Hello to my ADHD peeps and ADHD loved ones living with ADHD last time we talked a little bit about the symptom of forgetfulness that is seen pretty commonly in ADHD. If you missed that article, click right here and you can get caught up.
Forgetting things is never fun so what can we do to become a little more effective at not forgetting? There are a lot of things that we can do and as always things are going to be different for each person so try a couple of these strategies out and find what works the best for you.
First, I think understanding that we are forgetful is an extremely important place to start. It is easy to beat ourselves up because we forget something, and it causes you to stress more and more about forgetting things. With that stress you start to hyperfixate on preventing it and it causes you more stress. Simple tip… don’t do that. Forgetting things is not the end of the world. It can be inconvenient sure but learn new methods to ensure your success. Reducing your stress in life can do wonders on helping your memory. Have you ever lost something and been so stressed and you start to get to a point where you are frantic that you can’t find it? It is near impossible to remember where you put something or where you have searched. This is because your brains is going to engage a system called Fight or Flight. Animals developed this ability a very long time ago and basically, it’s a system that allows animals to read a situation and decide whether you want to fight or run away. If anyone is interested, I can write an entire post on this and how it can relate to toxic stress in children which is when this system is constantly overloaded and causes health problems.
Sidetrack over, Fight or Flight gets activated when we are stressed. We get multiple different reactions depending on how you deal with stress. You may become angry and start sporadically turning over the entire house because sooner or later it will end up showing up if you turn the house upside down. Or you can deal with it by getting upset and feeling hopeless. No matter what reaction you exhibit the consequences will be similar. You are going to have a harder time finding this item because you are now in a worked-up state. The key to preventing a stress is creating a designated spot that you always put your important items. Some easy ways you can do this is if your important items are car keys and a wallet. Find one spot that is out in the open that you always put them. When I get home from school no matter what is going on, I take my keys and my wallet out of my pockets and set them into a little bowl that is on a countertop in my living room. The main thing you have to remember here is when you get home that is the first thing you always do. Create a ritual. I say this because I have messed this up and found my keys in the craziest of places. When you only have one set of keys and you are about to be late going to a test or work those are when emotions start flying. Create a habit of this now and you will be extremely grateful in the future.
Let’s say you hate that idea your house is a disaster and no matter where you put your keys and wallet, they are going to get lost. Adapt and create a new system. Place a tile on your phone, wallet, and keys. If you end up losing your keys somewhere in your house, you can find its location by activating your tile. Like I always say things are going to work for different people if something on here doesn’t work try something new or create ideas for others by commenting and I can update these so people can grow. The most important thing is finding what works for you and creating a consistent pattern.
Other things that help improve forgetfulness include physical activity. Make sure you are staying active. It is easy with all of the technology available to stay in and live a sedentary life. It’s incredibly easy to spend an entire day without seeing that big burning ball in the sky. Staying active is important for people with ADHD (and everyone) for several reasons. One of the big ones is physical activity can help protect your brain from aging and degeneration. It helps oxygen spread throughout the body allowing for maximum oxygen transport. Brains love oxygen and according to NCBI our brain ends up using 20% of the oxygen that we breath in. Your brain only takes up 2 percent of your body weight. It is using 10 times more oxygen than a normal tissue of its size. Take care of that brain and it will take care of you as you get older. Other reasons why exercise is good for people with ADHD is that it allows for the release of dopamine, which individuals with ADHD often are deficient in. Exercise will also help reduce hyperactivity and help with sitting still for longer periods. And last but not least it reduces stress. This seems to be a common theme that I keep coming up with. Stress is all around us and it is easy to look at the world and realize the world is crazy right now and doesn’t seem to be improving. We have to learn to let the little things go because especially with ADHD it is really easy to get caught up with something small and have it ruin our entire day.
Staying mentally active is something else that is going to keep that pesky brain happy. The biggest issue with forgetting is letting your brain degenerate. Keep that brain active, what do you enjoy doing? Do you enjoy learning about the history of World War II. Great get a book and learn what you can about it. Keep learning and never give up. I did a project called my life my story where I was able to tell the life story of an 88-year-old woman. She just started learning Spanish 3 years ago. She is absolutely crushing it and see has kept her brain active all of this time and she is doing amazing.
Sleeping is extremely important. Have you woken up after a couple hours of sleep and tried to do something productive just to be let down by not being able to function like a normal human? If you have ever experienced zombie mornings, then you know that sleeping well is extremely important and it is something that is really going to impact your memory. Try to get the best sleep that you can. This is also going to help your brain because it is going to compartmentalize the information that you took in from the previous day while you sleep.
Self-care is something that is extremely important but also extremely neglected in a lot of cultures and individuals. If you are not able to take care of yourself you are going to have more issues with stress, memory, sleep, and happiness. Treat yourself every once in a while. You are exhausted and you just worked two weeks straight without a day off. Take a day off. If money is tight, I can understand that absolutely, but even with that you have to find some time for yourself. It is hard to see the signs of burnout until you are at the point of breaking. Take care of yourself. It is extremely easy with ADHD to give and give and give until there is nothing left, but I can promise you since I started sleeping 8 hours a night and not pulling all-nighters all the time for school my schooling has become a lot more enjoyable. Self-care also isn’t always cute and picturesque like they show on tv or Facebook, it’s not always bubble baths and face masks, sometimes it’s hard. It’s saying no to picking up an extra shift, its setting boundaries with friends and families, its making yourself and your needs a priority.
If there is anything I missed let me know I would love to see what other people come up with.
Main take away’s from this post. Take care of yourself, reduce stress where possible, staying active physically and mentally, and get good sleep. If you feel like everything is becoming overwhelming and you’re just trying to stay afloat, reach out to loved ones and ask for help. No one is going to look down on you if you need help cleaning your house because you are exhausted from working too much. Ask for help and surround yourself with good people and we are going to make it through this.
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