

  • ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life. Not only will you get practical tips for organization, you’ll also learn some about the clinical nature of ADHD. Features excellent advice on self-help, as well as the wide range of support options available at any given moment.
  • ADHD According to Zoe: The Real Deal on Relationships, Finding Your Focus, and Finding Your Keys. Author Zoe Kessler was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult. Learn from her life stories and advice as to how you can stop allowing a diagnosis to keep you down, but instead use it as a springboard for lessons about yourself and life. Kessler, who is a journalist and blogger, helps many people who have been diagnosed later in life with ADHD come to terms with it, sharing tips for becoming more organized and confident.

Accessories

  • Spin Ring. When you have the need to fidget with something, wearing a spinner ring gives you the opportunity to use your fingers for fidgeting, decreasing pent up anxiety.
  • Purseket Organizer. When it takes you five minutes to find your car keys in your purse amidst all of your “stuff”, it’s time to consider organizing your purse. With the Purseket organizer, you can take your purse belongings and organize them nicely so you don’t lose time searching for anything. Choose from small, medium, and large!

At Work

  • Minimalist Day Planner. Sure, smart phones are nice for setting reminders, jotting down notes, and scheduling, but some women need to see their entire schedule on paper for effectiveness. Using a minimalist day planner, you’re well able to keep track of your daily tasks without extra “fluff” that only serves as a distraction. Simply jot things down as you need and look at your planner each day to see what your agenda entails.
  • Egg Timer. There’s nothing wrong with having a good old fashioned egg timer on your desk at work. Simply set the timer for up to an hour and let it tick away. This is great for keeping on task or keeping yourself to a specific amount of time for a break.
  • Stress ball. Get optimal stress relief by using a stress ball when anxiety starts to mound. Great for at work or at home. As you consistently squeeze the stress ball, you’re relieving anxiety and also strengthening your muscles and joints.

At Home

  • Aqua Notes. Ever been in the shower and wished you had a notepad and pen to write down a brilliant idea or jot down a reminder to do something later? With Aqua Notes, you’ll never again have to step out of the shower to jot down anything. Simply write it on the waterproof paper and pencil.
  • Noise canceling headphones. Who wants to contend with excess noise? With noise canceling headphones, you slip them on and all you hear is crisp, balanced, clear music. Bid outside noise goodbye with this nifty headphone set.
  • Label Maker. When it comes to organization, labeling things is one of the best ways to get your home or office in order. Use a handy label maker for a variety of applications, including labels for food storage containers, boxes, personal items, folders, and more. You’ll never have to open up five boxes in order to find what you’re looking for again!
  • Relaxation/Zen Fountain. When you just need to sit still and relax, there’s no better way to do it than with the sounds of falling, rippling water in the background. Enjoy water stream that offers a stress-free ambiance, helping you feel like you’re sitting beside a tranquil spring, allowing the water to wash your cares away.
  • Knock Knock Get Your Shit Together Note Pad. It’s necessary to have a note pad to write down your to-do-list. Get your shit together by making lists and tracking them, scratching them off one by one as you accomplish them.

Gadgets

  • Kindle Fire. Give the gift of a tablet that suits all this holiday season. The Kindle Fire is perfect for watching movies, surfing the internet, listening to music, reading e-books, and more. Choose from the Kindle Fire 7, 8, or 10, as all of them offer access to many features and apps. You can even download apps geared toward home or work organization.
  • Missing technology finder. Tired of losing your phone, keys, purse, or remote control? Then Tile is the answer, as it is a Bluetooth device that you attach to the items you want to keep track of. You simply use an app on your smartphone or tablet to locate it.
  • Clocky Run Away Alarm Clock. If you’re prone to pressing snooze over and over when you should be getting out of bed, this alarm clock is for you! Clocky is an alarm clock that sits on wheels so it can literally run away and get you out of bed. Clocky does allow you to turn the “run away” feature off though, for those days when you just want to snooze a gazillion times.
  • Bluetooth Touch Screen Smart Wrist Watch. A watch full of features to assist you with home or office organization and entertainment. When you want to leave your phone at home, this is your ticket, as it’s like having a personal assistant with you.
  • Amazon Echo. If you love music, this is a wonderful way to listen throughout your home. It’s your voice activated Google, so-to-speak.

Self-Care

  • Fitness or stability ball. Embrace self-care in the form of exercise designed to get and keep you in shape. With a fitness or stability ball, you can strengthen your muscles and improve balance, flexibility and back strength.
  • Adult Coloring Books. Coloring books have a special quality: they help ease anxiety and stress. This holiday season, give the gift of coloring for those who struggle with ADHD. Choose from mandalas, paisley patterns, garden designs, and more. The simple truth is that most adults really enjoy coloring, though most have forgotten. Go ahead and remind them!
  • Ashwagandha Herbal Supplements. Ashwagandha is a natural herb that has been used to help reduce and/or drop anxiety. The herb also helps restore energy and give the immune system a boost.
  • True Calm Supplements. Relax overstimulated nerve cells with True Calm supplements. This blend helps regulate and balance the nervous system.
  • Nightwave Sleep Assistant. For those who have trouble falling asleep, Nightwave Sleep Assistant helps quiet your mind via a relaxation routine just before you fall asleep. A soft, blue light emanates from the gadget that you gaze at to synchronize your breath with the light waves, relaxing your brain activity so you can fall asleep.

Graphic Tees

  • Battery Powered ADHD T-Shirt. Enjoy this tee that reads, “Powered by ADHD” above a battery image. It’s subtle, yet this tee can help spark positive conversations about ad
 
Image: Unsplash

5 Ways To Boost ADHD Diet Success (For Good!)

5 Ways To Boost ADHD Diet Success (For Good!)

Spoiler alert: I am fat. I really wanted to write about anything but this topic this week, but instead I’m going to talk about it. Because, let’s face it, the size issue is everywhere. And even when the best of us can feel body positive most of the time, a lot of us are really struggling with getting (and staying!) at a healthy weight.

But what if we used ADHD strategies to create our very own ADHD diet just for us?  For example, I followed these five steps to address a career challenge a couple of years ago:

  1. Get the best information out there and follow sound, professional advice.
  2. See the situation for what it is – serious. Take what’s fair out of the equation.
  3. Find the right tools to make it easier and track your progress.
  4. Give yourself a break, dammit! (But don’t stop the hustle.)
  5. Celebrate the wins – big and small

I spent some time this week thinking about what weight control would look like through the exact same lens. In other words, I asked myself “what if I treat weight just like my other ADHD problems?” Here are those five steps again, applied to losing weight.

Get the best information out there and follow sound, professional advice.

First, the science. What is the link between obesity and ADHD, if any? There appears to be some common threads that link the two, especially when it comes to impulsivity and dopamine.

5 steps button

In the 2009 study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal titled “The obesity epidemic: the role of addiction,” researchers hypothesize that ADHD plays a critical role in eating behaviors, which contributes to obesity.

“Not everyone who is exposed to drugs becomes an addict, and, similarly, not everyone who is exposed to high-fat, high-calorie foods becomes a compulsive overeater. These differences in susceptibility can be attributed, in part, to a genetic predisposition and/or to brain adaptations to excessive use over time, specifically, downregulation of the dopamine D2 receptors linked to addictive behaviour,” the study reports.

Adds Dr. Rongwang Yang of the Zhejiang University Children’s Hospital, “There have been a few clinical investigations that suggest ADHD may be a comorbidity of obesity. … For the treatment of the subset with both ADHD and obesity, improvement of the ADHD symptoms may reduce weight.”

This is encouraging news for ADHD sufferers who feel like they may have compulsive eating issues and/or are eating for reasons outside of hunger. It’s helpful to know that treating your ADHD can actually help curb such episodes.

Aside from discussing ADHD’s relationship to obesity with your doctor, there are some behavioral modifications that you can start practicing now. Dr. John Fleming recommends in ADDitude to use your hyperactive brain to geek out about weight-loss activities like cooking or exercising. He (brilliantly) adds to avoid food temptations rather than rely on willpower.

“Don’t berate yourself when you make a mistake. If yelling at yourself were effective, wouldn’t you be perfect by now? Restart your diet and forget the past,” Dr. Fleming says.

See the situation for what it is – serious.

While beating myself up for failing doesn’t burn calories, I still want to make sure I don’t lose sight of the situation. And believe me, I know. And maybe that’s what makes some people feel like it’s okay to fat shame – because they think they’re doing it in the name of health. Sorry, still not okay. I fully understand the health risks of being obese and don’t need another voice thrown into the wind to lecturing me on what’s right for me – I know, I know, I know.

In fact, we’re ending this section right here because you know, too. We all KNOW.

Find the right tools to make it easier & track progress.

As I mentioned earlier, I am a professional yo-yo dieter. For now, I’ll go back to using my Weight Watchers app, which at the moment is paid for by my health insurance (so very grateful). Otherwise, the Lose It! app serves nearly the same purpose and is free. In fact, I’m starting to think that Lose It! would be more compatible for my ADHD because it’s just one number (calories) to watch out for, as opposed to the several numbers you must track to calculate Weight Watchers points. That said, I like that Weight Watchers assigns the points on foods based on carbs, sugars, protein, etc., rewarding me for eating that keep me full longer or have other health benefits. Plus, with their food database and in-app scanner, it’s really not all that difficult once you get the hang of it.

To track my exercise, I’m a big fan of the FitBit Charge. At this time since I’m basically starting from Ground Zero, so I’ll just plan on picking a conservative step goal (5,000 probably), then adding onto that weekly. A lot of people would jump in at this point and recommend all manner of high-impact exercise, longer sessions or more steps – but I know myself and I know I need to take this slowly or I will blow it. And, yes, I’ve tried it. I’ve tried it all and I can still say … not for me, please and thank-you! Keep your burpees to yourself!

But here’s the thing: It was never about lack of tools or knowledge of how to lose weight. I’ve had these resources forever, but it hasn’t mattered. And that’s what a lot of people don’t get. Well-meaning people drop knowledge on me all the time, thinking that’s what I need. I’m just gigantic and don’t know better, y’all!

But, as I mentioned at the beginning of the article, there’s something going on between my ears that’s stopping me from achieving. And I think it has a lot to do with the stuff covered in the CMAJ study. I am going to heed those observations and Dr. Fleming’s advice as I move forward. And I’m also going to get better about journaling this stuff. As far as the unsolicited feedback goes … the proverbial mute button will have to do.

Give yourself a break, dammit!

Honestly, I’ve given myself far too many breaks. But I’ll keep this mind. Because, real talk, I’m too easy on myself. I’m too hard on myself, too, but I’m also too easy on myself. I still haven’t found the right balance. Stay tuned …

Celebrate the wins – big and small.

If I ever had a day where I stayed within my Weight Watchers points budget without dipping into (or maxing out) my weekly “flex points” … AND reached my step goal as well? I would call for a damn parade. If I could chain enough days like that together and live like that 80% of the time, I’d be working on a post about purging my closet for a new wardrobe.

Until then … Happy Adulting, readers and godspeed!

Have something you’d like to add? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!  Don’t forget to also sign up for the ADHD Quick Start Guide!

Image: Unsplash/Henrique Feliz

5 Things That Ease ADHD And Anxiety At The Same Time

5 Things That Ease ADHD And Anxiety At The Same Time

Adults with both ADHD and anxiety are not difficult to find. In fact, they comprise half of the adult ADHD population. If you’ve been diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety, you’ll find the following five habits useful for both disorders. Try one, two or all of the above today to deal an extra strong blow to those pesky ADHD and anxiety symptoms!

How Are ADHD And Anxiety Linked?

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders occur in as many as 50% of ADHD adults. Not only can these conditions coexist, but the challenges that ADHD poses worsen anxiety by their very nature.

How do you know if you have anxiety disorder or are just experiencing everyday anxiety? A handy table by the ADAA lists a few ways, including the comparison between being anxious over a specific event (job loss or break-up) compared to unsubstantiated worry that interferes with daily life.

When it comes to treating ADHD and anxiety, health professionals are trained to treat the disorder that’s causing the most impairment. Medications and cognitive-behavioral therapy are popular treatments for both.

“If ADHD is the cause of anxiety, treating the ADHD may reduce the anxiety. If anxiety is independent of ADHD, however, a doctor will determine the proper medication. One health professional may decide to treat the anxiety first; another may treat both conditions simultaneously,” the ADAA reports.

Journaling

Journaling has the magical way of taking the power away from the items that are causing the anxiety. Don’t know what’s causing your anxiety? Journaling can help you uncover this as well. There is no right or wrong way to journal. It can be something as informal as buying a blank book and keeping a diary. It could even be a daily 750-word brain dump, where you go in not knowing what’s bothering you, but come out with a few prime suspects. On the other hand, you can go with something more structured if you need some help grappling with daily tasks. For example, the SELF Journal (aff) by Best Self Co. forces you to name specific quarterly goals, which then trickle down to daily micro-goals.

Physical Activity

Dance it out. Or walk it out. Or run it out. We’ve all heard the many benefits of physical activity, and they are things that help both ADHD and anxiety symptoms. Not only are endorphins released when you exercise (nature’s painkiller!), exercise is also known to improve concentration and prolong focus. Since it’s something you’ve probably had on your list to do anyway (if you aren’t already), you can kill two birds with one stone by helping ease both conditions with a single activity.

So how much exercise should you do? First, make sure you’re picking an activity that you enjoy or forget about it! Start with short mini-goals of 10 to 15 minutes a day. Once you have that on lock, you can start to build it up, either shooting for one long exercise session or multiple mini-sessions throughout the day. The Mayo Clinic recommends that adults receive at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week. Need help staying motivated? Try wearable technology such as the FitBit to track your progress in a fun, pretty dashboard.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Have you ever considered cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as a means to get both ADHD and anxiety under control? According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, CBT is a scientifically proven practice that is in short supply as demand for therapists in this field is high.

“The core principles of CBT are identifying negative or false beliefs and testing or restructuring them. Oftentimes someone being treated with CBT will have homework in between sessions where they practice replacing negative thoughts with more realistic thoughts based on prior experiences or record their negative thoughts in a journal,” NAMI reports.

If you have insurance, check your carrier’s website for providers that are within your network. If you are uninsured or underinsured, check out your city’s local mental health resources that may be available to you for free or on a sliding scale. I’ve been practicing CBT since 2009 and it has absolutely been a game-changer!

Meditation

Meditation’s commonly associated with anxiety, but did you know it is also used to treat ADHD? Much like journaling, meditation forces you to slow down that pinball-like mind. There is no right or wrong way to meditate; all you must do is find the right place, the right position, and the right set of exercises that work best for you. For me, it’s laying in a dark room with complete silence, with my Himalayan salt lamp dimly lit and a hypnotherapy recording running through my earbuds. Sometimes I’m so zoned out I almost fall asleep. This may not look the same to you. You may find that you prefer sitting upright or participating in movement while you meditate. Check out these amazing meditation tips from ADDitude magazine to get started.

The big secret, which nobody seems to clue ADDers in on, is that you don’t have to sit in the lotus position at all…you don’t even have to sit down to meditate or (thank God!) stop moving. You don’t need a mantra, a guru, or notes from your trek to India to do the meditation thing correctly,” writes ADHD coaches Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo.

Herbal Supplements

For those who are unable or unwilling to take prescription medication, herbal supplements may be a viable option. According to the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, this is a medically sound practice that should occur under the supervision of a naturopathic doctor.

“Herbal medicines have long been used to relax the nervous system, relieve stress and calm the mind,” the CCNM reports, citing chamomile, skul cap, oat straw, catnip, lemon balm, hawthorn berry, gotu kolu, valerian, and rosemary as viable herbal remedies for ADHD.

I personally have tried valerian root supplements and Sleepytime Extra tea, which includes chamomile and valerian root. While it’s obviously going to be no comparison to what you would experience with prescription medication, I did notice a difference and will turn to them from time to time if I’m avoiding medication and need to take the edge off.

Conclusion

None of these habits are probably a shocker to you, but what may be surprising is how, when strategically executed, they can pack a real punch to your ADHD and anxiety symptoms. Journaling or exercising may sound like fine advice in isolation, but when you start to see the same recommendations re-emerge for multiple conditions, it’s even more motivating to give them a try!

Image: Unsplash/Milada Vigerova

4 Things I Do To Help My ADHD and Depression

4 Things I Do To Help My ADHD and Depression

When you have ADHD and depression, every day can feel like Alexander’s terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day. Depression is present in adults with ADHD 2.7 times more than adults in the general population. The depression can either exist concurrently with ADHD or as a byproduct. While your first course of action is to see a professional for the proper diagnosis and treatment, there also are some habits you can bake into your daily routine to help.

I’ve been trying to follow these four steps to start living a more intentional, inspired life and have found that it’s helped both my ADHD and depression. Combined with the proper professional medical care, these four things have really moved the needle for me.

Exercise

Regular exercise is mood-lifting and can keep you motivated. Modern science credits exercise helping ADHD by increasing dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, which is linked to regulating attention. Similarly it releases endorphins, which deliver feelings of euphoria.

When maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it was important for me to be able to set realistic benchmarks that I could track easily. Setting a daily step goal and using a fitness tracker ended up being the best option for me. Because you’re sporting wearable technology, you don’t have to worry about tracking workouts, and a lot of these devices already have nice, clean dashboards that do all the guesswork for you.

The only challenge will be to keep your fitness tracker charged. For me, this means always keeping my charger in the same place where I can access it at any time – my make-up bag that stays in a larger tote bag that goes to work with me. My personal choice is the FitBit Charge, but anything that tracks steps will do the trick.

5 steps button

Engagement

Engaging in activities to occupy your mind benefit both depression and ADHD by giving your mind something to focus on that’s positive, like gardening. Boredom, frequent in ADHD-ers, can commonly trigger symptoms of depression. Pack a one-two punch and listen to podcasts and audiobooks during your exercise routine. Keep a collection of adult coloring books in the house.

Believe it or not, for me having this blog was key in keeping my mind engaged. Before I started writing about my battles with ADHD, I pretty much just watched A LOT of TV. While I’m not bashing Netflix binging (and I still manage to get in plenty of hours of it), I have noticed an improved mood after finding something that I can really be excited about day after day. The challenge will be maintaining that level of engagement over the long-term. By being more organized with my time and planning ahead, I’m hoping that I will avoid burning out. So far it’s been working well for me.

Meditation

Meditation can alleviate depression by interrupting negative thoughts and improving your mood. In fact, a 2014 study reveals that it can be just as effective as antidepressants. According to psychiatrist Dr. Lidia Zylowska, meditation also helps ADHD-ers by improving the ability to control their attention.

I have to say that I was at first skeptical that meditation could be so powerful, but after working with a hypnotist over some anxiety issues, I completely believe it now. There’s something powerful that happens when you focus your mind on themes and ideas that build you up as a person rather than bring you down. I used to think my grandparents were mystical in their ability to be able to harness this power; I know now that they probably just put in the work.

Diet

Any deficiency in nutrients can impair the body’s ability to function properly. Conversely, eating foods rich in protein and omega-3 can help both depression and ADHD. In addition, sticking to quality foods will keep your brain clear and alert and your body feeling better.

As you design your own vision of what living with ADHD and depression will be like, you may consider healing your relationship with food either through therapy or a support group. I have always been a fan of Weight Watchers, although I must be careful not to be so focused on the scale that it threatens my relationship with food.

Conclusion

If you’re battling ADHD and depression concurrently, it is my hope that you’ll also enjoy the snowball effect of how helping one condition also enhances the treatment of the other and vice versa. Along the same token, I’ve found that when I don’t practice these acts of self-care, I tend to experience the drawbacks on both fronts.

How do you manage your ADHD and depression? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.

Image: Unsplash/Redd Angelo