How Body Doubling Is Changing My Life!

That sounds awfully dramatic, doesn’t it? But it’s the truth!

I have a project that has been sitting on my back burner for so long, it’s blending in with the decor. It’s a terrific project, a great idea, something that, if I can get it off the ground,will enable me to help people make major positive changes in their lives…

But, there it sits.

And the thing is, I already started it, awhile back. So it’s not about starting this project, and feeling overwhelmed. It’s about starting AGAIN.

It’s that same feeling you get when you’ve been going to the gym consistently, and then life happens, and you miss one workout, and another, and another. It’s almost harder to go BACK to the gym than it was to start in the first place.

What’s up with that?

When we are starting something new, there’s excitement. There’s anticipation. Using the gym example, there are so many possibilities-feeling great, looking chiseled, meeting new people.

But that excitement isn’t really there when we go BACK to something we’ve done in the recent past. Sure, we know it’s a good idea, we looked and felt much better when we were working out often, but it’s really hard to drum up that “new” feeling that kicks our enthusiasm-and our dopamine-up several notches.

And that’s exactly what I have run into with my project. I know it’s a great idea, but I also can’t garner that “Yahoo!” feeling. The newness isn’t there. Plus I also know about the downside-that I actually have to do work to make it happen!

Enter body doubling. Body doubling is when we work alongside someone, as opposed to with them. It is a great way to keep working-you’re not going to start playing on your phone when you’ve committed to working and your body double can see you. So it works fantastically well for distractions.

But as an incentive to start a task? Yup!

A friend offered to body double with me while I work on this project. She had some work to do as well, so we would both benefit.

And suddenly, the newness was there! I was going to work with my friend! And be able to share my progress! 

This new twist made all the difference.

So far, we’ve body doubled once, and now, I’m working away on my project even when she’s not around, so I can tell her how far I’ve come since I saw her last. Accountability is built into the process, along with having a work buddy.

Now, there is actually hope of completing this project in the foreseeable future, which could really be a game changer for me, and others. 

The project is off the back burner. In fact-it’s got a hell of a fire under it. Thanks to body doubling.

If you are interested in body doubling with me, you can register for my weekly Monday afternoon sessions-FREE! Here’s the link:  https://calendly.com/constellationadhdcoach/body-doubling

ADHD Books That I Love!

As promised, here is a list of some of my favorite ADHD books, just in time for Prime Days on July 11 and 12. Here we go!

Your Brain’s Not BrokenTamara Rosier

If you are only going to buy one book from my recommendations, this would be the one I would say is a must. I have been fortunate enough to attend a few webinars held by Tamara Rosier, so I was excited to read her book-and it did not disappoint! Your Brain’s Not Broken has user-friendly explanations of ADHD brain differences, including examples. Additionally, the strategies presented, which take the emotional dysregulation ADHDers can experience fully into account, are explained so well that they can be put into action quickly and easily.

What I love about this book: I love everything about Your Brain’s Not Broken! First of all, the notion of motivation being determined by emotions is so thought provoking; it makes so much sense, but this is the first time I’m seeing it spelled out so clearly. Also, Rosier’s presentation of different clients, and her own ADHD, makes this book so relatable. I couldn’t put it down! https://amzn.to/3NF0YzH

ADHD 2.0 – Edward M. Hallowell and John J. Ratey

Dr. Hallowell could be called one of the Grand Poobahs of ADHD research, treatment, and writing. ADHD 2.0 is an update to Hallowell’s original book, Driven to Distraction, which was (and still is) the ADHD bible. ADHD 2.0, in addition to explaining the brain science behind ADHD, also discusses different ways to enable ADHDers to thrive (such as exercise and connecting with others).

What I love about this book:  Dr. Hallowell’s approach is strengths based, meaning that rather than focus on what one has difficulty with, ADHDers are encouraged to lean on what they are great at. Dr. Hallowell is such a positive force in ADHD treatment, and that shines through in ADHD 2.0. https://amzn.to/44EculN

how to keep house while drowningKC Davis

This book, and the YouTube and TikTok videos that KC Davis has created, are legendary among ADHDers. Ms. Davis has developed Struggle Care, a very basic plan for keeping your house in some form of order, based on the (very true) concept that having a messy house is not a moral failure, it is simply a functional challenge. how to keep house while drowning has suggestions for housekeeping that take into account ADHD, depression, anxiety, postpartum…basically, life. You can use the 31 day plan that is presented, or just read through and choose what you’d like to work on.

What I love about this book:  Throughout how to keep house while drowning, one feels like you are sitting and schmoozing with a friend who is telling you that it’s all going to be okay, and that you’re being too hard on yourself. It’s a comforting little booklet. https://amzn.to/46EJfAY

Smart But ScatteredPeg Dawson and Richard Guare

Smart But Scattered is a great book for parents who are looking for practical advice on how to help their ADHD child work with their challenged executive functions. There is a terrific explanation of what the executive functions are, with examples. A section on general strategies to employ when dealing with your child follows. Finally, there are suggestions (with implementation plans) and examples relating to a variety of issues that any ADHD parent will recognize.

What I love about this book: The approach that is presented in Smart But Scattered towards working with your ADHD child is on point. Dawson and Guare tell parents to “modify tasks to match your child’s capacity to exert effort,” and “begin by changing things outside the child before…strategies that require the child to change.” In other words, work with your child, not against them. Doesn’t sound terribly profound…but it is. https://amzn.to/3O4zUuR

All Dogs Have ADHD – Kathy Hoopmann

All Dogs Have ADHD is a picture book full of dogs doing, well, dog things. But what makes this book special is that the pictures tell the story of ADHD. So, a dog jumping into a lake is “diving straight into a situation without thinking about the consequences.” You get the idea. This book is great for kids who have ADHD, and also those who don’t, but spend time around ADHDers. The photographs are beautiful, and the pups are adorable.

What I love about this book: Parents often want to sugarcoat for their kids. All Dogs Have ADHD doesn’t do that-while the book does end on a very positive note, the positives and negatives are given equal time. Also…dogs. Need I say more?? (PS-there is a companion book, All Cats Are On The Autism Spectrum) https://amzn.to/46RhntE

I could go on and on..but I’ll save some of my faves for another post down the road. Happy Reading!!

Disclosure: I am an Amazon associate, and have an affiliate relationship with Amazon.

Leaning Forward When You’d Rather Lean Back

I learned to ski as an adult. To say I was afraid is to delve into understatement. I was terrified. But I was dating a Vermonter at the time, and when in Vermont….so I took ski lessons.

I wasn’t half bad at it, to be honest. But the one part of skiing that I just couldn’t wrap my mind around was that, while I was hurtling down an icy slope with limited ability to stop, my instructor kept yelling, “Nose over your toes! Lean forward!!”

Lean forward? Was he nuts, or just some sort of sadistic weirdo? When you are going downhill, your instinct is to lean back-to slow down the action, to pull away from what, as a beginner skier, looks to be your death spiral. I resisted the urge for a long time-and while I was never going to be an Olympic skier, leaning back kept me from being a better skier than I was.

Young children, in general, can be difficult at times. They run around, they jump on your bed, they feed their dinner to the dog. Children with ADHD have the extra oomph of being impulsive-what would happen if we smash the TV to let the people out-as well as having difficulty settling in for baths, storytime, meals. 

And as a parent, after several hours, all you want to do is lean back.

So you put on the latest Paw Patrol episode, intending to just take 15 minutes to regroup and maybe use the bathroom. But then the peace and quiet is so intoxicating..and suddenly, 15 minutes has turned into 3 hours.

Now, we’ve all had days where, for everyone’s sake, the above scenario is not just necessary, it’s recommended. And I am in no way criticizing anyone for it. Been there, and have done it. However, when 3 hour TV breaks become the norm, and yet your child is still driving you mad, it might be time to lean forward.

What does this mean? It entails saying to your child, “Hey, Bobby. We need to chill a little bit, but I still want to play. What would you like to do for the next little while?” And then….and here’s the hard part…doing what they ask.

It’s hard because no, you really don’t feel like pretending you’re a farm animal, or dressing up, or playing 20 card games. You have laundry to do, and a work call to make, and your client will not understand if you yell “Uno!” during your Zoom call.

But giving your child that little bit of time-even just 15 minutes-to call the shots, and to have your complete attention-and that means no phone in hand-can do magical things. 

It changes the pace. It pauses the frenetic action. Most importantly-it tells your child, in ways that words can’t, that they are a priority. And that you enjoy them. And while that isn’t going to mean that they will stop feeding green beans to Fido, what it will do is strengthen your bond with your kid. It’ll help you understand what and how they think. And it will make you a better parent. Which is what our kids deserve.