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Learning to Say "No"

Don't Forget Your Toothbrush! 
Packing for Vacation Made Easy 


When Impulsivity Empties Your Wallet: Tips on Controlling Impulse Spending

Calming the Storm: ADHD and Emotional Regulation


Tales of a Terrible Mother: An Inside View of Raising ADHD Children


Learning to Say "No"

It can be really difficult to say “no”.  Sometimes it’s because we feel obligated to say “yes”.  Other times, we say “yes” because a project or activity looks interesting.  Either way, when we don’t know how to say “no” (or when we need to say “no”), we end up overcommitting ourselves.  This leads to overwhelm and failure to follow through on tasks and projects.  So, how can we identify when we need to say “yes” and when we need to say “no”, and how can we learn to avoid overcommitting ourselves?

 

Know your priorities.  Make a list of your priorities, including self-care.  Before committing yourself to anything, determine whether the task or project is in line with those priorities.  Also consider what priorities could be ignored if you overcommit.  Once you know what your priorities are, establish firm boundaries around them.

 

Beware of “shoulds”.  These are all the things we think we should do, but are not in line with what is important to us.  When we think we “should” do something, it is often because that is what other people do or what you think others expect of you.  The next time you find yourself thinking, “I should…”, ask yourself whether the task is in line with your goals and values or someone else’s. 

 

Be realistic about time.  Plan on tasks taking 3 times longer than expected.  What are your current commitments? How long will they take? Do you have time to take on a new task?

 

Plan for the unexpected.  Life happens, and things pop up.  We need to remember to leave a little cushion in our schedules for the unexpected.

 

Practice makes perfect.  Saying “no” can feel awkward at first.  You may feel guilty for not being able to do everything everyone else wants you to do, but it gets easier with practice.  You may want to consider practicing how you want to say “no” ahead of time.  Over time, you will feel less guilt and more empowered by eliminating commitments that take away from your goals and priorities.  

Don't Forget Your Toothbrush! Packing for Vacation Made Easy 

 

It's summer. Time for trips to the beach, the pool, and family vacations. It's also the time when we forget to pack those oh-so-important items (like a toothbrush or bathing suit, or sunscreen) leading us to spend extra money to buy new ones or forcing us to go without for the length of the trip. 

Luckily, there are several apps that create packing lists for you.  I've taken the time to review several apps available for iOS and Android devices. H
ere are a few of the best.

Favorites 

PacktheBag (iOS) free - I have been using this app for a few years now.  It has pre-programmed templates that you can choose from, and it allows you to add custom items as well.  You can also save lists for use again in the future.  I love the fact that it has a pre-travel checklist that reminds you to pay important bills, turn off lights, take care of pets, etc.  

PackPoint (iOS) free - I may have found a new favorite with this app.  It comes preprogrammed with packing lists based on activities (camping, beach, business, etc.), clothes and other essentials auto populate based on how many days you will be gone.  One big bonus is that when you enter your destination, it gives you the weather forecast.  Unfortunately, it requires an in-app purchase of $0.99 if you want to create custom packing templates.  However, if you opt for the premium in-app purchase for $1.99 , it allows you to connect your packing list to your TripIt and Evernote accounts as well. 

PackMeApp (Android) free - This app seems to be the most promising for Android users.  It is preprogrammed with lists and categories, and it allows you to add custom items.   

Apps with Promise 

Suitcase (Android) free - This app comes preprogrammed with a business travel list.  Creating additional lists requires an in-app purchase.  While I wasn't willing to spend the money to check out the paid app's features, for $0.99 it showed promise.  

Packed It (Android) free - While this app functions well, there are no preprogrammed lists or items, which means you have to enter everything in yourself.  This could be very time consuming and still lead to forgotten items.  


Note: Reviews are based on personal opinion.  Attention Solutions does not have any affiliation with the apps listed above. 

When Impulsivity Empties Your Wallet: Tips on Controlling Impulse Spending

Do you struggle with impulsive spending? Do you come home from the store with bags of who knows what, only to realize you forgot half the items on your list?  Do you look at your credit card statements and wonder what you bought?



Store merchandising displays prompt our tendency to think "Oooh! Shiny! I NEED that!" This leads to ADHDers spending more money than they intended, and leaving them wondering, "Where did all my money go?” and “What exactly did I buy?" Luckily, there are a few things you can do to curb impulsive spending.

 Pay with cash.  This limits the amount you can spend to the cash you have available, and it eliminates the temptation to charge more than you can pay off at the end of the month.

Always have a shopping list.
  Not only does this eliminate extra trips to the store because you've forgotten something, it reduces the temptation to buy items you don’t need.  Make a rule that you are only allowed one item that is not on the list.  It will satisfy the need to purchase impulse items and allows a little flexibility in case there is something that you forgot to write down.


Wait to pick up that impulse item.
  Walk around the entire store and complete the rest of your shopping before you even touch an impulse item.  You can always go back to it if you are still convinced that you “need” it.


Make a future shopping list.
  Make a list of all the items you want to buy and save it for a future shopping trip.  Go back to the list after you get home or even a few days later and cross off any items that you really don’t want or need.

Hold off on checking out online.  If you are shopping online, let the items sit in your cart for 24 hours before checking out.  You will likely find that many of the items in your cart have lost their appeal.

Know your weaknesses.  We all have stores or particular items that trigger impulsive spending.  Know these triggers, and experiment with different strategies to avoid overspending.

 


Calming the Storm: ADHD and Emotional Regulation 

 
With all of information on ADHD that is out there, there is one symptom that isn't addressed nearly enough - emotional dysregulation.   While you might find information on ADHD and emotional regulation, it often focuses on children.  This is unfortunate, because it is something that many ADHDers struggle with.  
 
 
Flash Anger
Flash anger refers to the sudden onset of anger that seems to come out of nowhere and generally disappears as quickly as it came. These seemingly random outbursts of anger are often the result of several small irritations building up over time.  Once frustration reaches a certain point, all it takes is one tiny thing to set the ADHDer off. 
 
So, how do you deal with emotional dysregulation and flash anger?

Breathe. When you find yourself feeling tense and ready to blow, take ten slow, deep breathes.  This calms the emotional parts of your brain and allows the rational parts of your brain to kick in.

Avoid artificial food coloring.  Research shows that food coloring aggravates hyperactivity and behavioral problems in children with ADHD.  The same holds true for adults. 

Set boundaries.  Establish rules about how you allow others to treat you and how much responsibility you can take on.  Boundaries act as your own personal policies and procedures manual, reducing stress and limit emotional reactions in the moment.

Recognize your emotions.  Do not dismiss your emotions.  Ask yourself what you are feeling and what is causing those emotions to arise. 

Own up to emotional outbursts.  We can’t always control emotional outbursts, but we can minimize their impact on others.  Own up to emotional outbursts and apologize if necessary.     

 
 



Tales of a Terrible Mother: An Inside View of Raising ADHD Children


Why "Tales of a Terrible Mother"?

In addition to my own experiences raising an ADHD child, I have talked to so many people that feel like terrible parents.  On top of their own frustrations and feelings of failure, parents (especially mothers!) have to face the comments, opinions, and advice from people who are uninformed about ADHD. I hope to share my experiences and the experiences of others so moms everywhere know they are not alone, and they are not terrible mothers! In addition, I will share some tips and lessons that I have learned along the way.  

To read Tales of a Terrible Mother click here.

   

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