Monthly Archives:

January 2023

A colorful silhouette of gender-neutral head with very colorful background
Mental Health

You Make Negative Feelings Worse When You Try to Stop Them. Do This Instead

My therapist often repeats one sentence to me. I believe I would be able to recite it even if someone woke me up at midnight. (Don’t try to wake me up at midnight, though. At least if you value your life.) 

The sentence is: “You create what you focus on.”

Let me explain. When we experience something unpleasant, we want more than anything for it to just go away. If you experience pain, you concentrate on the fact of how much you want the pain to stop existing. If you have mental health problems, you often think about how you can make them easier to bear, how to make them go away.

When you focus on how to make something go away, you reinforce it instead

The problem with this kind of thinking is that you focus on the thing you don’t want. And the more you think about it, the more you reinforce it. By thinking about the thing you don’t want all the time, you strengthen the neural pathways in the brain that are dedicated to this thing. And the more you use these neural pathways, the more you are inclined to use them.

Nicholas Carr writes in his book, The Shallows: “The more the sufferer concentrates on his symptoms, the deeper those symptoms are etched into his neural circuits. In the worst cases, the mind essentially trains itself to be sick.”

You strengthen the right neural pathways by focusing on what you want

So what to do instead? Focus on what you want to have. Do you have anxiety? Focus on the feeling of peace and calm. Right now, I’m doing visualizations of feeling calm in therapy to “work out” the part of my brain dedicated to it. I imagine a place where I can feel safe and calm (it can be made up or real), imagine myself there, and feel the calmness wash over me.

For me, it’s a meadow filled with dandelions with an old tree in the middle. I sit down between its roots and look l into the distance. If I’m not calm enough, I picture a bed under the tree, and I’m curled in the bed, completely covered by the heavy blanket. I come out when I’m ready.

It’s normal if you experience calm weakly at first, or mixed with other feelings. As long as it’s there, it’s OK. Your brain just isn’t used to it enough yet. It will improve by doing.

You can train your brain to feel what you want

By focusing on what you want to feel, you strengthen the centers in your brain that are dedicated to that feeling. If you focus on joy, you strengthen the connections in your brain that create joy. It’s like a path that gets wider the more you walk it. At first, you slowly make your way through the dense bushes, but gradually you can walk it quicker and easier. Eventually, it becomes a habit. You will find yourself feeling joy every day because you have taught your brain how to do it.

Your dominant mindset can be anxiety, for example, but it can also be calm. It depends on which neural pathways you walk repeatedly. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you won’t experience any anxiety at all. Life contains all sorts of feelings. But your brain forms a habit that determines which feelings it falls back on in neutral situations, and you can change that.


You can learn to have fewer negative feelings in your life if you don’t focus on getting rid of them and concentrate on the positive ones instead. It takes time to teach your brain to form new neural pathways, but with daily practice, you can gradually start to change what is your dominant mindset.


The link for the book The Shallows is an affiliate Amazon link, which means that if you buy the book by clicking on it, I’ll earn a commission. (Of course at no additional cost to you.) The book is a fascinating read not only about how using the internet changes our brain but also about neuroplasticity and how different inventions like maps, clocks or the written word shaped the development of the human mind. I recommend only books that I enjoy myself. 🧡

A blue cleaning pan with two violet rubber gloves on top on white background

5 Simple ADHD Hacks for Getting Chores Done

When you have ADHD, it can be insanely hard to get anything done, ever. That goes for keeping your house clean and organized too. It can be hard when you need to adult every day, but your brain just won’t have it. So I found some methods to work with the quirks my brain has. I adapt my daily tasks according to what I know about myself and it shows some results. I hope some of this will help you too.

1. Know your priorities

My energy is very limited right now, so I did some thinking about what is the most important to do and what can wait. I decided that feeding myself, drinking enough water, and sleeping enough come absolutely first, as they are biological needs, and I would break down if I don’t take care of them. The same applies to my mental health care. After that comes personal hygiene. Then comes work. Then comes cleaning and organizing the space where I live. Etc. etc.

Because of that, things like cooking and eating lunch are the highest priority tasks, as is taking time to lie in my bed, tune out the world, and rest. For example, if I have to decide between cooking lunch and washing my hair, I cook the lunch and simply make peace with the fact that my hair isn’t washed. But if I’m deciding between sweeping the floor and washing my hair, my hair gets washed and the floor can wait. I’m in long-term burnout right now and I have very low energy and executive functioning, so I just had to accept that not everything gets done

I work from home part-time, and obviously, work is very important, but it always comes after my biological needs. Otherwise, I wouldn’t do much work anyways. I set a rule for myself:  first rest, then work, not the other way around. Rest gives me the energy to do the work. (And yes, I realize that not everyone can afford to do it like this, and I’m privileged. But I also think not being able to take care of yourself leads to burnout, and then your body and mind stop you from working anyways. It is worth it to try to find ways to care for yourself before that happens.)

2. Do one chore for 15 minutes a day

I set a timer for 15 minutes and during that time, do whichever unpleasant task that needs doing – like washing the dishes. If I told myself I will wash dishes and clean the kitchen for an hour, I couldn’t find the motivation to begin. But I can bear doing it for just 15 minutes.

It’s much easier to finish a short task. And if you do this every day, you clean most of the things that need to get cleaned and do most of what needs to be done. Also, I like to listen to energetic music while doing household chores and other low-concentration tasks and it helps me keep my energy up.

3. Task switching

This point is a bit similar to the previous one – with a twist. I set a timer for 15 – 20 minutes and work on one chore during that time. But after that time passes, I switch to another task. After another 20 minutes, I can go back to the first thing, or pick a totally different one. I alter between several chores this way until I run out of energy – but by then, even if the tasks aren’t completely finished, a significant portion of the work is done. This rapid task-switching ensures that my brain won’t get bored. I discovered that sometimes I can work for hours, as long it’s something different every 20 minutes. Who would have thought?

4. One step at a time

I was always postponing things like putting the dishes in the dishwasher or hanging the clothes to dry. Sometimes I had to rewash the clothes three or four times because I couldn’t myself wash them. I didn’t know how to make myself just DO the damn thing.

And then it dawned on me.

I don’t hang up the clothes because there are still clothes hanging from the previous washing. It feels like too long and difficult a task to first put them down, fold them and put them where they belong, and then put the newly washed clothes up. So I only do one thing at a time.

I put the dry clothes down. Sometime after, I fold them and put them away. And another time, I do the laundry and I’m able to hang the freshly washed clothes because it’s just one task instead of two or three.

Now, I don’t even start the washing machine if the clothes hanger isn’t empty. Much better! The same with the dishwasher. First, the clean dishes go out. That’s doable. Later, I can add the dirty ones as I go and put them to wash. 

5. Sort-of-a-routine

As a person with ADHD, I’m bad at routines. Seriously bad. But as an autistic person, I crave them. So I make a compromise: I observe what I’m inclined to do during my day, experiment, and think about any small tweaks that I could implement.

I try to insert various tasks at various times of my day or attach them to other routines I have already down. I keep what works and discard what doesn’t. I try to do things in a way that feels easy for me

For example, I decided to add writing of my morning pages directly after my usual morning relaxation over a cup of tea. The morning pages are a method of creating a writing habit and tackling the writer’s block that is described in The Artist’s Way. It’s pretty easy –  you just write whatever comes to mind and let your thoughts flow on the paper. It helps me with my mental health – I can sort my thoughts and feelings on paper, realize what makes me tick, and find solutions to problems.

I observed I’m getting very stressed and unsettled when I finish my morning tea because I feel I should get to work right away. But I never feel like it yet, and I wanted to create some gentle transition. It worked. Now I finish my tea and breakfast, write a few pages, ride the stationary bike for a few minutes and then I can start work calmer and more refreshed.


These are the things that help me to manage my daily load. I’m still disorganized, messy, and nowhere close to where I would like to be, but at least I can keep the explosion that is my life somewhat in control. Yay!

Do you know any useful hacks and tips for ADHD/neurodivergent housekeeping? Help others out and write them in the comments! I would love to hear more advice to add to my repertoire! 🙂

Two twin zoung women lzing on grass side bz side, one of them upside down to the other.

I Love My ADHD Side but Hate the Autistic One

I didn’t know I was autistic or had ADHD until adulthood. Then I was diagnosed with both at once. I went for the assessment for autism and got two diagnoses for the price of one.

The autism I kind of expected, even if I debated with myself for years if I can be really autistic, or if I’m just making it all up. Ironically, It didn’t occur to me that I could have ADHD – but when I got the diagnosis, I thought “Huh. Of course. That totally makes sense.

I accepted my ADHD side immediately. I still haven’t found my peace with the autistic side. I have a problem identifying with it because of my internalized ableism and outdated stereotypes of what autism looks like that still somehow live in my unconscious mind. I have autistic imposter syndrome. I’m having trouble accepting autism as a part of my identity.

The ADHD side wants to live to the fullest… and the autistic side is holding her back

For me, the ADHD side represents my ideal self – adventurous, bold, friendly, outgoing. She is the person I want to be. She longs to live the life I yearn for: having adventures, cherishing new experiences, connecting to all kinds of people and making friends, and living every moment of life to the fullest.

I feel that my autistic side is keeping me back from this all. She is easily overwhelmed. She has problems with new environments and new things. She is easily exhausted by human contact. She craves routine and is unsettled by the lack of it. No matter how adventurous I feel, I have to always, always keep in mind my limitations. And that rankles. I despise them. I want to be free.

I follow the adventures of various people who travel a lot, hike in nature a lot, do new and interesting things a lot, and I feel like they are somehow living MY life, the life that should belong to me, the life I always imagined I would have. This is one of the most terrible feelings I know.

And now I know I would probably never have that kind of life. But I can’t make myself let go of that dream – not yet. So I just silently suffer and feel like I’m not really myself. I haven’t felt like myself for years.

Oh, the adventures I had… Until I didn’t.

When I was a teenager, I happily jumped on whatever opportunity for a new adventure that came by. I went on a skiing trip designed to bring together able-bodied and disabled children and I got lost in a snowstorm with two of the other girls. I went planting trees with an ecological organization. I was the youngest one there and had to be helped home by one of the older guys because I got a fever.

I went on a horse camp that went terribly wrong (read: exciting) as we had to move from the campsite that somehow wasn’t paid for into an old house that was falling apart. We smuggled food leftovers to a scrappy dog that lived there and were enjoying ourselves. At another horse camp, they just sat me on a horse and started galloping – so I learned how to ride a galloping horse while doing it. At first, I clung to him for my dear life, but by the end of the camp, I was riding with my back straight and a smile on my face.

One summer, I went to a Shaolin-themed camp (by another ecological organization) which was one of the best experiences of my life. They did things like gather us in the middle of the afternoon to tell us that we are to go away for a weekend in groups of two or three, and we can bring only 5 items for a group in addition to what we had on our person. No money was allowed. We had to complete a list of tasks in various villages and towns around the campsite. I went with two of my friends.  We hitchhiked, we slept on a train station bench and ate fruit that fell from trees. I had the time of my life. 

When I came home from one of the weekends spent in such a fashion, my friend from school remarked that I somehow seem taller. I felt taller. The world was my oyster.

I don’t feel like myself anymore

And all that time, I was suppressing terrible anxiety and wondering why I’m always more tired than everyone around me. As the years went by, my reserve of strength and willpower ran out, and suddenly, I couldn’t go on adventures anymore. And I stopped feeling like myself.

I have yet to go backpacking in a foreign country. I have yet to go on the pilgrimage to Santiago do Compostella. I have never seen the total eclipse of the sun, never been on another continent, never slept in a desert with a sky full of stars. I have so many dreams that I’m not any closer to fulfilling and I’m so frustrated, so sad because of it.

The autistic side and the ADHD side of me are in a constant battle over the way I should live.

Other people can prefer their autistic side

I know of some people that have it the other way around. They want nothing to do with their ADHD side and feel much more comfortable in the autistic one. One person said to me that he got into so much trouble because of ADHD. He was on the verge of big legal and financial problems when he started being treated for ADHD, and it felt liberating for him. His autistic side is the one that keeps things in order and organized. He likes it a lot.

I’m learning to love and accept autism as a part of myself

When I was speaking about this to my therapist, she suggested that I make a list of the positive qualities my autistic side has. And I found quite a few. For example, she helps me to get enough rest. I would never stop and be still without her. I would burn out so quickly! She can keep my things organized. (Well, mostly.) She grounds me. She is the one that loves reading and immersing herself in imaginary worlds for hours, which is my favorite activity.

Of course, the attributes I assign to my autistic and ADHD side aren’t necessarily directly caused by autism or ADHD. That is just my interpretation of them. My autism and ADHD both live in the same neurodivergent brain and are so intertangled that there is no separating them.

I can’t change who I am – but I can change if I love myself or not

I have come to realize that I’m ALL of this – ADHD, autistic, a woman who wants to live an adventurous life and who fears it at the same time, someone who is a passionate bookworm, who goes for walks daily, who likes writing, and who thinks poodles are the best dogs ever. All of this is me.

I now strive to accept all my sides. After all, I can’t be anyone else than whom I really am. I don’t want to struggle for the rest of my life with things that I find difficult to accept about myself and miss out on how they can enrich my life.

I want to love who I really am.


What about you? If you are AuDHD, do you prefer your autistic side or your ADHD side? Or do you like both of them? Neither? Share it in the comments!

several red and pink hearts hanging together from threads, decorated by daisies

5 Facebook Groups That Are Very Useful for Autistic People

I was diagnosed with autism and ADHD about a year and a half ago. Over that time, during exploring my condition, I found some very useful groups on Facebook. Some of them are my go-to when I need advice, support, or just to vent a bit.

Not every neurodivergent Facebook group I found is friendly – some of those I found are pretty toxic. I unfollowed quite a few. But those five are places where you can explore and interact without fear of judgment and feel safe. 

1. Autism Late Diagnosis/Self-Identification Support and Education

This group is for people who were diagnosed in adulthood and want to explore a new understanding of themselves. You can ask questions here, vent about your troubles and generally hang out with people who understand you. The atmosphere of the group is friendly and welcoming. Because I was diagnosed in my thirties, this is my go-to group for all things autistic

You can join the group here: 

2. Day To Day Tasks Explained Step By Step

I love this group! This is not a group specifically for neurodivergent people, but I believe that many autistic people will find it extremely helpful like I do. You can ask anything that you have always been ashamed to ask because it seems that everyone should just “get it”, and other members will give you step-by-step explanations, without any judgment. You can explore here things like housekeeping, personal hygiene, work, or even navigating social situations. The range of topics is endless.  It’s a fantastic resource for autistic people like me! I’m so grateful to the person who created it. 

You can join the group here: 

3. Neurodivergent Cleaning Crew

This group helps me with everything related to keeping house, cleaning, and organizing my stuff. You can ask for advice, get support and read tips from others. You will find no judgment here, everyone has their own struggles and understands how difficult is to keep your home in a good state. 

You can join the group here: 

4. Neurodivergent Cooking Crew

This is a group that will help you with everything food-related. You can find easy-to-cook recipes, and ask for suggestions for low-spoon meals or for any other type of meal. People often ask here for tips for food that fits their specific limitations, cheap and filling food, or food that can be made from the ingredients they have at hand. You will find here a lot of tips and inspiration for quick, easily prepared, and healthy meals.

You can join the group here:

5. Neurodivergent, But Make It Community

This is a group for people who want to find and explore relationships. You can socialize here with other people like you. You can find advice about finding and being part of a community. You can explore here making friends, ask for advice about social situations, and much more.

There are many thematic groups like this one on Facebook. Search for “Neurodivergent, but make it” and it will show you many other groups on various topics! For example, Neurodivergent, but make it food, Neurodivergent, but make it fashion, Neurodivergent, but make it plants. Neurodivergent, but make it home… Whatever you manage to think of.

You can join the group here: 

I hope these groups help you as much as they helped me!

A drawing of flowers in soft pastel tones, with the words "My Business Idea Garden" written above them in the same shade of green that the flower stems are.

How (Not) To Start a Business When You Have ADHD

Like most people with ADHD, I have no problem coming up with an idea (or a few hundred) for a business. I come up with a new idea every few days. But the problem is how to choose the right one that I want to stick with in the long run – which is definitely not easy for someone with ADHD. 

I want to start an online business. It’s my dream, even if I have a long way to go yet. But I wasnt able to finish anything. I started to work on dozens of ideas, then abandoned them as I realized they aren’t something that I really want to do. Or I just got bored with working on them. It doesn’t help that I’m a perfectionist and I try every product I work on be the maximum possible product, not the minimum viable product. I had to realize this and force myself to change my approach. But it still wasn’t enough.

You need to keep all the ideas in the same place

After a year or so flailing around the internets and attempting to do ten things at once, I’ve finally realized that I need to write all of these ideas down, not on a million little sticky notes that I file away somewhere and never find again. Otherwise, I will 1) forget about them soon, and 2) my mind will be overflowing with new ones, stopping my brain from functioning properly. There goes the last shred of my concentration! 

Later, I realized that I also need to write down (and follow) a process by which I can implement the ideas, step by step. And no, I really can’t skip researching if an idea is viable before I jump into it with enthusiasm. 

Tonight I came back from a friend’s place, where I got my mind off this topic for a few hours and obviously it gave my brain some space to process. Suddenly, it dawned on me. I picked up one page of notes filled with various ideas, and a second page on how to go about implementing the ideas. I put a third, blank page on the top and I simply wrote: 

You don’t have to do things just because they’re possible!

Heureka! ADHD Heureka. It’s kind of obvious to other people, I guess.

How to choose a good idea to work on

I wrote a note to myself:

“Consider every idea: Do I enjoy it? Does it make me happy? Is it meaningful to me?”

I opened Google spreadsheets, and I wrote down a list of my bazillion of ideas for different projects and businesses in the first column named “WHAT”. I named the second column simply: “WHY”.

This was a game-changer for me.

I have eliminated all the things I didn’t have enough reasons to create, which means I would run out of motivation after the initial spurt of excitement. On the other hand, the spreadsheet helped me to clarify what makes the most sense for me and pick one thing to work on

You need to let go of some ideas – to create space for even better ones!

Some of the projects I’ve discarded include:

  • Selling low content – specifically journals – on KDP. My “Why” was “Because it’s trendy right now and it’s easy to do, but I don’t actually use a journal myself and I wouldn’t enjoy creating them very much. Also, I wouldn’t probably make much money because everyone and their dog does it”. (The second thing wouldn’t discourage me if I loved the idea – but creating something for an overcrowded market and not even enjoying the process? Hard pass.
  • A long article about 7 good habits under 15 minutes that can help you be happier.  This was supposed to be a freebie on Gumroad. I wanted to list 7 things that helped me in my daily life, but I quickly became too bored to write about them. Too blinded by all the other shiny new ideas. 
  • AI-generated coloring pages books. It seemed a good idea at first, but I have tried it and the results were underwhelming. It would take too much time to get it to create something that I could use, so it really isn’t as quick a way to make a product as I thought. 

What I chose instead:

For now, I started polishing the idea spreadsheet itself, adding more functions to help sort the ideas, and making it into a product – and I DID finish it! You can find it as the Cultivating Success: Your Business Idea Garden 🌼 (Not Only) For People With ADHD . It’s a mouthful, so you can use “BIG” for short. It’s available on my Gumroad. And it’s completely free to download! I realized that if it helps me, it can also help others. So here you go!

(And, of course, you can use it even if you don’t have ADHD. It can be a useful tool for everyone who has a lot of ideas or a tendency to run towards the Shiny Next Thing at top speed.)

As a second idea, I chose to write this article. And the third idea I will work on might be a short book! The topic is secret for now 😉

Your Business Idea Garden will help you pick the best ideas for you

If you want to use this tool, don’t think too much about what you write in the “Why” box. Write whatever comes to mind first. Your brain usually knows your deepest thoughts you haven’t even formulated yet and is just looking for a way to bring them to the surface.

You want to pick an idea that makes the most sense to you right now. You can put your energy into it and if it doesn’t work out, you can always go back to your neat list of ideas. Keep writing down everything that comes to mind and you’ll have an inexhaustible well of ideas for business over time. 

Then you fill in a few Yes/No answers about the idea and the BIG helps you to automatically sort the ideas from the best to the worst! Important note: Pick just ONE of the best ideas to focus on right now. You have a much better chance of finishing it now when it’s an idea that fits you well!

Final thoughts 

By getting clearer on what is most practical, meaningful, and valuable to me, I hope there is a better chance that I will finally stick with something for more than a few days. I will keep you updated! (That is, if I don’t find a new, better, shinier project to work on… 😉)

Are you an entrepreneur with ADHD? Share your experience in the comments! 

🌼🌻🌼 ➡️ Download the Business Idea Garden here ⬅️ 🌼🌻🌼