Continuing on last week’s theme of ADHD Hacks, I realized I have not yet shared my VITALS acronym!!
I wrote it earlier this year for a client who had a period of completely unstructured time between jobs. They didn’t want to be boxed into a daily routine, because they wanted to take advantage time outside a traditional work schedule.
The goal was to provide a daily checklist of sorts – a structure for productivity / accountability that allowed for flexibility. I think it does just that!!
In a perfect world we would all be able to attend to each of these “categories of needs” daily. In a modern world – that’s probably an unrealistic standard for most. Since we already know the ADHD crew is prone to all-or-nothing approach, remember our aim in implementing VITALS is a middle path.
I encourage keeping a journal or a phone note where you write out the acronym each day. As with DBT diary cards, we’re looking for patterns in the data trends. Having access of multiple weeks worth of information can help you identify cycles and vulnerability points.
V – Vessel: Properly care for your body:
Hydration – Drink as much water as possible. Reduce dependance on sugar/artificial/caffeine beverages.
Fuel – Aim for balanced diet. The more food that is directly from the earth, the better.
Reduce dependance on fast/convenience foods as they are tend to be most highly processed.
Exercise – Move your body for at least 30 minutes/day.
Sleep – Aim for 6-9 hours of sleep, in as close to a regulated cycle as your life allows.
Turn off all screens 30 minute before bedtime.
Meds/Supplements – Take at roughly same time daily.
I – Income: For many this is still structured work hours. However, I wrote this with creative/digital nomads like myself in mind. This could be direct services, creating, packaging, billing, marketing, networking, blogging, research, structuring, social media, YouTube. I tend to group my work days between client session days (direct service) and then other days for administrative and business building tasks. **If you have dedicated “weekend days” each week, then you will have days without this task. Use them to focus on other categories you struggle to find time for on “work days”.
T – Together: For those of us who are introverts, it is important to make sure we have some form of pleasant and/or meaningful human connection each day. Even if it is just a quick phone or text convo – deliberate communication with those who make us feel seen/validated/understood is necessary when so many daily interactions can be shallow and invalidating.
A – Alone: For those with families & careers (especially moms) it is important for you to find (at a bare minimum) short breaks to be alone with yourself. Take some deep breaths, ground in your body, notice your own boundaries without the demands/wants/needs of everyone else being placed on you. Allow yourself this time to recenter.
**Most struggle with either one or the other of the together/alone diad based on how you’re wired (introvert/extravert) and the home/work structure.
L: Learning: Aim to increase your knowledge or skillset. Modern adult life is often stagnant – we get the necessary training for our jobs and then we repeat the behaviors of it for 40 years. Strive to become more well rounded. Practice art or music. Read. Explore. Learning doesn’t have to look like it did in school – find things that spark your passion and pursue them in whatever way appeals to you.
S: Spirit Fuel: Do something to purposely refill your spiritual coffers. Meditation, Prayer, Yoga, Art, Time Outside, Reading. (This category may overlap with your together/alone, learning & exercise tasks)
If you notice you missed any category 3+ days in a row, it’s probably time to
problem solve &
I’d love to hear from others in the ADHD club who have flexible careers/lifestyles. How do you balance the demands of running a business successfully in late stage capitalism while having brain that despises monotony? Drop your tricks & tips in the comment section!
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