I have been thinking a lot about motivation with ADHD lately (though you don't have to have ADHD to benefit from what I'm sharing). One thing that has come up is why I am able to motivate myself to exercise daily but struggle to put away my laundry each week or clean the shower before that ring of pink mold shows up?
One thought I had is that some of it has to do with priorities. And sure, health and wellness are one of my most important values and activities that fuel my health and wellness are at the top of my priority list. Another thought I have had more recently is that exercise brings with it dopamine (something us ADHDers tend to be short on and seek). But brushing my teeth and washing dishes don’t seem to bring that dopamine rush and I still do them.
Then today this quote from James Clear arrived in my inbox:
“The most important battles must be fought anew each day.
Exercising today does not render tomorrow's workout...
Most of us healthcare professionals recognize the importance of self-care. When asked what self-care means, many of us will even identify things like regular exercise, healthy eating, getting adequate sleep, social connection, and even mindfulness. But there is one essential - quite frankly foundational - aspect of self-care that we often forget: Self-talk.
The relationship with ourselves shows up in almost everything we do. And, studies show that harsh self-talk and self-criticism activates the fight or flight response (i.e., the sympathetic nervous system) stimulating the stress response, making it harmful to our mental health and wellbeing (Singer and Klimecki, 2014). This isn't great news when many of us healthcare providers feel extremely stressed, essentially living from our sympathetic nervous systems.
The good news is, self-talk is something we can work with and shift. Like most things, it isn't something we do once and call it...
If you’re reading this, we have at least one thing in common: We feel the weight of the past two years and don't know how to get out from under it without quitting our jobs or leaving a career we worked so hard to get.
Worse yet, it feels like the system we're in doesn't care or that they're not doing enough. Since we can only change ourselves and how we show up in the world, I'm here to share some ways to help you feel good again - and maybe even love nursing again.
Collapse on the couch after shifts with no energy for anything except to binge Netflix and scroll social media
Know you need to exercise, sleep, and eat well but you can't get yourself to do it
Are tired of people telling you to "just do more yoga"
Forgot what it feels like to have fun
Have stopped caring about patients like you used to
Feel stuck in a job that you used to love
Increasing your self-care
Last week I brought home two 9 months old kittens I adopted. They are daughters of a feral mother. While they have been in foster care most of their lives, they were quite scared to come home with me.
On the drive home they were silent - as cat owners know, that is strange for cats who tend not to like cars. When I opened their carriers at home, they both stayed in there - frozen. Eventually, they moved to hiding in their liter box. I could tell their little nervous systems had shut down in fear (dorsal vagal response, for those of you fellow neuroscience lovers out there).
The good news is, they have been with me for about five days and already come up to me to be pet (bellies too!!!), have sat on my lap and kind of snuggled in bed. They still run when I get too close to them (though it has been more of a slow walk away since last night), but when it is on their terms they feel safe enough to connect with me (ventral vagal).
Mistakes. Something so many people struggle with. Something I have struggled with.
In fact, people struggle with mistakes so much they are more likely to say "oops, I lied" or refuse to admit or even acknowledge that they made a mistake. To me, this oozes with shame and the negative connotations people have with the idea of mistakes.
So what if there is no such thing as mistakes?
What if everything is just experimenting with different options and sometimes things go as intended and sometimes not?
Sure, there are times when our actions are less of an experiment and we or others have repeatedly done something harmful. But to me, in the world of mistakes (if there is such a thing) that is more of a choice than a true mistake.
In the world of mistakes we have engaged in some action, often based on our assumptions, beliefs, past experiences, etc., that didn't work this time.
So how is that bad? Why do we have shame about this, taking on that ...
You probably know what it is. You probably know it’s important or have an idea of how it can help. You may even know how important mindfulness is in building our attention in our distracted world (both in general and with ADHD). And even though you know all of this, you don’t have a mindfulness practice even if you want one.
If this is you, the problem isn’t knowledge or the idea of how much mindfulness can help.
The problem is that you don’t value yourself enough to put yourself first.
You may be thinking “No, it’s that I really don’t have time”.
Let me ask you something. Why don’t you have time? What do you spend your time doing?
People want to work. At their core, they want to do work that matters to them and makes a difference. In the words of Daniel Pink we have an “innate need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world”. Money often gets in the way of this.
I used to watch the Suze Orman show back in the day and her motto was “People first, then money, then things.”
And sure, maybe on the surface we feel like “yep, got it”. But what if we dig deeper. Often, it isn’t until we look at our behavior, our choices, and our words until we see if we really are putting people first before money and things.
As a healthcare worker seeking to change the system, I have noticed the healthcare system does it backward. It seems that money is the priority and because poor patient outcomes and low patient satisfaction impacts the bottom line that we care about it.
As a nurse you are likely are exhausted - depleted, disheartened, and needing change but in a lot of ways feeling bound to your work. It is important, really essential work. If you’re still wanting to do it, I suspect you are looking for a way to through these beyond challenging times.
I know as a social worker whenever I have felt burned out and dreaming of escape to a simpler life, I longed for a solution. I was so mad at the system and excepted them to change. And that wasn’t wrong. But the thing is, what the system did was out of my control.
As a life-learner dedicated to healing and growth, I knew I needed to figure out how to heal through the tough stuff rather than succumbing to it. As I dug deep inside myself I found there was one thing I was doing horribly wrong in the system I was in that was making it worse. And beneath that thing was a core belief, likely a core belief that you as a nurse also hold.
The core belief I...
A couple of weeks ago I did something to get organized that relieved so much stress I had no idea I was carrying.
I cleared my email box to zero. Seriously.
Now before thinking I went through thousands of emails, let me elaborate. At the end 2018 I put all of my emails from 2017 and prior into a folder labeled "Emails 2017 and older", just in case I needed them. Then, I went through my emails and cleaned out my inbox.
But then I let it pile up again. Every year. So every year for the past several years I have spent the better part of a day cleaning it out.
After reading "Order from Chaos: The Everyday Grind of Staying Organized with Adult ADHD", I found a better way - email zero.
It started by doing my annual email purge so I emptied out my email (something I need to do to make sure I have all of my tax receipts)..
Now, every day I deal with each email. Yep. Every single email,...
Reflecting on what I shared last week about burnout recovery with exercise as an example (Read here if you missed it ), I realized something was missing.
Over my 17 years as a group fitness instructor and now 13 as a yoga teacher, if there is one thing I have learned about exercise it’s this: not all exercise is created equal. This doesn’t mean that in general some form of exercise are better than others. What it means is that the exercise that will work best for you is unique to you - your biology, biography, and current circumstances.
For example, I started running daily in college and did so through my 20s. While the running helped some, it was hard on my body. And maybe at the time, it was what I needed to deal with the depressive episode in my early 20s. However, by the time I hit 30 my anxiety was at an all time high and my body hurt - my feet hurt, my hips hurt, and my...