26 Ways To Pamper Your ADHD Brain

treat yo self adhd adult

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

Dispatches From The 2nd Trimester

second trimester adhd

I attended aWordCamp today, basically a powwow where website creators dish on on all things WordPress, and it made me miss this blog really badly. I started my hiatus three months ago after becoming pregnant. It’s a very welcome development, but also really, really draining. Now in my second trimester, I’m in a difficult position of finally feeling able to pick it up again, but knowing my life is about to change again tenfold in a few short months. I grapple with the fear of going all in again only to have to shut it down once Gaby (working title) arrives.

But the show must go on. I have so many exciting tidbits to share about being pregnant and navigating career and family all while having ADHD. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.

I’ve Been Busy Making An Eyeball

Ali Wong hits the nail on the head in her Netflix special Baby Cobra:

“I can already see how a child can take its toll on a marriage because the baby hasn’t even come out yet and I am already so resentful towards my husband,” Wong says. “So much resentment. Especially when he asks me to do stuff around the house: Hey, can you wash the dishes? NO! Hey, can you water the plants? I AM NOT DOING JACK SHIT ANYMORE, I’M BUSY MAKING AN EYEBALL. 

Did I keep up my blog and all the admin tasks that come with it over the past three months? Nope! Did I pass all 6 of the AdWords certifications I attempted in the month of September? Nope! I did what I could, but you know what? I was busy making an eyeball.

I Haven’t Been Perfect, And I’m Good With That

My doctor advised me to only gain 10 pounds during this pregnancy because I am overweight. I promptly vowed to walk 30 minutes a day, remain fully hydrated at all times and only eat only the most nutritious foods. Have I stuck to this the entire time? Um, nope. Instead, I take the small victories where I can. I make sure my urine stays the correct shade of straw, I buy pre-prepped veggie and fruit snack trays from the produce section (because I’m too busy making an eyeball) and try to get in steps where I can. And, still I’m nowhere near perfect and I’m going to be okay with that.

Because I can’t take my ADHD medication, I’m not always 100% at work. I have days where I’m barely treading water, others where I completely blank out on something for no reason. While I haven’t given myself a carte blanche to just be a hot mess and expect everyone to clean up behind me, the one thing I don’t do is beat myself up. (Sometimes I do, but I try not to dwell. Stress is bad on the baby, right?)

I’m Trying To Enjoy The Moment

A few short months ago, I was lamenting about not being able to get pregnant. Now I’m so focused on what my limitations are and will be as I transition into motherhood. I’m sure in a couple of years my newest obsession will be conceiving Baby No. 2. The lesson I’m learning here is that I just need to enjoy what’s happening right now. I need to freaking live.

I’m not naive enough to think I’ll magically master the tenets of Buddhism, but there’s got to be a time when you say enough and realize that these meals out with your husband, these happy hours with co-workers (albeit dry these days) – they aren’t forever and their days are numbered. There’s a beautiful adventure waiting ahead, but still, times they are a’changing. I can’t squander my time focusing on what I don’t or won’t have.

I’m Showing Up When It Feels Right

I got really good at setting boundaries and saying “No” during my first trimester. And good for me, because honestly it’s taken 30+ years. Now that I’m feeling better in the second trimester, I’m making sure I still say “yes” once in awhile. That means a road trip to with my sister to a baby’s 1st birthday party. That means showing up more at my husband’s gigs. That means writing this blog. I’m not going to always nail it, but I’m still going to show up when I feel strong enough. Pro tip: The less pressure I put on myself, the easier it is for me to say yes. I also still am saying no and upholding those boundaries that have nurtured me so far. (So glad I learned how to do that before I became responsible for somebody else.)

How about you? What are you doing these days to ensure you’re managing your ADHD and all of life’s curve balls?

Photo: Unsplash/Vanessa Bumbeers

6 Chef-Inspired Lifehacks For ADHD Adults

adhd adults

Americans spend nearly $10 billion a year on self-help and organization tools, reports NPR. In their story “For A More Ordered Life, Organize Like A Chef,” reporter Dan Charnas asks what ADHD adults can learn from mise en place philosophy that keeps professional kitchens running on all cylinders.

Literally translated from the French phrase “putting in place,” mise en place is a way of life for chefs, from thorough advanced planning to air-tight time management. Which begs the questions … what can those with ADHD learn by adopting this way of life?

Be In The Moment

When you’re in the kitchen, you can’t afford to be preoccupied with the dinner menu when you’re trying to get somebody’s lunch order correct. Only focusing on the task-at-hand is one of the main tenets of mise en place.

5 steps button

Put It Out The Night Before

From their chef whites to books and shoes, culinary students take great pains to have everything they need set out the night before. How much smoother would your morning go if your clothes were set out the night before and your lunch was already packed?

Live By Your List

One chef interviewed by Charnas would write the next day’s to-do list one his way home from work … then crumple it up. The next morning, he would write out the list again. He becomes one with his list, ensuring it is hardwired into his brain.

Give Everything A Place

Cooking stations are carefully set so that all of the tools and ingredients are situated for optimum efficiency. No searching for items or having items inconveniently out of reach. How could you rearrange your desk accessories for the mise en place way of life?

Respect Time

In some ways, mise en place has been compared with the rigidity of the military. In professional kitchens, punctuality is everything and tardiness is not tolerated. In turn, everything runs efficiently like a tight ship. In fact, chefs admit to not being able to turn this part of themselves off when they leave the kitchen.

Which ideas could you adopt from mise en place for your personal ADHD challenges? For more secret ingredients, sign up for the free cheat sheet5 Steps for Women With ADHD.”

Image: Unsplash/Katie Smith

3 Things That Happen When ADHD And Pregnancy Collide

pregnant with adhd

I had expected that managing my ADHD and pregnancy would be hard without meds. What I didn’t expect was for my ADHD to actually get worse due to the influx of hormones. Add to that some mind-numbing fatigue and it’s been an interesting past few weeks. Here are some things I’ve learned along the way and how I’m learning to survive.

You Forget Even More Stuff

An old journalism friend reached out to me this month to get my thoughts on a new restaurant. Her bribe of pie and company got me so excited that in the midst of making plans to see her I completely forgot to send her my quotes. A week after deadline I made the mortifying connection. As a new mother, she completely understood.

The truth still stood, however, that this was a problem! After some asking around, I determined that my first line of defense is to make sure I’m keeping up with to-do lists, calendar reminders and other ADHD productivity tools. All the ADHD prep I’ve been doing these past couple of years is going to be more critical than ever. This includes things like being on top of junk mail in my inbox – the fewer distractions I have, the better.

You Get Comfortable With Doing Less

In the past few weeks, I have had exactly enough energy to muddle through work and drive home. On a good day I am able to cook dinner and sit through an entire movie with my husband. This energy drain means that I have had to scale back dramatically on some of my most cherished projects, including this blog!

The idea that this isn’t forever is what’s kept me going. I know that my life will never be the same and perhaps my side projects never will take up the same space in my life that they once had. But what I also know is that there’s this magical thing that is supposed to happen in the second trimester in which some of my energy is expected to return. That alone has been enough to keep me going (no matter that it goes away again in the third … )

5 steps button

Self Care Becomes Survival

All that stuff you read about self care is so spot-on. And I really do hate it when you’re too tired to move that somebody recommends exercise, but here’s the thing: it works. It absolutely 100% works. As part of my work for my morning routine merit badge, I made it a goal of mine to work in an easy 15 minutes of walking before I head out to work. It has worked wonders in setting the right tone for the day and getting my blood pumping. I’m also able to knock out a sizeable chunk of my steps goal, which I’m tracking on my FitBit.

Hydration and proper nutrition have also come into play lately, even more so than before I became pregnant. Water and essential nutrients (especially protein) have become critical in ensuring that not just my body but the little person I’m creating become a well-oiled machine. I find that I’m more alert and think more clearly when I’ve taken care to eat better and stay hydrated. And when I feel better I am more productive.

Image: Unsplash/Freestocks.org

3 Ways The SELF Journal Helps Me Get More Done

self journal for adhd

When you have ADHD and you’re trying to get stuff done, it helps to have an anchor. For me, that anchor has been the SELF Journal, a tool that has enabled me to get real about what I want to accomplish and throw out the stuff that doesn’t matter. Constructed to last 3 months, this journal focuses on one mega quarterly goal, as well as daily and weekly milestones. Here are a few reasons it works for me.

Quarterly Goals Just Make More Sense

Thinking of my life in terms of quarters enables me to enact real change while also giving me the flexibility to rotate my primary goal every 12 weeks. It allows me to make a specific writing project my Number 1 priority, for example, while knowing that there will be time during another quarter to focus on achieving a specific fitness goal. I would still build physical activity into my day, but for that one quarter, I am given complete permission to make that writing project my ultimate priority.

5 steps button

I Can Pick It Back Up At Any Time

The journal has enough flexibility in it that if I end up taking a vacation or veer off-course, I can just jump right back into the journal on the next blank page. This is perfect for ADHD’ers who may struggle with ebbs and flows of motivation until keeping the journal becomes habit. The SELF Journal knows that life doesn’t always move according to plan, and it’s done a great job at striking a balance between structure and flexibility.

Gratitude and Recognizing Wins

I love that the SELF journal asks me to list the things I’m grateful for daily, as well as my wins. It’s important to keep these things in mind as you move forward with your goals. Not only is it good for morale, but it reminds you that progress is incremental and that it’s important to recognize it when it occurs.

While I’m still growing into this journal (for example, I use the daily pages much more than the weekly ones), I think it has absolutely had a positive impact on me these past several weeks. Knowing what your priorities are and assigning your energy according to priority is such an important skill, and this journal manages to walk you through that process in a simple yet powerful way.

Image: Unsplash/Cathryn Lavery

This post may contain affiliate links or sponsored content. For more information, please review my disclosures page.

5 steps button