Silly Putty and Working From Home

I never thought I would find myself aggressively snapping silly putty in the middle of a staff meeting at work.

But there I was. Thank God everyone can stay muted on Zoom.

Before quarantine started, I definitely had a hard time staying focused in my actual office sometimes because if I had a ton of pent-up energy, there was nowhere for me to release it. In fact, I’ll admit an embarrassing secret; I even ran up and down the ramps in the parking garage a few times on particularly tedious days.

So I kind of figured that working from home would be great. I could go for a quick walk if I needed to, I could do jumping jacks or stretch at my desk, I could play my music loudly and I could stay on the phone with my sister for hours while we worked.

But my college-dorm Target desk chair and my sad excuse for an antique desk got pretty old pretty fast. And it turns out, having everything you own and love – books, Netflix, comfy un-made bed, yoga mat, microwave chicken nuggets, etc – right behind you can be a little distracting.

I tried working in every room in my house. I got a pillow to sit on. I nearly ordered an armchair several times (as if that would somehow solve the problem?) But it hasn’t gotten a whole lot easier.

I certainly have periods of concentration and intense bursts of productivity. I work hard and I always have, so I make sure I get everything done well. But some days, it’s just really hard to do that from home or during hour-long Zoom calls where you’re expected to sit still and stare at the screen in silence. At least in real meetings, I could chime in or stay present because of the present environment. But from my bedroom? I find myself aggressively shaking my legs, furiously clicking pens, snapping silly putty, doodling, and more.

So I want to clear something up – this isn’t a way for me to get more distracted. For people like myself with ADD, this fiddling is an absolute necessity to stay attentive. Otherwise, in my distracting environment, I’ll just start to tune out no matter how much I want to focus. Needing these little fiddle tricks is annoying sometimes for sure so – I never thought I’d say it – I kind of miss in-person meetings. But to effectively work from home, I’ve found it vitally important to stay present in my work and that means finding things to do with my hands that keep me in my body instead of off in my crazy brain or staring at my travel photos above my desk.

If you’re working from home with ADD, I’ll be the first to admit how hard it is. But don’t be afraid to find little ways of getting your energy out that you wouldn’t be able to do in a real meeting. After all, at the end of the day, secretly bringing silly putty to important meetings is pretty awesome.

Overcoming Depression: One Step At A Time

I started writing this blog post a few weeks ago when I was really in a low place. Some days it took me until 2:30 p.m. to get out of bed. I spent all day watching TV and I barely ate. Night after night, I was plagued by insomnia. Almost all of my groceries went bad each week because, even though I normally love to cook, I just couldn’t motivate myself to do it. I felt anxious and reclusive and just plain sad.

I’ll say upfront that I much prefer to write about my triumphs on the internet than my struggles. But it’s important to admit that some days (and even some weeks or months), depression and anxiety can smack me in the face out of nowhere. And it’s confusing, exhausting, frustrating and really sucky.

As a very achievement-oriented person, it’s hard not to feel ashamed when I slip into a depression like I did a few weeks ago. I struggled with thinking that if I just worked a little harder or had more discipline, I would be able to fix it and feel better. It’s so easy to be consumed by embarrassment, loneliness and shame. But I slowly committed to a few things that helped me make it through.

  • I made an appointment with my psychiatrist as soon as I recognized the problem and I got a new medication that has helped dramatically.
  • I went to therapy more.
  • I took melatonin at 10 p.m. each night to ensure I was getting enough sleep, which is especially crucial for people with bipolar.
  • I dove into self-help books.
  • I dragged myself to a coffee shop each morning to give me a reason to get dressed and leave the house.
  • I tried to create something each day, no matter how small (more on that later).
  • I reached out to friends as much as I could to keep from isolating myself.
  • I finally cleaned my disaster of a room and forced myself to keep it that way.
  • I spent as much time as possible outside and in nature.
  • I did yoga.
  • I started writing down things I’m grateful for every morning

And little by little, I started to feel better.

Now, a few weeks later, I’m happier than I have been in a long time. I feel like myself again, I’ve re-established my positive habits, I’m exercising, and my drive and motivation are back (I’m finally finishing this post!).

I get really caught up in all the things I’m not doing when my mental health is in a bad place. But I’ve found that I have to be proud of the progress that I do make on bad days, even if it’s just getting out of bed and leaving the house before noon. If I can hold onto that pride, it helps carry me into doing a little more the next day. And then a little more the next. Overcoming depression is all about baby steps. But slowly, one day at a time, I promise it gets better.

What To Do With Nothing To Do?

When I graduated college, I decided I needed a little time off to rest and recharge. After so many years of hard work, a couple months of doing nothing seemed like an absolute dream. And at first, I loved my newfound freedom to sit in bed and watch The Office all day or take a long road trip on a whim or cook something elaborate and experimental just for kicks.

But after two months with no structure or real responsibilities, I am practically bored to tears. The novelty of an empty calendar wore off quickly and when my ADHD set in I had nothing to use my excessive energy and imagination on.

I can’t remember the last time in my life when I had more than a week or two with nothing to do. If I wasn’t in school, I was in camp or working or interning. And as much as I craved a break during those times, it turns out staying busy is a crucial part of maintaining my mental health. I desperately need things to do, think, and talk about.

Because, honestly, with nothing I need to get out of bed for, some days I just don’t. I’ve spent far too much time on my phone and on social media. I stay up too late and waste half the day sleeping. I get bored and lonely and sad. Instead of enjoying my time off, it’s started to feel like I just waste day after day after day.

So I’ve learned a big and very important lesson: those of us with ADHD and mental health issues need routine, structure, and things to occupy our wonderfully active and creative minds each day. I’ve found this to be true both for myself and my family and friends with ADHD. But since I still have few concrete responsibilities right now, it’s hard to implement and stick to a routine of my own accord even though I know I need to.

I’d be lying if I said I’ve found a magic fix. But a few things that have helped me so far!  Yoga classes have been a great way to re-center myself. Instead of watching hours of TV, I’ve tried to re-direct my attention to reading and picking back up old hobbies like playing guitar. It’s also been important for me to make a conscious effort to meet up with friends regularly to get me out of my house. This phase of my life is definitely challenging, but each day I find it more and more important to learn how to entertain myself without a busy schedule.

What do you do during time off and how to do build routines? Let me know in the comments!

5 Ways To Stay Sane Through Health Issues

Over the last two years, I faced a lot of physical health problems that at times, have really devastated me and taken a huge toll on my mental wellbeing. But since I’ve been dealing with health issues for so long, I’ve learned a few lessons about how to cope with it.

  1. Treat your body kindly. It’s saddening to think how many times over the last year I’ve cursed my body for not functioning the way it’s supposed to and leaving me going from doctor, to doctor, to doctor. But no matter what’s wrong, our bodies still do so much good for us and it’s important to continue being kind and compassionate with ourselves.
  2. Go ahead and cry. While it’s definitely important to remember to stay positive, sometimes you just need to sit down and let yourself admit that it really sucks. It’s okay to feel those feelings.
  3. Find an outlet. Whether it’s writing, yoga, hiking, painting or screaming into a pillow, find a healthy medium to cope with your frustration.
  4. Find someone you can talk to. At times, I’ve felt like I burden my loved ones. I worried that I was annoying them talking so much about my prolonged sadness and frustration toward my body. But if you talk to the people who know you would be there for them if the roles were reversed, they will help carry you through.
  5. Meditate. I’ll admit upfront that I’ve always been bad at this one simply because I forget. But when I’ve committed to meditating regularly, it’s definitely made me feel better about tackling my health. It’s important to continue feeling centered in your body when you have a chronic problem and more important to minimize stress, as that makes everything worse.

How have you stayed sane through health issues? Let me know in the comments!

How CBD Oil Is Helping My Mental Health

At first, I was skeptical of all the CBD hype. I kept reading about how it had healed a variety of physical and mental ailments but I figured it was too good to be true.  Then I tried American Shaman’s Water Soluble Oil and the results honestly blew me away.

A few weeks ago, I woke up feeling distracted, unproductive and didn’t even want to get out of bed. I took a walk hoping that would help me reset but I still felt just as out of it when I got home. With nothing left to try, I decided to drink a little bit of the American Shaman Water-Soluble Oil sample I had bought on a whim a while ago.

I can honestly say that the CBD oil turned my entire day turned around. I suddenly felt motivated and focused. I cleaned my whole room, wrote a blog post and finished my homework. My mood was elevated. My anxiety improved. I felt infinitely better than I had just hours before. I was so blown away that I actually called both of my parents to tell them how excited I was about this new product. Over the last few weeks, I’ve continued to drink the Water Soluble Oil each morning and it’s been obvious that it still makes a huge difference in my day whenever I use it. While I definitely cannot recommend CBD on a medical level, I can certainly say it has begun to make a huge positive difference in my mood, my anxiety and my ADHD.

This is why I am so tremendously excited to announce that I am partnering with American Shaman to help you all get the CBD I have found so valuable! And the Water Soluble Oil isn’t their only product I love. I’ve started using their Hydrating Body Lotion and Lip Revitalizer too. I particularly love the lotion because it makes my skin feel unbelievably soft but also helps relieve some of the aches and pains in my muscles. The texture isn’t greasy like many other CBD lotions and it has a lovely, calming lavender smell. The Lip Revitalizer has also been a lifesaver for my chapped lips because I’ve found that the CBD makes it extra hydrating and it’s not full of fake chemicals and fragrances like many other chapsticks. Everything American Shaman makes is organic, non-GMO and lab-tested to ensure everything is safe and high-quality.

I am partnering with American Shaman because their products — especially the Water Soluble Oil — have genuinely made a huge positive impact on my mental health and I hope they can help you all too.

Head to AMERICAN SHAMAN’S WEBSITE and use my discount code SS10 for 10% off your order!