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Time For Me

Time For Me

Carving Out Time to Take Care of Yourself

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Dr. Lisa Shives discusses ways to help you relax before bed

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  • 411
    Tips on Taking Care of Yourself

    Kirk Martin shares tips he used to help navigate his busy lifestyle

  • 321
    Breaking Negative Patterns

    Michele Borba shares her experiences on changing negative patterns, which she has learned from working with families

  • 326
    Finding a Path Forward for My Family and Myself

    Elaine Taylor-Klaus discusses her diagnosis with ADHD and how ADHD has affected her family

  • 171
    A Better Bedtime: Good Sleep Habits

    Dr. Lisa Shives provides tips on building better sleep routines

  • 141
    Relaxation Before Bed

    Dr. Lisa Shives discusses ways to help you relax before bed

Time For Me

What Nourishes You? By Kirk Martin

Do what nourishes you. Being a caregiver can be a difficult and sometimes a thankless job. Over the years, I have had moms and dads come to me when they were worn out and exhausted. They were looking for relief, but even the idea of starting something new for themselves seemed overwhelming.

If you are one of those moms or dads, I want to share with you an exercise that has helped some of my weariest parents. Write a list of specific activities, big or small, you can do that nourish you and your spirit. Things that make you feel whole, at peace, content, excited, fulfilled, and settled?

Now choose five of those activities. Plan ahead and make it a priority to try to do as many of those five things as possible this month. Even if it’s for 10 minutes or 30 minutes, get into the habit of nourishing yourself.

Another way to maintain your well-being and nurture your spirit is to take time to listen to others and even yourself. When you feel rushed, purposefully and intentionally stop, sit down and listen. Listen to your kids, spouse, and the neighbor/stranger who you normally don’t have time for. Listen to yourself; it may be the most productive 60 seconds of your day.

Feeling Obligated: Shedding the “Shoulds” By Elaine Taylor-Klaus, CPCC, PCC

I don’t “make appearances” anymore. In fact, I try not to do too many things that I don’t want to do.

I know, that sounds crazy – I’m a mother of three kids and a business owner, and we all know that there are tons of “junk jobs” that go with those territories. But when I started getting coached, I learned to “Shed the Shoulds,” and that has made all the difference in my confidence as a parent, and in my comfort with – and acceptance of – my children with ADHD.

Don’t get me wrong – I still do all sorts of things that I would rather not do. My sink is as full as yours, and my laundry pile as deep. But as I grew to understand that everything has some element of choice in it, I began to realize that I was seeing almost everything as “Have to Do” – and it was wearing me down.

I’ve got enough on my plate without worrying about whether I’m doing something just the way that other people think I should. Sure, I want a clean kitchen in the morning, and most of the time I’m going to make that happen because I want it to be clean. But that’s up to me, not to someone else’s idea of how I should be running my home.

The same applies to my kids. I spent years making myself crazy, trying to fit my children into the “normal” rhythm of their peers. I was “shoulding” all over them – they should be reading, finishing their homework, taking dance, doing girl scouts, having play dates, etc.

What a difference it made for my kids – and for me – when I stopped feeling obligated to make them behave like everyone else. When I started paying attention to who they were and what was important to them, our entire family thrived.

So, I honestly don’t make appearances anymore, because that implies “obligation,” and I don’t play that game. If you see me somewhere, or doing something, chances are I’ve devised some reason of my own to be there or do it. That keeps me making my own choices in my life. As far as I’m concerned, it shouldn’t be any other way!

Tips for Creating a Good Sleep Environment By Lisa Shives, MD

In my role as a medical doctor who specializes in sleep, I’m often asked for tips on getting a good night’s sleep. Below are suggestions based on my experience that can be incorporated into nighttime routines for parents as well as children with or without ADHD.

  • Get enough sleep. Most adults need 7-9 hours a night.
  • Figure out how much sleep your body needs based on your age, as children, teens, and adults have different needs. Getting too little sleep can leave you drowsy and unable to concentrate the next day.
  • Create a buffer zone, which is a time to wind down, between your busy day and sleeping. When decompressing from the day during this time, I like to unplug all electronics and focus on relaxing.
  • Keep the room at a comfortable temperature and dark. I would suggest wearing a sleep mask if the room cannot be fully darkened.
  • Be sure your bedding is not causing you discomfort or allergy symptoms.
  • Try to sleep on your side, as it reduces snoring.
  • Refrain from having a large dinner immediately before trying to go to sleep.
  • Limit the consumption of alcohol and caffeine. Alcohol could affect your ability to go into the deeper stages of sleep.
  • If you are a light sleeper, consider using a white noise machine that offers many different sound options so that you can find a soothing background sound that helps you from noticing every little noise.
The Importance of Getting a Good Night’s Sleep By Lisa Shives, MD

As a sleep doctor, I can attest that getting quality sleep is part of a healthy lifestyle. There are a number of conditions that can disturb sleep, such as obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia and restless legs syndrome. The sleep problems of children can also affect the sleep patterns of parents and other family members.

Over the years, I have seen many individuals put sleep on the back burner, not making it a priority for themselves or their family. Instead, I see work, activities, chores and errands taking precedence over sleep.

According to the CDC, almost a third of employed US adults get, on average, 6 or less hours of sleep per day! In my opinion, that is notably below what they should be getting. In fact, the recommended number of hours of sleep for adults is 7-9. For teens, 8.5-9.25 hours is recommended, and for school-age children of 5-10 years, 10-11 hours. I strongly encourage everyone to make sleep a priority and take a step back from our “go! go! go!” hectic lifestyles. From my perspective, it seems like everyone is always “plugged in” to gadgets, whether they are TVs, computers or smart phones. I know these devices are chock full of fun games and activities, but a lack of sleep can have a negative impact on our memory and physical health. I have seen children model the behavior of their parents, so it is important to demonstrate what good sleep habits look like, and “unplugging” before bed can set a great example.

From One Mom to Another By Elaine Taylor-Klaus, CPCC, PCC

I really have no clue what the good doctor said the day the first of my three children was diagnosed with ADHD. It took me months to process that information – and years to come to terms with it in any real way.

Over time, raising kids with ADHD has taught me to expect the unexpected, and manage major game-changing events with relative calm. You might say, it’s taught me resilience.

As parents, we are constantly learning new rules for a game that changes daily. With ADHD in the mix, we shift from a new game to a whole new stadium! In order to manage our kids’ ADHD most effectively – and raise them to be resilient and independent – we actually have to get our own bearings, first. We hesitate to consider “what about me?” because we want to deny that we are thinking about ourselves at a time like this. But, I have learned through experience that attention to ourselves is a normal human response, and critical to our child’s success.

When we parents deal with our own “stuff,” it helps us handle what is happening in our family without getting in the way. So, how do you want to play it? Are you ready to embrace resilience? If so, below are some strategies that have worked for me and the families that I work with that you can try:

7 Coping Strategies for Life on the ADHD Roller Coaster

  • "What about me?" isn’t necessarily a selfish question.
  • It doesn’t pay to be an alarmist. Anxiety can drain you, and doesn’t always replenish.
  • Trying to control what is not actually in your control just leads to stress.
  • You are resourceful and can find another path when you choose to look for it. (A proverb I recall in these situations is: “Necessity is the mother of invention.”)
  • Whatever happens, try your best, deal with it and tap into your support network.
  • Within reason, be prepared for anything, and withhold judgment when “anything” happens.
  • Always remember your sense of humor.

And I always remember, the turbulence of raising a child with ADHD has brought me the gift of steadiness and calm!

Today, I Make Me a Priority By Kirk Martin

In order to de-stress, you must make yourself a priority! Think about your weekly schedule. Are you always doing things for everyone else? Let’s change some of these family patterns:

  • You plan play dates for your kids. When is YOUR next play date with friends? When are you going to sit with your friends and have coffee, go to a Book Club?
  • You take your kids to Tae Kwon Do, ballet, gymnastics, and piano practice. What about you? What is your plan to exercise? It won’t happen if you don’t plan it.

A way I honor my own needs is by giving myself permission to say NO to the kids’ activities sometimes and saying YES to me. Micromanaging my son’s life and pushing aside my needs only leads to frustration on both sides. For me, being a good parent doesn’t mean sacrificing my own health and well-being just so my kids can do everything that they want.

By making myself important in my own life, I have also taught my son that he is not the center of the universe. He has also learned an important lesson that will help him when he has a family of his own, making time for you is just as important as making time for others.

Every now and then when I am having trouble fitting me in, I take a moment to say, “Today, I take care of myself. I make myself a priority. I am whole so I can give from a place of wholeness and not resentment.” It is the perfect way to reset my thinking and make sure that I am on my priority list.

5 Ways to Help De-Stress Your Home By Kirk Martin

Every once in a while, you may look around and realize that everything is calm. These “moments” of calm can seem like they snuck up on you, but you’re not complaining. Feeling calm and not stressed doesn’t have to be a happy surprise. There are steps that I take every day to help create serenity.

Let me start by sharing my definition of calm. Calm does not mean an absence of noise, problems or chaos around you. It means that no matter what is happening around me, I try my best to experience calm inside AND begin to spread that calm to those around me.

From a practical perspective, instead of my environment changing me into a “Freak Dad,” I begin to change my environment. To achieve this, I don’t need superhuman capabilities. After all, just like you, I am an ordinary parent. What helps me and has helped the parents that I have worked with is to remember a few bedrock principles that can guide me to calm:

The Calm Code:

  • I cannot control other people, how they behave or how they react.
  • I cannot control situations and circumstances – most are beyond my control.
  • When I react to people and circumstances, I surrender power over my emotions.
  • I can only control one thing in life – me, which includes my actions and my reactions.
  • No matter how my child behaves, I try my very best to control myself. When I “lose it,” I lose my authority. I spread and create the calm I want.

For me, controlling myself leads my kids to a calm place.