My last blog ‘Inside the mind of an ADHD woman’ was the first time I have shared what goes on inside my head. I guess it’s not something that people do, but after I’d posted it I felt lighter in some way.
I’ve had so many women contact me and tell me they felt the same (some men too); they told me how much the article helped, so I’m so glad I wrote it. I think as humans we feel somewhat ‘normal’ when we are connected to other human beings. Connection is everything. And in this crazy, fast-moving world that we now live in, we need human connection more than ever.
I struggled with my personality for a long time. All my family and friends would see me as this positive, happy person, but it was a very different story inside my mind. I would tell myself that I wasn’t enough, that everyone was better than me and that I was a failure. I as explained in my last blog I have never been diagnosed with ADHD, but I have come to learn that I probably do have it. And my Dad after reading my last blog said he’s realised he probably has it as well (the apple and tree and all that)! Understanding ADHD has helped me to learn how I work, how I tick and how I can use this type of personality as an advantage instead of a disadvantage.
A lot of the stuff that I do helps with depression and anxiety. I don’t have either anymore, but I did for a time, so doing these top ten things keeps that at bay. These just work for me, I am not an expert or Doctor, so please check with a qualified, responsible adult before making any changes! I am just sharing what works for me, as it might help you.
1. Recognise the hyper-focus
When the genius is there and my brain is in Ferrari mode, I use this time to get shit done! I find that when I am on a high, I can get up at 4 am and write and write. I have massive amounts of energy, drive and passion and this may continue for days or weeks. This is where the ‘hyper-focus’ can become a super power! The ADHD brain thrives on this, so find your passion and go there. Whatever your passion is, do it, create it, dream it, love it and get it done.
2. You are enough
I never know how long this excitement will last for, sometimes it’s until the end of the project, sometimes half way through. On the lesser days when the hyper-focus is nowhere to be seen, I have learned to be kind to myself. It’s ok just to be. During this time I have learned not to tell myself; ‘Susy you should be doing more’! (ok a little white lie, but I am working on it).
I have always exercised; anything from strength training, pilates (I qualified to be a Pilates teacher once, but then moved on to something else) or yoga. I practised yoga for a long time in my twenties and then stopped for years until starting again about six months ago. For me, yoga is everything. With my distractible, never ending, on the go brain, it’s one hour a week where I have learned to let go. My mind and body unite, I am in the present moment and it’s incredible. Every time I go to yoga, I am learning how to switch off, and it’s helping so much for my mental happiness. If you live here in Perth and you are near Swanbourne, check out Horizon Yoga. Katrina (who is in the photo with me) has the most beautiful, relaxing and spiritual voice! Just listening to her voice relaxes me – and she also happens to be the best yoga teacher that I have ever known!
4. Essential Oils for mental health
Depression and anxiety are now so ingrained into our culture that it’s weird and worrying. But, at the same time it’s real and for many people, debilitating. I was in that position myself 18 months ago, so for a short time I turned to anti-depressants to help. I found them to work until I came off them after five months, and it took me another five moths to get back to normal! I have since learned to manage this with essential oils. There are soooooo many amazing benefits to essential oils, and the best thing ever is that they are plant based, natural, beautifully smelling and they don’t have any side effects. I use Dottera oils; I have personally found them to be the best. I use elevation (for depression) and citrus bliss (for anxiety). I also use lavender (to help with sleep), clary calm (for those hormonal days) and balance (for grounding). Plus, there is an oil called focus, which helps with concentration. If you want to know more about the oils, or find out how to buy them, you can connect with my beautiful friend Alice who is amazing and so knowledgable!
5. Supplements for a happy mind
Did you know that most of us are deficient in magnesium? The soil is so depleted, and sadly we are depleted too. There are so many of us that are lacking in key nutrients that are essential to our overall health. Magnesium can help with stress, depression and anxiety, so I take daily supplements of magnesium, plus zinc which again helps with stress, focus and concentration. Finally, I take a fish oil capsule as this also helps alleviate anxiety and depression, and helps with focus and concentration. I am always sharing which brands I use on my Instagram page.
6. Gut health
90% of our serotonin levels are in guts. Honestly, I shit you not! It’s time to start looking after our guts, never mind our heads! Most days, I have a shot of kombucha, which helps with gut health and I have fermented foods, again which helps our guts. Check out my Instagram for more information on the brands that I love. A lot of people make their own and in time I would love to do that, but for now, I support local brands as much as I can. From time to time, I will have probiotics. If you are feeling overly stressed, tired or keep getting ill, it’s super important to get your gut healthy. Listen to it; it’s talking to you!
Mindfulness or meditation is something that I have been practising for about a year. I try really hard to meditate every day, but the truth is, I mostly forget and only remember when I’m feeling anxious. There is that damn word again! Check out the Headspace app – this guy is amazing!! Don’t worry about not being able to focus or not be able to relax; Andy is all over it and guides you! I love his app and listen to it as much as I can. Smiling minds in another one to check out, although I have personally not used it.
7. Dietary changes
Gluten and dairy are two things that I avoid as much as I can. Remember what I said about the gut? About 90% of our serotonin, which is our happy hormone is in our gut. Our bodies take longer to digest gluten and dairy, and while they are doing this, they are not working on producing as much serotonin. I like my happy hormones more than I like bread, so for me, I find it easy to take them out (but that’s just me). I still have milk in my morning coffee, but that’s pretty much it. Again I am no Doctor, and many people will disagree with me, but for me, it works!
8. Healthy Eating
This one is simple. If you eat crap, you will feel like crap! I try to eat 4-5 high protein, low carb meals/snacks per day and then have a cheat meal on a Friday. ADHD brains tend to work better with higher protein, so get that in any way you can; eggs, fish, meat, legumes (chickpeas, lentils, etc.). A tend to have a gluten-free pizza (and then throw in some crisps, wine and sweets). I know that it technically not a ‘cheat meal’ as I have never read that a cheat meal includes sweets, crisps and red wine, but God I enjoy it and it’s only once a week!
9. Go easy on the liquor
Alcohol. I try and limit my intake. For me, too much alcohol gives me anxiety and makes me feel a bit sad. At the time, I am the life and soul of the party, but the next day can be a different story. We are all different but if alcohol makes you feel crap the next day, and you feel anxious and overwhelmed, then listen to your body. I can have one or two glasses of wine which I do on a Friday, but that is my limit. Obviously, there are times when I drink way more than this, but I don’t always enjoy the next day. Be kind, know your limits and do what is right for you.
10. Don’t compare yourself to anyone!
Like I said in my last blog, love yourself for being you and don’t compare yourself to anyone. I have had some major blonde moments in the last couple of weeks. I sent my daughter to school dressed in white for an assembly that was two weeks later. I forgot to give the girls their lunch order in school, left a restaurant without paying, broke my phone, got to the shops without my purse, lost my keys and so many other things that I can’t even remember. But, I am smiling through it, I am being kinder to myself, and I am showing my kids that ‘shit happens’! ‘It’s not what happens to you, but how you deal with it!
Hopefully, these tips will work for you too, let me know how you get on, I would love to know!
With love & light,