Super short tips and tricks for ADHD and / or depression
August 24, 2014 6:54 PM   Subscribe

I'm struggling today with both. The ADHD makes searching for help a little more difficult than normal. Can you give me (really short) one liner suggestions for making it through? Mostly focusing on being productive, and coping strategies, but also maybe ways to be kind to oneself.

Examples might be:

Pomodoro it - 15 minutes on, 5 minutes off.
Mindfulness - notice the emotion, name it, and accept it.
Take a brisk walk.
Do math in your head - double numbers until you lose track. Then try the Fibonacci sequence.
Listen to this
Practice gratitude.
Soak in some Hyperbole and a half.

At the risk of breaking Askme rules, can you put your answers in separate responses? I'm having trouble with paragraphs right now.

Maybe one day, when I'm better than I am now, I can make a nice little PDF to swipe through on my phone for days like these, which shows each one.

Sorry if I'm not making sense to you - I'm not making sense to me.
posted by b33j to Health & Fitness (44 answers total) 63 users marked this as a favorite
Connect with others.
posted by GoLikeHellMachine at 7:14 PM on August 24, 2014

Ask for help.
posted by GoLikeHellMachine at 7:15 PM on August 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Meditate. Breathe in for five seconds, exhale for five seconds. Count the breath and focus on it. Let go of anything else.
posted by Draccy at 7:20 PM on August 24, 2014

Do something physical, go for a run, do 20 jumping jacks, punch a pillow/mattress. It will help.
posted by Draccy at 7:24 PM on August 24, 2014

Ways to be kind to oneself: at the (literal) end of the day, review it and emphasize every thing positive, or health or goal promoting, or that you can feel good about, that you did.
posted by thelonius at 7:25 PM on August 24, 2014

If you're getting nothing done, try doing Actual Nothing for 15 minutes.

(Set a timer, lie down with your eyes closed, and preferably something covering them for 15 minutes - if you nap, great, if you don't, just let relax and let your thoughts drift)
posted by Elysum at 7:27 PM on August 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

Keep things simple.
posted by Hermione Granger at 7:28 PM on August 24, 2014

Just breathe.
posted by Hermione Granger at 7:28 PM on August 24, 2014

Pack your lunches for the week. Focusing only on this one task. Build structure into your week by planning it out.
posted by Draccy at 7:29 PM on August 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

YouTube as many videos of cats as possible.
posted by Hermione Granger at 7:29 PM on August 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

keep a list.
posted by theora55 at 7:29 PM on August 24, 2014

Work to a do to list.

Get up, Have shower, Make a cup of tea.

Keep adding to it if it's too much to write all at once. Keep it simple and do-able.
posted by Youremyworld at 7:32 PM on August 24, 2014

It's not a snack unless it has 5 grams of protein (approx).
posted by Elysum at 7:33 PM on August 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

Go to bed and get out of bed at the same time every day, even if that cuts down on your sleep. (Set alarms for this).

Make your bed as soon as you get up. Before even going to the toilet -- first thing.

Shower, brush your teeth, and put on clean clothes every day.

Put your dirty clothes in the hamper, don't leave them anywhere else.

Exercise every day. Length of time doesn't matter (can be five minutes, doesn't matter). Intensity doesn't matter (can be walking around the block, stretching in front of the TV, doesn't matter).

Eat breakfast and dinner (obviously eat more if you can, but ALWAYS eat breakfast and dinner).

Always put your dirty dishes in the sink, don't leave them anywhere else. Wash the dishes in the sink after dinner every day.

Before you go to bed at night, write down one thing you're going to do the next day. Can be anything, even a very small thing -- run one errand, send one email, whatever. The next day, you HAVE to do that thing. You don't have to do anything else, but do that one thing.

Call your doctor (by "your doctor," I mean your psychiatrist, or your PCP, or could even be your GYN if you're desperate -- whichever doctor you feel closest to is fine) and make an appointment to see her in person. What you're experiencing might be depression, or it might be something else, I don't know. But if you're feeling as confused and low as you sound in this question, this is a crisis and you need your doctor's help to figure what's wrong and how to make it better.
posted by rue72 at 7:50 PM on August 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Allow yourself to be unproductive for a few hours. Veg out with candy crush or whatever your current passion is. Sometimes our brains get tired and we need to rest them.
posted by myselfasme at 7:51 PM on August 24, 2014

Remember that "this too shall pass"
posted by Jacqueline at 8:04 PM on August 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Eat some protein
posted by Jacqueline at 8:04 PM on August 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Take a nice long hot bath or shower and then stretch every muscle in your body
posted by Jacqueline at 8:05 PM on August 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Declutter your desk / work environment
posted by Jacqueline at 8:05 PM on August 24, 2014

Clean and declutter your bedroom so the first thing you see when you wake up is an organized and peaceful environment. Maybe even add a vase of fresh flowers.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:08 PM on August 24, 2014

Every morning drink a full glass of water as soon as you wake up and then eat a good breakfast containing protein.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:09 PM on August 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Write a to-do list where the things are very small (eg, write a to-do list). Cross things off. Feel accomplished.
posted by Athanassiel at 8:11 PM on August 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Call 13-11-14 if it doesn't get better.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:14 PM on August 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

If, and only if, you're not on any meds, get some SAMe from your local grocery, discount, or drug store. It should help with both depression and ADHD. 200mg should be enough.
posted by MexicanYenta at 8:37 PM on August 24, 2014

breathe and smile
posted by hortense at 8:50 PM on August 24, 2014

List 3 things you are grateful for.
posted by jander03 at 12:02 AM on August 25, 2014

Take a walk in nature. It's a nice reminder that the world is actually a big beautiful place.
posted by jander03 at 12:03 AM on August 25, 2014

Response by poster: You lot are magnificent. This is perfect. I'd mark them all as best answers, except it'll be harder to read. Thank you. xoxo
posted by b33j at 1:07 AM on August 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

put on some angry or energetic music that you love and sing along
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:28 AM on August 25, 2014

Rest, and remind yourself you're doing the best you can.
posted by terretu at 1:37 AM on August 25, 2014

How you feel now is not permanent.
posted by JackBurden at 4:19 AM on August 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

As others suggested, try mediation—it may be a little frustrating short term but give it time. From AskMe recs, I've found I like Headspace (other methods are available).
posted by JackBurden at 5:16 AM on August 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

Remember how far you've come.
posted by Hawk V at 7:59 AM on August 25, 2014

Hula hoop for 10 minutes.
posted by maxg94 at 8:12 AM on August 25, 2014

Take a 15-20 minute walk around your office/home/neighborhood. Look for and pay attention to small details of nature.
posted by tckma at 10:04 AM on August 25, 2014

and as you walk around some green space, remember that the frantic person inside you who is dominating the stage right now is someone you need to take care of - you need to nurture him/her through this, by whatever healthy means will help.
posted by mmiddle at 11:49 AM on August 25, 2014

Find five things in your house that are just laying around and put them away in their proper place. (Just five. You can keep going if you want but it's amazing how easy it is to just put away those five.)
posted by nightrecordings at 3:42 PM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you're worried or feeling overwhelmed, and can't stay on task, set up a external system to remember those worries for you, so that your brain can stop thinking about it.

How/the expanded version:
If you're having trouble staying on task, and feeling overwhelmed and worried about the number of THINGS you have to do, then your brain is usually focusing on them because they are important, and you're worried you'll forget them if you don't keep regurgitating through that mental list.
Therefore: Make ACTUAL list, and write each 'thing' down as you think of it. Set an alarm, for some point VERY soon, when you are going to review the piece of paper. When you have absolutely reassured yourself that you are not going to forget anything on that list, because it's written down, it often stops churning around the washing machine of your brain, and you can more easily focus on the task in front of you right now.
If an alarm by itself won't work, try two alarms, or sticking a copy of the list to your bathroom mirror for when you pee, or ask someone to remind you. You have to absolutely trust that things on that list won't be forgotten, and therefore YOU can forget them until you are reminded.
posted by Elysum at 7:00 PM on August 25, 2014

Response by poster: Hi, I made a little PDF for my phone with some of the things in this thread here. I only set up 20 pages but will update later with more. If you'd like it, it's here.
posted by b33j at 7:54 PM on August 25, 2014 [7 favorites]

The Headspace app teaches you meditation techniques. It works on Android or IOS, is free for the first ten lessons, and only takes ten minutes. I have benefitted from it, and think you might as well.
posted by talldean at 7:27 AM on August 27, 2014

Getting Things Done is a book explaining a strategy for accomplishing tasks. The book is too long; look for a summary online. You don't trust yourself - we're bad at time management - but you make a trusted external source, like a spreadsheet. You break what you want to do into goals. (Finish my Spanish class.) For each goal, you list the next task - and only the next task! - along with when it needs to be done by. When you need to be doing something, look at the spreadsheet, pick a task, and go. Update the spreadsheet with the next task for that goal. Review the sheet from time to time (weekly and monthly), and add goals (or delete goals!) as needed.
posted by talldean at 7:31 AM on August 27, 2014

Try taking one day a week away from the computer/laptop/tablet/video game console/TV. Basically, spend some intentional time, each week, with no display screens in front of you. It helps my ADHD, and I shoot for this on Sundays. It's not a short-term fix, but makes ADHD more manageable in the longer term.
posted by talldean at 7:37 AM on August 27, 2014

And honestly?

You just managed a post to the internet with perfect spelling and grammar, which automatically makes me think more of you than at least half of the internet. :-)

Remember to pause after doing something correctly - however small - and focus on the success and positivity there, even if it seems silly.

Besides the spelling and grammar? 55 people have already favorited the question you just asked, so that's already something to take pride in today. (You should!)
posted by talldean at 7:39 AM on August 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Try a "done list." Include even little things. Helps with the getting through the moment.
posted by eleanna at 1:12 PM on August 31, 2014

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