Jim Livingstone

24 February 2024

The ADHD Optimist - Jim Livingstone

Critical Self-Care
Hello, and Welcome

I grew up feeling like the odd one out. After forty-five years of trying to fit in, I was finally diagnosed with ADHD.

Since my diagnosis, I have spent the last twenty-five years researching and actively testing a massive amount of ADHD information.

Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way…


In navigating the complexities of ADHD, self-care emerges not as a luxury, but as a non-negotiable pillar for managing challenges and enhancing life quality. The principle is clear: in the complex dance of life with ADHD, self-care is the consistent rhythm that brings harmony to the steps.

It’s never just about surviving with ADHD; it’s about thriving, and self-care is the bridge between the two. Self-care provides many benefits—from improved focus and stress reduction to greater emotional control and better physical and mental health.

From Chaos to Focus: The Centrality of Self-Care

Self-care is an encompassing term, covering a range of activities and practices to improve physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

In the context of ADHD, where the brain’s self-regulation faculties are struggling, self-care becomes the external scaffold that supports and enhances the internal structure.

 Cultivating a Mindful Mind

Meditation and mindfulness are at the forefront of cognitive recalibration. ADHD can make the mind a raucous marketplace of thoughts. Mindfulness quells the noise, fostering an inner tranquillity that can sharpen intentional focus.

Practising meditation regularly can help you attain better self-control over your impulses, a feat crucial for both emotional and mental regulation.

 The Physical Reckoning

Exercise is a potent supporting therapy for ADHD. Not only does it spike neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine, which are in short supply in an ADHD brain, but it also serves as an outlet for boundless energy, thus reducing hyperactivity.

Moreover, physical activity engenders a robust circadian rhythm that is often awry in those with ADHD, and better sleep cycles correlate with better attention spans.

 Dietary Discipline and its Role

In the ADHD experience, the maxim “You are what you eat” takes on an almost literal meaning. High-protein diets may augment neurotransmitter activity, leading to improved concentration levels.

Balancing blood sugar through healthy eating can also stabilize mood swings and lower the emotional volatility often associated with ADHD.

 Designing an Intentional Day

For the ADHD adult, a day without structure is like sailing a rudderless ship. Routines and schedules are self-care tools that add predictability and control to life.

Time management techniques, such as breaking tasks into small, manageable actions, can significantly decrease the overwhelm that leads to procrastination – a common adversary in the ADHD story.

 The Balm of Balance: Sleep and Stress

Chronic fatigue can be a silent saboteur for the ADHD brain, making sound sleep a cornerstone of self-care. Establishing regular sleep patterns can diffuse the fog of daytime drowsiness and sharpen cognitive clarity.

Moreover, stress exacerbates ADHD symptoms. Engaging in relaxation activities and employing stress management techniques not only prevents burnout but also promotes a more focused and attentive mindset.

 Navigating the Emotional Rapids

Emotional dysregulation, akin to the unexpected currents in the river of life, is a known challenge in ADHD. Thus, emotional self-care — from therapy to journaling, from deep breathing exercises to social connections — is vital.

These acts of self-kindness create safe harbours in the emotional storms, and over time, they help cultivate inner resilience, enabling better responses to life’s challenges.

 The Social Scaffold

Humans are social beings, and ADHD does not negate this truth. Isolation can amplify ADHD symptoms; conversely, a supportive social network acts as a buoyant force.

Self-care, in this regard, means proactively seeking and nurturing relationships that offer understanding, encouragement, and a listening ear.

 Professional Pursuits: Therapy and Medication

Sometimes, self-care entails recognizing when professional help is needed. Medication, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Coaching for ADHD can dramatically improve quality of life.

These interventions, when seen as self-care, empower you to take charge of your treatment plans.


For anyone with ADHD, self-care is not a sporadic indulgence but a way of life. It’s a multifaceted approach that demands consistency and dedication. The infinite benefits—from improved focus and stress reduction to better emotional control and physical health—are well-established.

In summary, self-care is a critical element in managing ADHD. It serves to counteract the challenges of the condition and provides a pathway to a more manageable, fulfilling life.

The sooner self-care is seamlessly integrated into your daily regimen, the sooner you will witness a transformative change in navigating your world.

 Embrace Self-Care as a Lifelong Passion.

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“Life is never boring, but some people are.”

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This Week’s Challenge.

Challenge yourself by identifying something you want to improve and build on it one step at a time.

Give yourself the gift of trying something new, which will help you grow and fire off some dopamine!

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This is the book I am currently writing, and I would like you to share the journey. I would love to hear your story and, with your consent, include it in the book, newsletter, or articles.

Peek Inside My Book…here is an unedited extract from Chapter 2


o   The Emotional Rollercoaster

o   Build a Supportive Network.

o   Your new beginning.


Receiving a late ADHD diagnosis can feel overwhelming and produce a whirlwind of emotions. You may experience a mix of relief, validation, confusion, frustration, anger, and even grief. It’s important to acknowledge and process the emotions that may arise. 

It’s common to reflect on past experiences, wondering how your life might have been different if you had known about your ADHD earlier. It’s important to remember that these emotions are normal and part of the process of coming to terms with your diagnosis.

 While many have coped with the symptoms unknowingly, an ADHD diagnosis in adulthood can be both validating and overwhelming. Let’s explore the emotional journey of individuals who receive a later-in-life ADHD diagnosis and shed light on the challenges they may face. 

Validation and Relief:

If you have struggled with unexplained difficulties throughout your life, an ADHD diagnosis can provide a sense of validation. It confirms that your experiences are not due to personal shortcomings but rather a neurobiological condition.

You are NOT broken and never were. This validation can help alleviate self-blame, shame, and anxiety, allowing you to reframe your self-perception.

Grief and Loss:

A late diagnosis may also trigger feelings of grief and loss. You may mourn the missed opportunities, strained relationships, and unfulfilled potential that were influenced by ADHD symptoms. Processing these emotions is an important step towards accepting the diagnosis and embracing a new beginning.

Identity Crisis:

With an ADHD diagnosis, you may experience an identity crisis as you come to terms with this newfound aspect of your neurodiversity. You may question long-held beliefs and narratives about yourself, forcing a re-evaluation of your self-image. This introspection can be disorienting but ultimately paves the way for self-discovery and self-acceptance.

Relationships and Communication:

A late ADHD diagnosis has implications for personal relationships. Loved ones may need to adjust their understanding of the individual and reframe past experiences through a new lens. Clear and open communication becomes essential, as it enables understanding, empathy, and collaboration in managing ADHD-related challenges within relationships.

Navigating Career and Education:

The diagnosis of ADHD can significantly impact your professional career and educational pursuits. Many adults with ADHD have experienced challenges with focus, organization, time management, and impulsivity, potentially affecting job performance and academic achievements. However, with a diagnosis, you can reassess your career choices, seek appropriate accommodations, and discover strategies that optimize your strengths.

Embracing New Coping Strategies 

Understanding how ADHD affects your daily life is crucial for developing effective coping strategies.

Therapy, coaching, and self-education specifically tailored for adults with ADHD can provide valuable tools and techniques to manage symptoms. By embracing new coping strategies, you can enhance your productivity, improve time management, and reduce stress.

Managing Medication and Treatment:

If you choose to pursue medication as part of your treatment plan, ADHD medications can provide significant emotional, mental and physical benefits.

Finding the right medication and dosage is an ongoing process that requires patience, self-monitoring and medical guidance to achieve optimal results.

to be continued next week………

Let me know what you think, the good, the bad and wtf?…link to comments on website

PS Love to hear your story if you want to share


Be Inspired by, not defeated by, an ADHD diagnosis

“ADHD is not a flaw, it’s a unique way of thinking. It allows me to see the world in a different light, and come up with innovative solutions to complex problems.” – Unknown

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If you haven’t downloaded the complementary PDF of the first couple of chapters, now’s your chance.

Or if you have already and want to buy a copy


Expect the Best,


If you’ve got a second, I would love to hear your thoughts and comments. jim@jimlivingstone.com.au I reply to every email.

This site is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal, or other professional advice. The content in this newsletter is designed to support, not replace, medical or psychiatric treatment. Please seek professional help if you believe you may have Mental Health Issues.

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