Do You Hate To Clean Too?

Over the last two weeks, my room slowly devolved into complete and utter filth. The floor was totally buried in clothes and I had to step over piles of papers, shoes and purses to get around. There were leftover wrappers, empty Amazon boxes and some even some unwashed cups and dishes. Please don’t judge me too much, but the state of things in my bedroom was pretty grim.

Now I can assure you that this is not my preferred my way of living and I swear, in the rest of my life I am not a total disaster. But as many of you with ADD may relate to, I just couldn’t will myself to focus on cleaning it up. I had put it off for so long that the mountain of stuff in front of me had become too overwhelming for me to even process where to start.

By the time it became intolerable, I knew I had to conquer my mess. But I kept starting in one area of my room and then switching to another area, then getting distracted again. When the biggest problem was folding and putting away my clothes, I got bored and cleaned my sink instead — a much less urgent task.

So I turned to my American Shaman CBD Oil to help me focus and the biggest strategy I landed on was really committing to cleaning one thing at a time, whether that’s a certain corner of your room or tackling all your clothes at once. It was hard to stay focused long enough to clean the giant mess I had created, but by the end, it was so worth it. A clean room did wonders for my mental health and ended up helping my focus going forward.

My mess mission now is to follow the advice I read earlier in the year and commit to taking care of my clothes and messes right in the moment. I still find myself tossing a shirt on the floor when I get home and I know my habits won’t change right away. But little by little I’m learning to fold right when I get home.

How do you keep a clean room? Let me know in the comments?

Seasonal Mood Swings Or Something More?

Sudden warm weather tends to make me absolutely ecstatic.

But the last few weeks in Nashville have brought some wild weather, from terrible thunderstorms to beautiful 70 degree days, to a dramatic drop to an icy 20 degrees, all within two weeks.

I tend to forget the serious impact that weather changes can have on mood. But this bout of insane weather gave me a big reminder of the reality of seasonal impacts on both depression and hypomania.

When the sun appeared out of nowhere last week I found myself suddenly in an almost manic state — cleaning my house, getting all my projects done, starting new ones and feeling almost euphorically confident. Then as the rain and cold set in days later, I became withdrawn, unmotivated and struggled to finish my work or post the blogs I wanted to. I went to my psychiatrist wondering if I was having bizarre several-day-long bipolar episodes. Thankfully, she told me the answer was more likely my mental health responding to the changing weather.

I was so glad to have this clarity about my last few weeks. But with another couple months of potentially temperamental weather before summer, I need to make sure I am prepared to deal with the mental impact on the seasons.

So here’s what I’m doing to stay sane. To start, I’m looking into buying a special seasonal depression light, which helps mimic the effects of the sun on your brain while you’re at your desk. I’ve also found that I need to make sure I get out of bed early and kickstart my day with caffeine on the colder and drearier days. Honestly, if I don’t force myself to get working, I may end up lying in bed for hours doing nothing while it rains. On the sunnier days when I suddenly feel like superwoman, I’m making sure to take time for mindfulness and meditation, to help balance out my suddenly hyperactive brain.

Most importantly, we all need to have a little grace with ourselves during this time when our mental health may be a bit less reliable.

What do you do for seasonal mental health? Let me know in the comments!

5 Ways To Practice Self-Care In A Stressful Time

Today I realized something terrifying. In eight weeks, I will graduate from college.

So from the minute I woke up, I was filled with sudden panic about the huge unknown that’s in front of me. Unfortunately, there’s no way for me to ease the stress by getting the perfect job overnight. Instead, I am going to have to make my final days in school about self-care to combat the anxiety.

I’ll admit that I’ve never been great about self-care. Sometimes it makes me feel selfish, or like I’m wasting valuable time that I could be spending getting work done. But I have also seen its value time and time again when I need to reset and collect myself.

So here’s what I’ll be doing to take care of myself during this stressful season.

  1. Taking walks and spending time outside.

Even thought it’s cold, I always find that just half an hour walking outside can help me settle back into a place of calm. If I start to lose focus, getting some fresh air and moving around is always a good way to recharge.

  1. Do something creative.

When I have restless energy, it helps me to feel like I’ve at least created something with my time spend decompressing. So try journaling, painting or writing a song.

  1. Paint my nails (or even spring for a manicure!)

It’s the simplest luxury, but I always feel more confident when my nails look nice. And sometimes the little bit of pampering we get at a manicure is just the extra care we need.

  1. Spend less time on social media.

I’ve heard that comparison is the thief of joy and, especially in a time of so much change, it can be hard not to compare myself to those who seem to have it all figured out, according to social media. But I need to remember that I am exactly where I need to be and that nobody has all the answers, even if it looks like it on Instagram.

5. Try to stay present.

While it’s important for me to engage in the new phase my life is entering, I also need to remember not to get so caught up in planning that I lose sight of my two months as a student. I should most of all be enjoying the days I have left as a student, not panicking about what I will do when they end.

What do you do for self-care? Let me know in the comments!

Are You Addicted To Your Phone?

Lately I’ve noticed that I feel more and more addicted to my phone every day. I deleted the Facebook app a long time ago because it felt like a time suck and that helped me detach from my phone for a while. But now, I’ll find myself scrolling through Instagram for far too long, closing out of it and almost compulsively, unconsciously opening it again a few minutes later without even realizing what I’ve done.

Sometimes ADD can come with an addictive personality, but I think many of us struggle with an uncontrollable fixation on our apps.

But the last time I updated my phone, I found a new screen time function that measured how much time I spent on my phone per day. And the results were frightening.

It reports that in the last seven days, I’ve spent an average of 2 hours and 40 minutes on my phone per day. In the moment, I never really feel like I could have spent that much time texting, scrolling through Instagram or checking the news. But it seriously adds up. And the even scarier figure is that over the past week I have spent a cumulative 18 hours and 42 minutes on my phone. Just writing that horrifies me when I think of all the actually constructive things I could be doing with 18 whole hours.

So I have a few goals for this next week to cut down my phone time and I would love it if you would join me!

  1. Turn my phone off or put it far away from my bed before I go to sleep.
  2. Limit my Instagram use to 20 minutes a day (the screen time functions lets you set limits for each app!)
  3. Limit my time on news apps to 15 minutes a day. It all depresses me anyway.
  4. Try to only open my phone when I have received a message, not just to compulsively swipe around.
  5. Lastly, when I feel the need to scroll through my phone for no reason, I will try to fill that time with better things like going for a walk, writing a song, cooking or journaling.

How do you detach from your phone? Let me know in the comments!

Overcompensating Organization

On the outside I can appear very, very organized. So frighteningly organized that it has become my identifier at times. My Google calendar is color coded to the extreme with everything on my schedule neatly laid out. I have an additional paper planner where I list everything I have to do for the week. I label everything I possibly can. I love to put papers in perfect piles in my office.

But at home, the organization all falls into total chaos (my blog header is a good example). While my planner looks great, I sometimes still have papers secretly crumpled all around the bottom of my backpack. And it took me a long time to realize how much I was organizationally overcompensating at work and at school.

This partially comes from the need to go overboard to keep myself on track, since I can be so distractible and frazzled. But I’ve come to realize it’s also a coping mechanism to hide from those around me how bad my ADD really is. It’s a way to prove to myself and everyone else that I am still smart when I’m feeling self-conscious. But sometimes when we try to overcompensate for our organization, we exhaust ourselves doing things that don’t ultimately make us more organized. Color-coding my planner in great detail is surface level and is more to impress those around me than it is helpful.

Those of us with ADD are bound to struggle more with organization. So I encourage all of you to try to embrace that and focus your energy organizing the things that really matter.

How do you stay organized? Let me know in the comments!

ADD And The Curse of Forgetfulness

Well friends, I am here today to share a very embarrassing story from yesterday that those of you with ADD may relate to. I’ve been a bit MIA on the blog this week because unfortunately, my computer crashed. So I made an appointment at the Apple store to have it looked at. But when I got to the store, I reached into my bag to discover I had completely forgotten the computer. Not my finest moment.

Lot’s of people forget things from time to time. But those of us with ADD tend to be way more prone to forgetfulness by nature. A learning specialist once described this to me by saying our memory is like a bucket, and sometimes people with ADD have a few more holes in the bottom for things to fall through.

It can be easy for those of us with ADD to feel stupid in moments like mine at the Apple store. And I know that being forgetful certainly hurt my confidence growing up and throughout high school, especially when people got angry or shamed me for it. But we need to remember that we aren’t forgetful because we are dumb, we are just wired a little differently.

If you have ADD, cut yourself a little slack when you find yourself thinking, “wow that was an airhead move.” Forgetfulness is just part of the package and that’s okay.

If you know someone with ADD, please give them grace when they forget where their keys are or lock themselves out of their car or forget an important email or forget to blow out a candle (yes, I can admit to all of these things and more.) Our brains are preoccupied with so many things that sometimes little details slip through. But it’s not worth getting mad about because you can’t change us. And because we are so creative, maybe the reason we forget the little things is because we are distracted by crafting something truly genius in our busy minds.

Taking Time To Breathe: A Work In Progress

Breathing exercises have been a part of my toolkit since high school when I first began dealing with severe anxiety. If nothing else worked, my last resort was to close my eyes and just try to breathe through my panic until I felt normal again. Some days it worked better than others but if I didn’t have a panic medication on hand, breathing was really all I had. One exercise in particular really helped carry me through high school – breathe in for 4 counts, hold it for 7 counts and breathe out for 8 counts. (I later learned that tapping your leg along with the count in your head can really help as well!) But as I got older and my problems seemed to get bigger I began to minimize the value of breathing exercises to combat anxiety. They were so simple that it started to feel like using a glass of water to put out a forest fire. But in the last few months, I’ve tried to reconnect with the power of breathing exercises and meditation and it’s been a game changer.

I have a hard time remembering to carve out time to breathe and sometimes my brain feels so busy I can’t will myself to slow down for a few minutes. But I learned from my doctor last year that, in order for breathing exercises to really work when I am in the middle of panicking, I have to practice them when I am feeling more neutral. So one easy way I implement this without having to carve out time is using my commute as a time to breathe. I’m not trying to talk to or impress anyone in the car, so I can easily sit at traffic lights and focus on breathing – typically breathing in for 4 counts and out for 6 until I reach my destination or feel a bit of release. When I lived in New York, I even did this on the subway to pass the time.

Making time to meditate is a little trickier but try to get in the habit of avoiding excuses. It’s okay to forget sometimes when the idea of sitting outside and resting your brain feels impossible. I definitely struggle with remembering and making time for meditating, but when I remember to include it in my day, I always notice a difference. My focus is improved and I feel more centered, which can really make a big difference when my ADD feels out of control.

Do you take time to breathe? Have you found value in meditating? Let me know in the comments!