Lifestyle Management for ADHD Adults. Sleep, Exercise, & Diet

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

See the other Adult ADHD Issues.

Facilitator: Pete Quily

Thanks to Benjamin for the great notes!

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

 

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 exhaustion or risk burnout. A racecar brain needs to take time for regular pit stops for fuel (exercise, diet) and maintenance (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 pick 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

Cooking for one

Eating as stimulant activity

Forgetting to eat

Getting trapped in hyperfocus

Lack of cooking knowledge

Lack of desire to learn

Lack of nutritional knowledge

Laziness

Lengthy complex recipes

Nature of job – lack of regular breaks

Not packing healthy lunch/snacks

Pain in the ass cleaning up

Planning, prioritizing, sequencing

Travel

 

Factors that support an adequate diet

Apply your creativity to cooking & shopping

Arrange grocery list by aisle

Group cooking experiment

Have healthy meals delivered, can do weekly

Have organic produce delivered

Keep a list of favourite menu options, plan out your week (fish on Tuesdays), put in Palm/daytimer so readily available

Keep healthy options at work

Make a list of lunch items you like

Make large batches & freeze it

One pot meals, crockpot

Pre-pack leftovers into meals

Shop more frequently or less frequently, whatever works for you

Simple cookbooks

 

Factors that interfere with getting adequate exercise

Adequate exercise storage at work (eg, bicycle storage, shower; or place to keep gym gear)

Being a mouse-potato

Black & white thinking

Counting oneself last

Forgetting

General organization of day/time

Getting trapped in hyperfocus

Injuries

Kids

Lack of concept of moderation; burn-out; unrealistic expectations

Lack of motivation

Lack of self-awareness

Laziness

Nature of job

Pain in the ass

People-pleasing / leaky boundaries

Planning, prioritizing, sequencing

Resistance to structure/routine

Self-confidence

Travel

Weather

 

Factors that support getting adequate exercise

Considering exercise as a self-care activity

Finding a form of exercise you enjoy

Hire a trainer

Include exercise as a form of socializing

Join a club or team

Keeping the goal in mind and knowing what it looks like

One day at a time, if that works for you

SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound

Structure that is loose enough but not too loose

Use it as a way to get to work, even part-way

Varying the types of exercise, avoid boredom

Write down the consequences of not doing it versus the benefits of doing it

 

Factors that interfere with getting adequate sleep

Being a mouse or a coach potato

Black & white thinking

Counting oneself last

Electronic addiction: net, games, TV, chat overstimulates brain, can't shut it down easily

Forgetting

Forgetting to close the door (pets wake you up)

General organization of day/time

Getting trapped in hyperfocus

Injuries

Kids

Lack of concept of moderation; burn-out; unrealistic expectations

Lack of motivation

Lack of self-awareness

Laziness

Nature of job, shift-work

Pain in the ass

Partner

People-pleasing / leaky boundaries

Physical problems, eg, sleep apnea

Planning, prioritizing, sequencing

Poor organization leads to late night worries

Resistance to structure/routine

Travel

Weather

 

Factors that support getting adequate sleep

Check for physical problems with sleep, i.e., sleep apnea

Clear mind of clutter: journal, notebook by the bed, voice recorder

Consciously planning for sleep

Creative alarm clocks

Dim lights in the hour before going to bed

Earplugs, eye mask

Exercise

Hot bath

Meditate

Partner

Sex

The right alarm clock, eg, Zen alarm, positioned so you have to get out of bed to shut it off

Turn of All electronic stimulation (net, computer, tv, games) at least one hour before bedtime

Use the hour before bed to get organized for the next day

Warm milk & banana

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