Tuning out her son army crawling across the floor to grab his headphones and helping her daughter make homemade tortillas for her Spanish class all while running a virtual team meeting was the breaking point for one of my executive clients.

Let’s call this client Claire. During our last conversation I could hear her exhaustion, frustration and overwhelm.

She sighed, “I don’t know how much longer I can do this. I’ve hit the wall!”

Can you relate?

After weeks and weeks “safe-at-home” we are hearing more and more that people are feeling overworked, distracted, stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed. Adrenaline got us through those first weeks. Now we’re reaching into our energy reserves to get us through.

Claire knows she is not showing up for her team or family like she wants to or like they need her to. Not only is she distracted, but she’s got a short fuse. She says she doesn’t have any patience to listen to her family or team. She wants to simply tell them what to do and move on. Her stress is at an all-time high.

When our brains are flooded with stress chemicals, we lose the ability to show up with empathy.

Add to that, we are no longer getting that great energy from being with others in person.

And the cherry on top is that connecting virtually comes at a cost. According to Harvard Business Review, we are suffering from “Zoom fatigue”. They have found that when we are on virtual calls, we have to use so much more energy to focus. This explains why Claire is so exhausted after meeting on-screen at least 6 hours a day.

Meeting in person is like having a healthy, well-balanced meal and meeting virtually is like eating cheetos for dinner.

After talking more, we discovered Claire is not taking care of herself. Her sleep is erratic at best. Exercise is non-existent. She has her leaded coffee for breakfast, cheez itz for lunch and M&M’s for dinner.

Claire wants to do better.

I asked her what she could do now to empty all the crap out of her cup and fill it with things to reduce her stress and give her more energy and focus.

She said, “I think I need to make wellness part of my job description. Framing it that way will help me make it a priority.”

I usually don’t encourage clients to take on more than one change at a time. But Claire is ready to do radical self-care. She decided to tackle three areas that will have the greatest positive impact on her overall well-being.

Eating

  • Claire has committed to eating something high in protein with her morning coffee.
  • She’s blocking 30 minutes at noon each day to eat a healthy lunch with her daughter and catch up with her.
  • She’s telling her team that her workday is done at 6pm and will make a weekly plan with her family for getting a healthy meal on the table every night.

Movement (Exercise has a negative connotation for Claire.)

  • Claire committed to doing 15 push-ups as she rolls out of bed.
  • Claire will set her timer to go off 30 minutes into each meeting and have everyone get up and move for 5 minutes.
  • She committed to walking the dog with her husband every night after dinner.

Sleep

  • Claire will go to bed at 10:30pm and wake up at 6:30am every day.
  • She will do a 5-10 minute meditation to wind down from the day and clear her mind.
  • She will not check her phone in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning. She will check her phone after she has had her breakfast.

This is the time to double down on our self-care.

In fact, Claire told me she was never this “messy” with her self-care. She can’t even believe what bad habits she has adopted these past several weeks. She’s confident she can get back on track.

If you’ve got some messy self-care going on, make your own action plan of specific things you’re going to do to start feeling better.

Feeling crazed and exhausted every day? I know the feeling. The fix sounds simple…make self-care a non-negotiable priority.

It’s likely if you’re not recharging your battery every single day, you’re walking around haggard, crabby, and resentful.

The first step in self-care is to be gentle and kind to yourself. Practice self-compassion.

Next, give yourself permission to get support around your self-care. Yes, you can ask for help. It’s a positive healthy part of life.

Now, make a commitment with your spouse, a friend, your sister, anyone who loves you a lot and scares you just a little to hold you accountable. Ok? You got your person? Good.

Lastly, be realistic. I know you have superhuman powers. After all you’re a woman. It goes without saying. Choose just one of the following hacks to start. Not all of them. Once you’ve made one of these part of your life, add on another. Read More

It feels like everyone expects you to cooperatively organize everyone without complaining, and look great while you do it.

It’s unrealistic for anyone. There’s the part of you that knows it’s unrealistic, and then there’s the part of you that pursues it anyway.

When you feel chronically strung out and stressed, you don’t feel you deserve any time for yourself.

You don’t feel entitled to relaxation or adequate sleep, and you put your own self-care on the back burner.

This saps your resources, makes you more likely to get sick or have an accident, and exacerbates your ADHD symptoms even more. Feeling awful becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Don’t give up hope. Read More

Shhhh. I know it’s embarrassing. You don’t understand it. You pray no one else notices. You know? The smell; the stink of not showering. Of course you know keeping yourself clean and well groomed is healthy and socially acceptable. Anything less, is…well…not.

What the heck is going on then? Maybe you’re at one of those ages when a lot of people have a hard time with personal hygiene. Yes, there are times in our lives when it is harder for us and for lots of different reasons.

Surprise, you’re a tween. You’ve always showered but Mom is always nagging you about it now. Why are you resisting? It was never a big deal before.

Maybe you’re a new Mom. Oh boy. I remember those days. I felt so accomplished if I actually showered and put on a t-shirt that wasn’t covered in baby spit-up. New Mom’s have a great excuse. But, it doesn’t make you feel any better. In fact, you feel kind of gross.

You could be in your “golden years” and gosh darn it, you’re tired! You have every right to be. After all, you’ve spent years taking care of everyone else.

Or, you have a physical condition that makes it hard to shower. Maybe you struggle with fine motor skills.

Maybe you have ADHD and that makes it even harder.

I get it. You’re thinking, “What’s the big deal? Just shower.” Showering is a common self-care act. But common does not mean easy for those who struggle in other parts of their life with time, organization, motivation, memory, activation, and action.

So don’t beat yourself up or anyone else. Instead, you can coach yourself or someone else to figuring out what’s getting in the way of showering and what to do about it.

Read More

For better or worse, what we eat affects our brains performance for the day.

The combination of foods determines if our brains make the right connections. Are you ready for the secret formula? Here we go.

Read More

What if you can’t remember your past because you never actually made memories? Is that worse than making them and then forgetting them?

I wonder who will tell this present when it becomes the past? Will future grandparents have stories that start with “I remember when I was your age…?”

I don’t know the answer to that but I do know these things to be true.

  • I can’t go back and live the past because it’s gone. Poof! Doesn’t exist.
  • And I can’t live in the future because it doesn’t exist yet.
  • The only thing that does exist is the present.

So, if I’m not existing in the present, do I exist at all?

Read More

Does it surprise you that lot’s of people are lonely and disconnected, despite our on-line connections of friends, followers and likes?

We’re missing out on the positive effects of sharing smiles and hugs with all this technology. When you add ADHD to the mix, the problem gets worse.

Some ADHD quirks get in the way of making and holding on to friends. Friendships depend on us being on time and being at the right place to meet; remembering names; remembering people’s stories; not putting foot in mouth; listening — not interrupting; not getting too close too quickly; being able to tolerate frustration; managing emotions, being patient.

You’ve Got Lots to Offer

On the flip-side, ADD’ers are, in many ways, gifted in friendships — being warm, generous, forgiving, and intuitive. Sadly, these great qualities aren’t recognized enough because the other quirky challenges of ADHD get in the way.

Friendships cost nothing but time and attention.

But they rely on us taking initiative. When one person is always the one to keep in touch, it gets old and the friendship eventually dies. Tending to your current friends is crucial. You have to check in with a person regularly to make sure the friendship stays healthy.

Think of one person you’d like to connect with more. Someone who you share a genuine and mutual connection with…..even if it’s been awhile since you’ve talked.

You’re hesitating?

Consider these four reasons why friendships are so important to our health and well-being before brushing this aside.

Read More

Are you your own worst bully?

Pay attention to the negative chatter in your head. Would you talk to a friend or your child that way? No?!

You deserve the same respect.

Yes. You. Do.

Next time you feel beat up notice who is throwing the punches.

If it’s you, it’s time to start building some self-love into your days.

Read More

The double whammy of having ADHD yourself and raising a kid with ADHD leaves many Mom’s feeling alone, depressed, overwhelmed, and did I mention exhausted?

I talk to lots of Mom’s about their kid’s ADHD. Recently, I asked a Mom if she has ever been diagnosed with ADHD. She chuckled lightly and said she suspected she would be, if she could find the time to see a doctor. Sigh. Sigh. She’s not alone.

Moms rely heavily on the brain’s executive functions including, exercising good judgment, planning, being patient, keeping calm, time management, and organization. Moms struggling with these challenges look at their chaotic, cluttered, unorganized lives and wonder how other Mom’s keep it “all together”.

If you’ve got kids dealing with those same challenges, you’re bound to have more missed deadlines, general mishaps, emotional outbursts, and, just as often, moments that, at least in retrospect, are poignantly funny.

You don’t outgrow ADHD or get it as an adult although it’s so common for girls to discover it late in life. If you have it as an adult, you’ve lived with it as a little girl. A Missed Diagnosis. Depression, anxiety, and dangerously low self-esteem are all too common for those girls who’ve slipped under the ADHD radar.

The good news is that as awareness of the seriousness of ADHD increases, more women are getting diagnosed—an experience many describe as liberating. Many women say they’re happy they pursued a diagnosis, which has helped them make sense of their pasts while managing their lives today.

Knowing how your brain works is a big benefit! Building self-awareness around how ADHD shows up for you is super important in finding successful strategies to ease day-to-day symptoms. Some things have to be accepted, while others can be tweaked to make life go a little smoother.

Have you been putting off getting a diagnosis and/or treatment? What if your diagnosis and treatment could lead you to saving just one inattentive daydreaming girl from a lifetime of suffering? Wondering, who that could be? They are the girls and women hidden in plain sight….. a student in a classroom where you volunteer, a niece, a granddaughter, a friend, a sister, another Mom.

Helping yourself first, allows you to share your story with others. Your journey can become part of someone else’s journey – their beginning of self-awareness, self-confidence, and self-compassion.

More and more information is becoming available about women and ADHD. You don’t have to go it alone. If you would like more information or support for women and girls with ADHD please get in touch with me at support@coachcarlene.com

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