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Topic: Healthy ADHD Lifestyle Management. Sleep, Exercise, Diet, and the 3 R’s: Relax, Refresh, Rejuvenate

August 22nd 2006 Meeting Notes for the Vancouver Adult ADD Support Group

Return to Vancouver Adult ADD Support Group Previous Notes Page

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Facilitator: Pete Quily


Thanks to Benjamin for the great notes! The ADHD lifestyle can be quite chaotic and draining especially if you have trouble being self aware and saying no. We can easily go go go on stimulation overload until we crash from exaustion or risk burnout. A race car brain needs to take time for regular pit stops for fuel (exercise, diet) and maintenace (sleep, the 3R's) or the engine will weaken or shut down.

So while it's important for everyone to have a reasonably healthy lifestyle, it is even more important for an ADDer who is more likely to not have a healthy lifestyle when you think of some of the negative aspects of ADD that can make it harder to manage your diet, sleep, exercise and getting relaxed, refreshed, and rejuvenated.

For example, being easily distracted, forgetful, not very organized, troubles prioritizing, planning and completing tasks, inattentive, procrastinates often, easily overloaded and overwhelmed, prone to hyperfocus and impulsive etc. Negative lifestyle habits and decrease your level of functioning in many areas of your life, as well as reducing your level of happiness.

Don't try and change all factors at once. Realistic practicality leads to success. Delusion perfectionism leads to overload, overwhelm, frustration and failure. Maybe pick one area, i.e. diet, exercise or sleep etc and work one creating one habit in that area for a week, then picking another area the next week.

Here's a list of 73 Factors that interfere with a healthy ADHD Lifestyle, and 48 Factors that Support a healthy ADHD Lifestyle

Factors that interfere with an adequate diet

Factors that support an adequate diet

   

Travel
Not packing healthy lunch/snacks
Nature of job – lack of regular breaks
Laziness
Lack of cooking knowledge
Lack of desire to learn
Planning, prioritizing, sequencing
Cooking for one
Lengthy complex recipes
Getting trapped in hyperfocus
Forgetting to eat
Eating as stimulant activity
Lack of nutritional knowledge
Pain in the ass cleaning up

Make large batches & freeze it
Shop more frequently or less frequently, whatever works for you
Group cooking experiment
Have healthy meals delivered, can do weekly
Have organic produce delivered
Simple cook books
One pot meals, crock pot
Keep a list of favorite menu options, plan out your week (fish on Tuesdays), put in Palm/daytimer so readily available
Arrange grocery list by aisle
Apply your creativity to cooking & shopping
Pre-pack leftovers into meals
Make a list of lunch items you like
Keep healthy options at work

Factors that interfere with getting adequate exercise

Factors that support getting adequate exercise

   

Travel
Injuries
Self-confidence
Nature of job
Laziness
Lack of motivation
Weather
Kids
General organization of day/time
Planning, prioritizing, sequencing
Adequate exercise storage at work (eg, bicycle storage, shower; or place to keep gym gear)
Getting trapped in hyperfocus
Forgetting
People-pleasing / leaky boundaries
Counting oneself last
Resistance to structure/routine
Black & white thinking
Lack of concept of moderation; burn-out; unrealistic expectations
Pain in the ass
Lack of self-awareness
Being a mouse-potato

Considering exercise as a self-care activity
One day at a time, if that works for you
Keeping the goal in mind and knowing what it looks like
SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound
Finding a form of exercise you enjoy
Varying the types of exercise, avoid boredom
Include exercise as a form of socializing
Join a club or team
Use it as a way to get to work, even part-way
Hire a trainer
Structure that is loose enough but not too loose
Write down the consequences of not doing it versus the benefits of doing it

   

Factors that interfere with getting adequate sleep

Factors that support getting adequate sleep

   

Poor organization leads to late night worries
Electronic addiction: net, games, TV, chat overstimulates brain, can't shut it down easily
Partner
Travel
Injuries
Physical problems, eg, sleep apnea
Nature of job, shift-work
Laziness
Lack of motivation
Weather
Kids
Forgetting to close door (pets wake you up)
General organization of day/time
Planning, prioritizing, sequencing
Getting trapped in hyperfocus
Forgetting
People-pleasing / leaky boundaries
Counting oneself last
Resistance to structure/routine
Black & white thinking
Lack of concept of moderation; burn-out; unrealistic expectations
Pain in the ass
Lack of self-awareness
Being a mouse or a coach potato

Turn of All electronic stimulation (net, computer, tv, games) at least one hour before bedtime
Exercise
Partner
Sex
Earplugs, eye mask
Consciously planning for sleep
Warm milk & banana
Hot bath
Meditate
Clear mind of clutter: journal, notebook by bed, voice recorder
Use the hour before bed to get organized for the next day
The right alarm clock, eg, Zen alarm, positioned so you have to get out of bed to shut it off
Creative alarm clocks
Dim lights in the hour before going to bed
check for physical problems with sleep, i.e., sleep apnea

   

Factors that interfere with the 3 R’s: Rest, Refresh, Rejuvenate

Factors that support the 3 R’s: Rest, Refresh, Rejuvenate

   

Stimulation addiction, constant search for stimulation
Electronic addiction: net, games, TV, chat
Understimulation
Partner
Travel
Nature of job, shift-work
Kids
General organization of day/time
Getting trapped in hyperfocus
Forgetting
People-pleasing / leaky boundaries
Counting oneself last
Perfectionism
Lack of self-awareness

Scheduling a specific time, taking breaks
Experiment with times, some may take 5 min, some 20 min
Meditate: breathe, walking
Go off the electronic grid
Green time, more time in nature
Have a list of relaxing activities to choose from
Vary activities to avoid sense of over-structure
Positive self-talk/self-awareness
Developing body awareness
Tai Chi
Qigong
Post-yoga or post-exercise time
Regular massage

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