Blog Post: Getting Back on the Roll
It has been quite a tumultuous January. Through travel, kitchen remodel and wedding planning I have spent most of the month in catch-up mode. My systems have been undone and my routines halfway forgotten. When I looked at the calendar and it said February – I was shocked.
We can all recall some time in our lives when we were “on a roll.” Things were clicking, we were feeling productive, maybe taking better care of ourselves and the support we needed was in place. Life wasn’t perfect, but we were feeling pretty good.
Then one day we noticed we were “off the roll.” Things were not going smoothly, getting out of the house became more difficult, things were being forgotten or neglected and piles were starting to grow.
Most of us know how it feels when we are on a roll, and we’ve also been off the roll. When we can hardly remember what we want to be doing or summon the energy to do the things we need to do. Sometimes we fall “off the roll” totally and completely and land with a thud. Other times we drift slowly off course and before we know it we are at a complete standstill, not quite sure how we got there.
Either way it is possible to get things moving again.
The most important step is as simple (and difficult) as noticing that we are off the roll. The next step is to take some action that will get us started back on the roll.
Once we notice that we are off the roll, we need the simplest way possible to get back. A plan, a road map with clear turn by turn directions will help when life seems the most chaotic and stressful.
Ironically, when things are going well, we don’t feel motivated to plan ahead because, well, things are good. However, one of the dangerous lies we tell ourselves is “I’ve got this, I won’t forget.” The best time to write down the processes that make your life work is before the crisis.
Write down the strategies that keep you focused and on task, exercising, eating well and feeling good. Put each one on an index card, rubber band them together and label it Emergency Kit. Don’t put it in the back of a drawer; leave it out so that you can find it in an emergency.
We all get off the roll, the key is having the tools where you can be easily reminded how to get back on track. No need to reinvent the wheel over and over when you have a plan.
The holiday season is a time filled with fun plans and expectations, frustrations and disappointments. I have had experience with all of these emotions over the past few weeks. It seemed like I would get a plan set, only to have the rug pulled out from under me. I’d have to start all over again.
I was able to get through these challenges and move on. However, I know that a few years ago I might have gotten through, but moving on would have been difficult. I would have likely gotten stuck in the negative emotions that came with the frustration and disappointment.
Several years ago I read the book Taming Your Gremlins: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way, by Rick Carson, and things began to change. Carson talks about the gremlin as the “narrator in your head …intent on making you miserable”
So, when things fell through, my gremlin could have gone to town. He could have told me how stupid those other people were, or how ridiculous I was, or if they really cared about me those things would have never happened. That tape could have played over and over, causing me to relive those awful moments over and over.
Why didn’t that happen?
Over the last several years I have incorporated practices into my life that help protect me from the wrath of my gremlin. It started with trying to just notice the narrator in my head. A little while later I found the meditations app Headspace and gradually increased the amount of time I listened to their guided meditations. Most recently, I participated in an 8 week Mindfulness Meditation course (MBSR).
Just like exercise helps build and maintain physical health, mindfulness helps to build and maintain brain health. Like the rest of my body, my brain needs all support it can get!
As we enjoy the holiday season along with the ups and downs that are part of life, I hope that you can incorporate some regular practices that will help you to enjoy the ups more and pay less attention to the downs.
I just got back from the 2015 CHADD conference. No matter how great the key note speakers and experts from around the country, for me the conference is about the community. When we come together the energy, enthusiasm and connection are palpable.
Beginning with the opening plenary and through the very last breakout session there is an air of acceptance. However and whenever you show up is ok, no apologies necessary. This is a group of people who, for the most part, have walked in your shoes. Their children aren’t perfect, they face daily challenges that most people don’t even notice, they have fallen down and picked themselves up more times then they can remember. Survival stories are shared. Most of all, we learn that we are not alone. Read more…
Today is the very last day of this challenge and I want to take a moment to thank everyone who has reached out to me with comments and questions, letting me know that people are interested and actually reading these posts.
I imagine that it has probably been overwhelming to receive a daily email from me, I appreciate that you did not unsubscribe from my email list;-) Read more…
This has been one of the busiest and most challenging months that I have encountered in quite a while, full of travel, family and writing this daily blog. While I am glad that the intensity will be over, this has been a tremendously satisfying endeavour. Read more…
Give me an urgent project, a deadline and a block of time and I can get anything done. Give me a bunch of tasks that need to be done sometime this month, with the instructions to do a little bit each day – forget about it!
We all have different ways that we approach tasks. Some people don’t mind interruptions, they can switch between tasks and projects, do a little bit here and there. However, I describe myself as a “batcher “ (someone who does things in batches) not a “juggler.” Read more…
While this list is not exhaustive, I know that these authors are recognized ADHD experts. I have enjoyed hearing most of these folks speak at conferences like the one this coming November held by CHADD (Children & Adults with ADHD). Read more…
I have needed to use more hotel toothbrushes than I’d care to count. I’ve had to get prescriptions transferred, “borrow” a t-shirt from my husband to use as PJs and most embarrassingly, I’ve had to shop for some intimate apparel. Read more…
You are running out the door. Late. Again.
How does that keep happening?
If you’ve tried planning, time management and self-discipline and still run late you may want to try a different approach.
One problem may be your ability to track time. Many folks with ADHD find they are missing an innate sense of time passing and the ability to predict how much time a task may take. Read more…
I am so grateful to be a guest blogger today. Although it has given me one more task to do, it also has given me the opportunity to Pause! Something I so needed to do.
I have been going from one thing to another, running my ADHD self ragged and actually making myself physically ill, putting myself and my needs last on the list. Read more…