Tips for a Blissful “Framily” Vacation
New Year, New Start: How to Form More Friendships with ADD/ADHD
You know what I really love about the new year? It’s a brand new start. It’s a clean slate! No matter the difficulties you had last year, January 1st gives you the perfect date to start again and try new strategies and techniques to make the upcoming year the best it possibly can be.
If you have ADD/ADHD, a worthwhile goal for the new year might be to start building new friendships and expand your social circle. Having a number of good friends can be a wonderful resource to help you better manage your ADD/ADHD. A solid support system of family and friends can boost us up when we feel down and give us the help we may sometimes need to get through difficult times. Basically, friends can make us happy, and that is what really makes life worth living.
So, the million dollar question is, how can we form new friendships in the new year when we have ADD/ADHD?
Reaching Out to New People
Half of the battle of making new friends is meeting new people, and this can be a struggle for everyone, ADD/ADHD or not.
Getting out to public social events can require a lot of energy, let alone the energy required to meet random strangers and engage them in conversation. In this kind of a situation, the internet can be a lifesaver. There are tons of Facebook groups that are entirely focused on developing new friendships. If you find one for your area, you might be able to connect with others who are looking to expand their social circle. Just be sure to properly vet the group, and anyone you talk to on there, first. Closed groups that require permission from the admins to join are probably your best bet here.
You could also look into clubs and societies in your area that involve pastimes that you love. If you enjoy board games, you might be able to find a monthly event where strangers get together to play some. If you think that a ADD/ADHD support group might help you meet others who share in your difficulties and develop new friendships, check online for some in your area.
Still in School?
For those in post-secondary institutions, the new year can be a great chance to renew and strengthen those friendships you made in your first semester.
Dorm life can be tricky when you have ADD/ADHD. If you didn’t get an opportunity to get to know those on your floor over the course of your first semester, post-holidays is a great time to do so. You already have a perfect conversation opener, “What did you get up to over the holidays?”
Joining clubs or other organizations is even easier when you are in university or college. Simply check online, or go to a gathering place like the library, and take a look around. You can usually find flyers, brochures, and other advertisements for a variety of clubs and other opportunities for social gatherings. Just make sure you do some research on these groups before you join, to make sure that it will be a good fit.
Explain Your Condition to Your Friends
A lot of the difficulties that face those with ADD/ADHD is a lack of understanding of the condition. Everyone out there THINKS they know what ADD and ADHD are. Most of them don’t have a clue. This can put a lot of stress on friendships if the other person simply doesn’t understand the symptoms you are managing on a daily basis.
Perhaps explain to them that ADD and ADHD aren’t the same thing. Yes, they are similar conditions, but they can manifest in different ways. Make sure you map out exactly what you are going to say, maybe write it out on paper first. You should address the stereotypes of ADD/ADHD ASAP, to let your friends know exactly how ADD/ADHD affects you and how it doesn’t. You probably don’t want to “lead” with this when forming a new friendship, but once you get to know the other person better, sharing this kind of thing with them might strengthen a bond between you.
Schedule Friendship Time
It can be difficult to “find” the time to spend with friends. For those with ADD/ADHD, a spur of the moment hangout might not be an option.
If you have a calendar on your wall, or a planner on your desk, take care to schedule friend-time on days when you haven’t already expended your energy or another project or social engagement. The more planning you put into a hangout, the more comfortable you might feel once it starts.
The bottom line is this, forming friendships can be hard. When you move to a new community, or start a new school, or simply lack a social circle in your area, you might not know how to form these kind of connections. That’s what Friendship Coaching is for. In my Friendship Coaching program, I help you take stock of where you are right now in terms of your friendships and where you want to be. I can guide you to figure out exactly what you want out of a friendship and how to improve your current relationships.
As an experienced ADD/ADHD coach, I know the difficulties some have with developing strong relationships with others. They might feel as if their condition is standing in their way, or they simply don’t know how to reach out and meet new people. If you’d like to start this year off right, with the aim to develop stronger relationships with your friends, please feel free to contact me today.
How To Stop ADD/ADHD From Influencing Your Relationships
If you’re living with ADD or ADHD, you know how easily it can influence all aspects of your life. ADD and ADHD is known for negatively impacting work and school, but it can also have a strong influence in romantic relationships. If you’re finding that ADD is speaking louder than you are when it comes to your love life, here are a few strategies you can use to stop ADD from influencing your relationships.
Many partners of people with ADD or ADHD feel that they aren’t being heard in their relationship. This is a common feeling because ADD is known to impact a person’s listening skills. To improve yours, try setting a timer for 3-5 minutes and let your partner talk without interruption or distraction. Once the time is up, summarize what you’ve heard and repeat it back to your partner so they feel you’ve really taken in and acknowledged their experience.
Do Your Research
The more you and your partner learn about ADD, the better you’ll be able to understand and manage the symptoms together. Turn research into a bonding experience where you take time together to read up on attentional disorders and share blog posts like this one with each other. By doing the research together, you’ll reinforce the feeling that you and your partner are on the same team and committed to living with ADD together.
Acknowledge Your Symptoms
Take responsibility and acknowledge when your ADD or ADHD symptoms are impacting the relationship. This will make your partner feel validated and will demonstrate that you are aware of any issues as well as committed to working on them. Oftentimes, your partner simply needs to hear that you know they aren’t being unreasonable.
Cherish Your Partner
In many relationships, the non-ADD partner feels like a parent who takes on the majority of the household responsibilities and looks out for the partner with ADD. This leads to negative and imbalanced relationship dynamics. To break these patterns, find ways to take care of your partner and give them extra love and attention whatever way you can. Draw a bath for them after a long day at work or offer to give them a back rub. These small gestures don’t require planning or organizational skills, but will show your partner that you care for them as much as they care for you.
Relationships are full of all kinds of individual challenges that vary from couple to couple, so there is no reason why ADD/ADHD should be an insurmountable obstacle. If you’d like additional, personalized advice on how to manage attentional disorders in relationships, consider booking a couples coaching session to help build a romance that stands the test of time.
Ready to take action and use these tips to stop ADD/ADHD from influencing your relationships? My free checklist can help!
How to Explain ADD/ADHD to your Friends & Loved Ones
When living with ADD/ADHD, the symptoms you experience are often a normal part of your everyday life. It’s possible that you don’t even think about them at times since they are so familiar to you. However, for someone who has never experienced ADD or ADHD, it might be hard to understand.
If your friends and loved ones are unfamiliar with ADD, you may find yourself needing to educate them on your symptoms and how you manage them. A better understanding of what you’re going through will help your friends and family act as better support systems and advocates for you. Here are some tips on how to explain ADD/ADHD to your friends and loved ones.
Plan What You Want To Say
Do some research in advance, talk to your doctor, and collect some facts about ADD/ADHD that you think will be helpful to your friends and family. Preparing what you want to say in advance will help you be as clear as possible in your explanation and will guarantee that you convey the right message and hit all your points.
Note The Difference Between ADD and ADHD
Many people who are unfamiliar with these two conditions don’t have a good understanding of the difference between the two. In order for your friends and family to truly understand what you’re going through, they need to have a clear picture of your particular condition.
Address the Stereotypes
Unfortunately, your friends and family may have inadvertently picked up inaccurate stereotypes about ADD/ADHD from pop culture or the media. Address those stereotypes head on and offer more accurate descriptions about how ADD/ADHD affects you personally. Clarifying misconceptions is an important step to better understanding.
Chances are your friends and family will have questions of their own. Allow them to engage with their own learning process by encouraging them to ask questions. Understanding ADD/ADHD may be an ongoing process for someone who does not experience it, so keep the door open for continued conversation and self-education.
It may be difficult at first to initiate a conversation with your friends and family about ADD/ADHD, particularly if you aren’t used to discussing your condition with others. Although it may be a little intimidating, opening up to your loved ones will help them better understand who you are so they can always be sure to act in your best interests. If you need additional help explaining ADD/ADD to your friends or family, book a personalized coaching session.
Ready to take action and use these tips to help your friends and family understand ADD/ADHD? My free checklist can help!
Tips for Dating with ADD/ADHD
Let’s be honest: dating is one of life’s most difficult adventures. Sure, it can be a lot of fun, but it’s also often fraught with anxiety, insecurity, and doubt. Despite all its uncertainties, the pleasures and rewards of dating are more than worth it. Dating, like any other social situation, can be extra stressful for people with ADD or ADHD. For any of you single readers out there, here are a few tips for dating with ADD/ADHD.
Choose The Right Activities
When planning your date, suggest the types of activities in which you flourish. Avoid theater performances or poetry readings if you know those types of static activities are likely to make your mind wander. Instead, suggest a physical activity like a hike or a tennis game. These active date ideas will boost your energy and improve your focus. Plus, suggesting a unique activity is a great way of expressing your personality to your date.
Educate Your Date
Chances are your date may not be familiar with the signs and symptoms of ADD/ADHD. Without overwhelming them with too much info right out of the gate, find small opportunities to educate them. Understanding is key to acceptance, so give your date a head start by helping them see the world through your eyes.
Take It Slow
People with ADD/ADHD can be prone to impulsiveness. In romantic situations, that impulsiveness often leads to relationships that move a little too quickly. Moving too fast is a well-known dating red-flag, so make extra effort to take it slow. Ask yourself if you’re truly ready to make the next step in your relationship before diving in without thinking.
Work With A Coach
Dating is a highly personal experience and there is no one-size-fits-all solution for everyone. Working with a coach can help you figure out the exact strategies and tools which will improve your individual dating life. Working with an objective third-party offers the exact amount of tailored support you need to make your next relationship last a lifetime.
Whether you’re looking for long-term romance or for the fun of a fling, these tips for dating with ADD/ADHD will help you find the relationship you’ve been looking for.
Are you ready for personalized support? Get all the details on coaching here.
Ready to take action and use these tips in your dating life? My free checklist can help!
How to Manage ADD/ADHD in Social Situations
When we think of the inherent challenges associated with ADD or ADHD, we often think of them being most prevalent at work or school. It’s easy to connect difficulties with concentration and task initiation to difficulties with work-related and goal-oriented projects.
However, ADD and ADHD can present challenges in social situations as well. Even though the effect of ADD/ADHD on adult social skills is much less discussed, it is still deserving of time and attention. With that in mind, here are some helpful strategies for how to manage ADD/ADHD in social situations.
Make Eye Contact
People with ADD can find it as difficult to focus on a social conversation as it is to focus on a work project. Making eye contact not only shows your friend that you are listening, it also helps keep you focused on what’s being said. Keeping your eyes on the speaker will also help you pick up on nonverbal cues in the conversation.
Wait For Gaps In Conversation
It’s common for people with ADD/ADHD to be prone to interrupting others. Many people also experience the problem of speaking before they think due to their impulsivity. Practice waiting for gaps in conversation before adding to the discussion. Waiting for genuine pauses or silences will stop you from interrupting and speaking impulsively. It may take some practice to get used to recognizing those conversation gaps, but you can do it!
Repeat The Essentials
Distractibility can negatively impact the listening skills of people with ADD. In order to improve your listening and to make sure you’ve retained the necessary information, repeat the essentials of a conversation back to your friends. For example, when meeting someone new, repeat their name back to them after they’ve introduced themselves. This repetition will help cement the new information into your brain.
Check Your Body Language
ADD and ADHD make it difficult to understand things like body language and nonverbal communication. In fact, many people with ADD aren’t even aware of the subconscious messages they are sending with their own bodies. In a social situation, check that you’ve adopted an open and friendly posture. Uncross your arms, keep your body relaxed, and turn toward the person or group you’re engaging with. Also try to be aware of other people’s personal space and, if in doubt, take half a step back.
Write It Down
Many people with ADD/ADHD struggle to remember plans and stick to their social commitments. Get in the habit of writing down your social schedule in a planner or diary. Also start writing down any other prep tasks you have to do before the event itself. Attending a dinner party? Don’t forget to write down the date, but make sure you also write yourself a reminder to pick up a bottle of wine for the host.
Living with adult ADD or ADHD may sometimes require a little more attention in social situations. But, if you practice these skills, they’ll soon become second nature and you’ll find yourself sailing through your social schedule with ease.
Want more advice on managing ADD/ADHD in social situations? Request a personal consultation today!
Ready to take action and manage ADD/ADHD in social situations? My free checklist can help!
How to Make & Maintain Friendships with ADD/ADHD
The older we get, the harder it is to make and maintain new friendships. Gone are the simple days of bonding over Barbies at recess. With so many adult responsibilities and distractions, it’s much harder to forge new friendships than it was when we were kids. Making and maintaining friendships can be particularly challenging for those with ADD or ADHD.
Managing the daily stresses of adulthood can already be difficult and throwing new relationships into the mix doesn’t make it any easier. However, there is no reason to give up on new friendships if you’re living with adult ADD/ADHD. Follow these simple tips and you’ll see your circle of friends expanding in no time.
Join A Club
Many adults, whether they have ADD/ADHD or not, struggle to find places to make new friends. Now that we’re out of school, we no longer have a built-in friendship-infrastructure and many people wonder where to begin expanding their social networks. Joining a club like a book club at the local library, or signing up for a sport like doubles tennis at the local community center is an easy way to meet new people who share your interests. Plus, you’ll be combining your socializing with some important self-care time exploring your own interests.
Keep A Friend Journal
Many people with ADD/ADHD find it helpful to keep a friend journal where they document how long it has been since they last connected with a particular person. Remembering to keep in touch with friends regularly can be particularly difficult for folks with ADD, so a friend journal serves as a reminder to main those relationships.
Schedule Friendship Time
It’s easy for anyone with a busy adult life to let friendship time slide away in favor of more nagging priorities. This is especially problematic for those with ADD because they already struggle with managing distractions and priorities. Try setting aside an hour each week to catch up on emails and phone calls with friends and keep that time protected from encroaching distractions.
Being able to do two things at once is a strength of people with ADD. Take advantage of that strength and phone a friend while you’re folding laundry or commuting to work. Once you get in the habit, you’ll find it easy to incorporate friendship time into your everyday routine.
Take The Pressure Off
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that time with friends requires a lot of effort, planning, or organization. Think of ways incorporate friendships into your regular schedule. For example, ask a neighbor to join you on your weekly grocery shop, or invite a friend to come along on your regular trips to the gym. Even grabbing a quick half-hour coffee with a friend after work can help strengthen those bonds.
There is absolutely no reason why living with adult ADD/ADHD should negatively impact your social life. Making and maintaining new friends requires effort and commitment from everyone. With these simple tips, you’ll soon find yourself blossoming into a social butterfly.
Ready to take action and maintain and create new friendships? My free checklist can help!
Want more tips on developing new friendships with adult ADD/ADHD? Contact me for a personalized consultation.
4 Strategies For Emotional Regulation
Emotional regulation is the ability to control one’s emotional response to the vast variety of experiences and circumstances we encounter every day. Emotional regulation can include controlling spontaneous reactions, regulating one’s feelings, and modulating behavior.
As we move through the world, we are all faced with potentially irritating or triggering stimuli and many of us engage in emotional regulation without even knowing it. The ability to regulate one’s emotional response to external factors is key in maintaining the organization and quality of one’s thoughts, actions, and interactions.
Although emotional regulation often comes naturally, there are times when keeping one’s instinctive emotional response in check can be a challenge. To help improve your emotional regulation in those moments, use these four strategies.
Take A Step Back
To avoid reacting on impulse with negative or disproportionate emotions, take a step back and allow yourself to regroup before responding. Make it a rule to take five deep breaths before reacting to an emotional trigger. Deep breathing helps an agitated heart rate return to normal and reduces the anxiety or anger that may have triggered you.
Find An Outlet
Once you’ve calmed your initial emotional response, find a healthy way to release your anxiety or anger. Write in a private journal to release your thoughts and feelings. Exercise is also a great way to sweat out your negative emotions and replace them with positive endorphins.
Talk It Out
Sometimes we just need to vent into order to let go of a negative experience. Find a trustworthy friend or family member to listen to your story or consult a coach for an unbiased and safe space to talk it out.
Build Your Toolkit
Engaging in healthy habits throughout your everyday life can build an emotional regulation toolkit. This way, you’ll be better equipped to handle emotional triggers when they arise. Meditation, good sleep patterns, and self-care have all been shown to reduce the likelihood of disproportionate emotional reactions.
Ready to take action and regulate your emotions? My free checklist can help!
Want more tips on how to improve emotional regulation? Book a private coaching session for personalized advice.
How Mindfulness Can Improve Your Focus
In a fast-paced world with countless distractions and demands on our focus, mindfulness and meditation have gained popularity. The most basic principles of mindfulness are about living consciously and paying close attention to the present moment. Because mindfulness requires a special level of attention, it may seem challenging for a person with ADHD to practice this form of meditation. However, research has shown that mindfulness, when adapted for ADHD, can improve focus and concentration.
With the demands of modern living, multitasking has become the norm for many people. Unfortunately, multitasking often does more harm than good, resulting in memory problems, excess stress, and increased distractibility. Practicing mindfulness demands single-tasking and asks practitioners to focus on one task at a time. Slowing down and eliminating multitasking can increase your focus and your productivity.
#2: Stress Reduction
Stress often escalates when people get overwhelmed by present demands and future fears. Mindfulness asks that your attention remain in the present moment. Instead of worrying about the future, mindfulness brings your attention back to the present and allows you to focus on what’s in front of you. Mindfulness will help you redirect your thoughts away from future worries and anxieties so you can focus on the present. In addition, the improved focus you’ll get from single-tasking will help prevent you from getting overwhelmed and stressed by everything coming at you all at once.
#3: Improve Concentration
Other research has shown that mindfulness can help rewire your brain and create new neurological pathways. It has also been shown to increase grey matter in the brain, and that extra density can improve one’s overall psychological well-being. By rewiring your brain and creating new pathways through mindfulness and meditation, you’re helping yourself find new ways to cope with stress and handle tasks. This all means that you’ll be better equipped to deal with distractions, resulting in improved concentration.
At first, mindfulness may seem challenging. In fact, many new practitioners struggle with feeling that mindfulness has made them more distracted. This feeling is normal because mindfulness will initially draw attention to your propensity for distraction. Noticing your distractions is the first step in the process. With time, you’ll learn to recognize them and let them go so you can focus on the task at hand.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Watch for my group on planning that I will be rolling out sometime this summer.
NEED HELP? Set up a complimentary strategy session so we can talk about it HERE.
Streamline Your Life with These 10 Clutter Hacks!
Last week, we talked about mental clutter and how it can impact your daily life. This week, let’s talk about physical clutter. Learning how to managing physical clutter is a huge subject, but with some systems and structures, you can reclaim a sense of physical order in your life. Once it is under control, you will begin to notice that you are more relaxed and much less stressed when you are in your space. As an added bonus, I have a free clutter hack checklist that you can download at the end of the article to get you started!
To start, here are 10 clutter hacks that will streamline your life:
#1: Find a permanent home for the important things that you use on a daily basis. For instance, you could hang a key hook near your home’s doorway. This is where your keys will live from now on. Never let your keys leave your hand until they are hanging on that key hook. Keep your wallet or purse, phone, planner, umbrella, jacket, or anything else important near the key hook so you will easily be able to grab them on the way out of the door. If you have the space and the budget, a mud bench can work well for this purpose.
#2: Deal with your mail. Before the mail leaves your hand, deal with it. Do an instant sort by standing next to the trash and/or recycle bin and toss your junk mail. Don’t let it take up residence in a pile on your counter, desk, or table. If you find important mail, put it in a designated spot that you will go through once a week and take care of. If it is urgent, deal with it NOW. Not later.
#3: Keep projects and hobbies accessories together in bins or decorative boxes. Here, there are so many options for attractive storage that you can incorporate them into the décor of your home. Be sure to label them clearly to avoid the “out of sight, out of mind” tendency. Make sure that each family member has their own bin, just for their own miscellaneous stuff.
#4: Do a “race against time” when you need to do a quick clean up. Set a timer for 15 minutes and then hurry through the house, picking up as much clutter as you can. Remember that, while this will instantly improve the look of your space, you will still need to sort through the collected clutter at some point. This is a nice trick for when you only get 15 minutes notice before someone shows up at your door. This can actually become a fun game if you involve the whole family!
#5: Set an intention of 15 minutes every day to tidy up the places that are always a mess, such as your desk or a kitchen counter. Do this before you move forward with the rest of your day. It may take a week or more, but if you just stick with it, you will build a habit and it will get cleared. The only caveat here is that you must completely clear one area before moving on to another area. One step at a time.
#6: Live Clean. Set an intention that you will clean up as you go. If you use a bowl, a spoon, and a cup for breakfast, it goes straight into the dishwasher, not on the counter or in the sink. If you pull out 5 different outfit ideas to wear to school or work in the morning, re-hang or re-fold the items and put them away before leaving the area. (If you choose your outfit the night before, this problem could be eliminated altogether).
#7: Keep an empty container (maybe a box or sack) in your closet. When you find something that you don’t love, or doesn’t fit, or for some reason you don’t choose, put it in your container to donate. There are plenty of people who will be delighted to have these items. When the container is full, take it to your donation location of choice.
#8: Don’t buy more than you can use or more than you can store. If your pantry is small and storage space is scarce, buy only what you can comfortably store. If you buy more, the newer items might get piled on top of the older items, which won’t be discovered until well past the expiration date. This wastes money, time, and is unsightly.
#9: Keep travel items together. You may end up with duplicates of some things, but it will be worth it when you pack and arrive at your destination. Going on too many trips to Walmart after arriving at my destination taught me this one. Remember that cosmetics, medications, and some personal care items have expiration dates. These are the things that you should not store, but rather have them a checklist so that you can pack them as you go. Create a packing list. You can start it now, and add to it the next time you travel. I actually have two, one for road trips, and one if I am flying. Believe me when I say that I have a lot of comfort items that I like to take with me and flying doesn’t allow for some of them.
#10: Consider going digital with your reading. When purchasing a new book, see if there is a digital option and get the app to read it on your device. Magazines can be a huge clutter issue. I admit that I still like holding a magazine in my hands, but I am moving towards going digital as each subscription expires. The upside of going digital is that you have all your books, magazines, and reading material in the same place to take with you when you travel!
As always, baby steps. Even one small change today will make a big difference tomorrow.