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Workout tip #1 & #2: Do what you enjoy & Mix it up

Sep 15, 2017

So, even if you don't love exercise, there has to be something that you wouldn't hate to do to get yourself moving. I will admit that I have somewhat of an advantage in that I'm an athlete and was also the hyperactive type when younger. But even for me, if I don't like it, I won't do it. 

I have come to a place in my life where I almost enjoy running. And, I certainly enjoy the feeling after a good run. Until recently I still played Ultimate Frisbee semi regularly. One of the best investments I ever made was buying a spin bike. (See attached picture.) It has been my experience that you should get a sturdy durable one in the $500 - $700 range. They don't take up much space and get you a great low impact workout. Great if you are just working your way back. And, you can watch TV while you ride. So, I can run, do one of my two lifting routines, use the rowing machine at the gym, or spin. That give me 5 different workouts to mix up if I need variety.

I have clients who are 
Don't fall into the trap of thinking there is only one way to work out. Doing something is always better than doing nothing. Get out there. It's good for you!

Workout tip #1 & #2: Do what you enjoy & Mix it up

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Loneliness strikes suburban dads!

Sep 8, 2017

My Dad sent me this article from the Globe a week or two ago. (Yes, he's old school and actually rips out the article, puts in in an envelope, licks it, uses a stamp, and mails it to me.) I'm going to post the link for your digital consumption:

This article stood out in several ways to me. One, I read the whole thing. Two, I really identified with it so much so that I kept thinking about it for days, like when you see a good movie and it sticks with you. And, when talking to friends and clients over the subsequent days, it became even more clear how dead on it was. 

I already make an effort. But much of that effort involves having whole families over for dinner. My effort to carve out time for my own social life is there, but not nearly as robust. So, I'm going to redouble my efforts to get my buddy Russell out of the house. I'm going to make it a point to go to Mike's horseshoe Thursdays this fall. I'm going to try to revive my monthly poker night. And, yes, ask new guys on platonic "man dates." (Gulp!) Nothing ventured, nothing gained. 

Get out there and get social guys! 

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Workout tips #1

Sep 1, 2017

Now that I've spent the summer talking about food prep and kitchen organization, I think it might be a nice change to talk about workout strategies. I'll start with the overview and then do smaller posts on each aspect of the overview.

Why exercise? Because it's good for you, dummy! Just kidding. You should exercise because it is one of the best ways to help manage your ADHD! It's true. There's research to prove it. Getting your heart rate up of a substantial period of time, (let's say 20 to 40 minutes) directly produces dopamine, which allows you to concentrate better, and serotonin with positively affects mood and anxiety. All the research indicates that the best thing you can do to affect a positive outcome for ADHD is medication intervention. The second best thing you can do is behavioral intervention. In my opinion, the next best things to do are get enough sleep and exercise regularly.

So, in case you need to see it in black and white, let's review the positives of exercise for us humans with ADHD:
  1. Better attention.
  2. Less anxiety and better, more stable mood.
  3. Better sleep. (See how those tie in!)
  4. Less stimulation seeking behavior, especially by eating.
  5. You will be healthier.
  6. You will probably look better.
And there's no downside or nasty side effects. I will note that I've never known anyone with substantial ADHD who could manage it solely through exercise, but it is definitely part of the solution.

Here are some of my top workout tips for ADHDers:
  1. Pick activities that you enjoy. (Or at least not hate it.)
  2. Have a variety of activities so that you don't get into a rut.
  3. Don't fall into black and white thinking. For example, don't convince yourself that the only good workout is a 40 minute run. 10 minutes is better than nothing, and will usually turn into something more.
  4. Don't push yourself until your workout sucks. Leave with a good feeling.
  5. Know yourself. Home or gym? Morning or evening?
  6. Don't miss more than one day in a row while starting the routine if you can help it. 
  7. Find time on the weekend when you're less busy. Then you only have to find out how to workout around work 2 days a week. 
  8. Keep a workout calendar to keep track of your progress.
  9. Be patient and learn to delay gratification.
  10. Practice self talk to motivate yourself.
More on these 10 points in upcoming posts.

Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please excuse and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. An imperfect post completed is better than a perfect post that goes unposted.

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Planning a big project

Aug 25, 2017

Planning a big project is always a challenge, especially for those of us with executive function issues. Most ADHDers are so "planning averse" that they just dive right in. Occasionally this works, but most of the time it results in a variety of mis-steps, including: 
  • avoiding starting because there isn't a clear beginning middle or end,
  • not finishing on time, 
  • not finishing at all, 
  • inconveniencing other due to the project being "in process" when it shouldn't be, 
  • having to redo things that weren't done correctly, 
  • realizing that the project is beyond one's capabilities, 
  • wasting time
  • wasting money
  • making a mess
  • not leaving time to clean up
  • and general inefficiency 
Of course there are things you can't plan for, but I've found that most of life requires a good deal of planning. I always think about the invasion of Normandy by the Allies. That assault was planned down to the smallest detail for over a year. In fact they even planned for the exact time of day, tides and weather. The landing was almost put off for an additional day due to cloud cover. (Apparently it lifted just in time.)

Not that any of us are invading Nazi held France. But, on a smaller scale, we have our own D-Days. My current project is the updating of my office, our dining room, living room, and front entryway. I've been going a room at a time this summer with painting etc. Now it's time to think about electrical, scraping the popcorn ceiling, and refinishing the floors. I was hoping to get all this done before the week after labor day. But, things haven't been as light as I thought they would be work and family -wise this week. So, I was literally lying awake at night, stressed about when/if I would get all this done. 

The key is that I didn't know exactly how long it would take me to do all this stuff because I hadn't really planned the details yet. As it turns out, this stuff is going to take me far longer than I thought. It's absurd to try to do it before labor day. I now know this because I did the following:
  1. Break down all the tasks into all their constituent steps by making a really detailed mind map. I'm sharing it with everyone here: Or the picture should take you there as well.
  2. I put all the tasks in order so I had a sense of what needed to come first.
  3. I estimated time for all the steps and added up the things that needed to happen in single day. 
As it turns out, I need three straight days to tackle the ceilings and the floors. So, I game planned with my wife and have that scheduled for my off week in Sept with wiggle room figured in and a whole month to finish planning it.

Incidentally, when we bought our house and move in was the last time a made as extensive a mind map for anything personal in nature. D-Day doesn't come too often, but this skill set in microcosm has helped me much over the years.

Note: I'll take a screen grab of a section of the mind map just in case the link doesn't work for everyone.

Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please excuse and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. An imperfect post completed is better than a perfect post that goes unposted.

Planning a big project

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Neuropsychological Evaluations

Aug 18, 2017

I recently received an email from a parent about getting a neuropsych. for her daughter. I thought it was important enough to post as a blog entry, not just respond to her directly. So here's my 2 cents...

A comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation is not the only way, and generally not the best way to diagnose ADHD. The "gold standard" for diagnosis of ADHD is an in depth clinical assessment by a qualified MD or PhD. For kids this involves a thorough history, evaluation scales, parent surveys, and often teacher surveys. 

I rarely recommend a neuropsych. for adults. I very often recommend them for kids though, especially in cases where it is important to ascertain whether or not the child is dealing with comorbidities. 80% of ADHDers have at least one co-occurring condition. However, there can be as much as a 30% false negative for attentional issues because the test is delivered one on one in an environment that is designed to be minimally distracting. Also, particularly bright kids will often not fully demonstrate their weaknesses in such on such a test because their intelligence compensates in some ways. And, there always is the issue of whether the test administer/evaluator is adept enough to see more subtle deviations from the norm. Plus they are really expensive and very often not covered by insurance. 

So, if you are primarily concerned with ADHD and there doesn't seem to be any other issues, seeing a competent clinician for an evaluation and (potentially) medication treatment is probably the best place to start. If medication gets complicated, the symptoms aren't adequately addressed, or the clinician thinks there may more going on, that would be the time to seek further testing. Or, if the school system demands it in order to allow accommodations. Though, then you can usually get them to administer and pay for it. But, you have to be careful about how good their people are. 

Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please excuse and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. An imperfect post completed is better than a perfect post that goes unposted.

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Quick Calendar Keeping Trick

Aug 11, 2017

Just a quick note this week. 

I've had many clients recently have scheduling SNAFU's because they put an event on their digital calendar (on their phone) but accidentally put it on the wrong week. The advantages to keeping your calendar digitally are numerous and worthwhile. However, there is a very real hurdle that everything looks exactly the same. Next week looks like next month, which looks like next year. Most apps will reopen the calendar exactly where it was when you closed it. But wherever you are looks just like this week.

For example, I have one doctor who I see for a follow up once a year. So, when I saw her a few weeks ago, I put next year's appointment into my phone calendar. Then I switched out of my calendar app. So next time I opened the app, I was in August of 2018... I have screwed up my calendar because of this in the past. I accidentally kept adding events to the next year. 

My tip is to get in the habit of always hitting the "Today" button on your calendar app to bring you back to this week before flipping to whenever you want to make a new appointment.
Quick Calendar Keeping Trick

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