Ten Ways to Control ADHD Symptoms in the New Year
During the holiday season, many adults begin reflecting the past year. What successes have they had? What strategies worked? What strategies need to be revamped? Have you accomplished all that you set out to do?
After reflection, we set out to create new goals for the upcoming year. For most of us, there resolutions will be all but forgotten by the end of January (or even by January 2). Instead of creating resolutions, this year may be the year to incorporate some healthy and positive changes into our life.
The following list gives ten ways you can improve your life and decrease some of they symptoms of adult ADHD.
1) Eat a healthy breakfast. We all have heard that eating a healthy breakfast helps us to focus better throughout the day, but how many of us actually take the time to eat a healthy meal before rushing out the door for work. Think about ways you can incorporate a healthy breakfast into your morning routine. Stock up on yogurt, fruit, and granola bars and other quick but healthy foods.
2) Exercise. Incorporating exercise into our daily routines can help to increase focus and attention. It can help to decrease hyperactivity and depression and anxiety. Even 15-20 minutes of exercise several times per week has been shown to have positive health benefits. Start small with 10 minutes of exercise and work yourself up to a good dose of physical activity. Be sure to speak with your doctor before starting an exercise routine.
3) Make sure you have an accurate diagnosis. If your ADHD symptoms seem out of control, request a complete evaluation from your mental health provider. ADHD often comes with other disorders, such as depression or anxiety. Symptoms of these can be interfering with your ability to get ADHD symptoms under control. Making sure you have an accurate diagnosis is the first step to creating an effective treatment plan.
4) Monitor your treatment. Keeping track of your treatment, your diet and your exercise as well as your ADHD symptoms can help you determine what is working and what isn't. Creating a chart to help monitor symptoms and treatment is a great way to share information with your doctor. Together you can decide if your treatment is working and what, if anything, should be changed.
5) Create to-do lists. Spend five to ten minutes each evening making a list of what you want to accomplish the following day. This is a great way to stay on track and keep focused on your goals.
6) Avoid perfectionism. So many times adults with ADHD will not want to let go of a task because it is just not good enough. Perfectionism can lead to procrastination. Although it is admirable to want your tasks to be the best possible, if perfectionism is holding you back, you may want to ease up on your standards. You may want to set time limits and decide something is good enough at the end of the time period.
7) Set goals. Knowing what you want to accomplish is not the same as setting goals, writing down your goals and creating a plan of action. Give yourself daily or weekly goals. Longer goals tend to get lost in the shuffle of daily life. Focus on short term goals.
8) Know your limits. Make changes in how you manage personal interactions. Understand your limits. For example, if you find yourself drifting off during a conversations, stop and ask the other person if you can take a short break and resume the conversation later. That way, you can come back when you are more able to focus and give the conversation the attention it deserves.
9) Break projects down into steps. Anytime you have a task to complete, take a few minutes to break it down into manageable steps. It may be as simple as cleaning the house or it could be a long-term project at work. No matter what it is, projects are always more manageable if you take them one step at a time.
10) Create routines in your daily life. When each day is a jumbled mess of running from one task to another, take the time to create routines. Knowing what you should be doing at a particular time can help you stay organized and focused. For example, instead of stopping to answer the phone or emails throughout the day, set aside a specific time each day to respond to others. This can help free your time for other tasks.
As always, choose one or two of the suggestions to work on at a time. Trying to improve many areas of your life simultaneously can become overwhelming.