ADHD & PMS can act like twins.
Lack of focus, especially during the luteal phase (before your period), can feel really frustrating for women who are making their best efforts to work on their goals, but are feeling distracted. This can impact your work, mood, self-esteem, stress levels, and stop you from feeling like you're even allowed to fully relax at the end of the day.
These symptoms can occur because our serotonin and dopamine levels change throughout the cycle. These two neurotransmitters are both implicated in ADHD, anxiety, and depression, but they're also big contributors of PMS & mood swings.
Estrogen stimulates serotonin and dopamine receptors, increasing the levels of these “happy hormones.”
When estrogen is low, these levels drop.
If you've been trying to push yourself through this lack of focus, but feel like you're not making the progress you really want, here are 3 proven strategies for boosting your focus:
Synch Your Schedule
By tracking your cycle and practicing cycle synching, you can plan your schedule and activities in advance so that they fall during a time when you’re best equipped to handle them. That’s what makes mastering your cycle so powerful! Instead of being reactive, you can take a proactive approach to completing your to do list and reaching your goals.
Launching new projects and doing collaborative work usually feels best during the follicular and ovulation phase. During the luteal and menstrual phase, women prefer to spend more time on less tasks so that they can get into deep work, such as organizing, editing, or revising.
As you get your cycle synching plan down and find what tools work best for you, progesterone (the main hormone during the luteal phase) will help you feel calm and grounded, which allows you to feel more mindful and less discouraged.
Support Your Gut Health
Most of your serotonin is made in your gut! There is an incredible gut-brain axis that influences our mood, energy, and immune system. The healthier the microbiome, the better you feel and are able to cope with illness, mental stress, and more. Also, the more you're able to relax, the better you can digest and have a healthy gut response. If you have inattentiveness, low mood, brain fog, or lack of energy, the gut-brain axis is playing a role!
Increasing your fiber intake and eating a wide variety of plant-based foods feeds your microbiome-- in fact, the people with the healthiest guts eat 30 different plants each week, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, herbs, nuts, and seeds! I started this process by using cycle synching and keeping it really simple:
I add seeds, such as hemp, flax, pumpkin, sunflower, and chia to my smoothies, salads, and soups. One of my favorite products, Blender Bombs, makes this very easy and convenient! I partner with Blender Bombs because of their high quality product, mission, and how they've helped improved my gut health, blood sugar levels, and PMS. (If you want to try them out, use the code AUDREY10 for 10% off!)
During the follicular and ovulation phase, my clients usually begin eating fermented foods, which contain healthy bacteria to repopulate the gut. You can also focus on eating your favorite fresh produce, since you’ll probably feel like eating very light foods, as well as protein to support your liver.
During the luteal and menstrual phases, eating tryptophan can be extremely beneficial! Tryptophan is an amino acid that is the precursor for serotonin. This has been game-changing for me and I incorporate it very intentionally into my diet! Some of the best sources include chickpeas, sweet potato, chocolate, chia seeds, bananas, turkey, and eggs. You’ll love these good mood foods!
Physical exercise can help balance cortisol and increase dopamine and endorphins.
Studies also suggest that the brains of people with ADHD have low lactate production in their brain. The main contributor of lactate is a type of cell in the brain called an astrocyte, but skeletal muscles can also contribute to lactic acid production.
Lactic acid is produced by muscles after physical activity, so working out can also help feed the brain and treat ADHD! In fact, the reason children with ADHD are often "hyperactive" is because their bodies are asking for movement so they can create the lactic acid they need. Whether it’s a 15 minute HIIT workout, taking a power walk outside, or lifting weights, you can take a break in an intentional, productive way and increase your focus at the same time.
By using these strategies consistently, many women are able to make incredible progress towards their goals without the monthly frustration of feeling unfocused. However, if you've been DIY-ing and are ready for additional support, my coaching programs are available for you!
Within 6-12 weeks, the women I work with are able to make amazing progress on not only balancing their hormones and getting rid of PMS, but turning their hormonal health intro a strength!
If you’d like the opportunity to work together, the Master Your Mood Group Program is open for enrollment from March 14, 2021- April 5, 2021. Now through March 21st, you can take $111 off tuition with the code LAUNCH. I also have limited availability for 6 and 12-week 1:1 coaching! Book your Discovery Call to see if we’re the right fit and apply!