Updates: anxiety happy box and ADHD reward system
I while back I wrote a post about a “happy box” I created (here). I also wrote a post (here) about my ADHD and the reward system I started to implement to help me accomplish tasks without being medicated.
In both posts I promised an update on how they went. Today I want to fulfill that promise.
I love my happy box, but to be honest the thing I use the most is the “moon” or “kinetic” sand I added to it after my initial post. That sand basically never goes back in the box. Because I use it ALL THE TIME. My husband and son both use it too. We just keep it an a large zip loc bag.
I also tend to turn to my coloring books when I feel an anxiety attack coming on, which are too big for my box and therefore are not stored inside it.
The biggest use I’ve noticed that comes from my box is when I’m feeling depressed -when I haven’t caught the anxiety soon enough and it spirals me down into a depressed mood. At this point, I don’t have the motivation to color or even play with moon sand. BUT I can open my box, mindlessly rub lotion and essential oils on my skin, look at the pictures in my Peanuts book (and if I can work up to it even read the comics), read my affirmation slips, maybe eventually get around to painting my nails, or put on that crazy colored lipstick I keep in there…
So the happy box is great for those times when I really don’t want to think about what I can do to help my mood. When I’m just down in that pit and don’t know where to turn to get out. When I’m having an anxiety or panic attack, I reach for the coping mechanism that’s closest to me: my moon sand, a coloring book, my fidget cube, or the shower.
So I would highly recommend a happy box if your mood ever reaches that point when you really just can’t function well enough to think about/find something to help. But just remember to recognize the things you need quick and handy and leave them in a central part of your living space so they’re easily accessible.
Things I will add to my happy box:
-meaningful notes or letters from loved ones
-face mask (I’d even recommend this for men)
-lyrics to an inspiring song
-a small journal/notebook that you’re willing to rip pages out of (for venting)
-a small journal/notebook to keep for doodling, musings, gratitude lists, etc
I have yet to make my own slime, but I have a borax free recipe I’ve been meaning to use (borax free=toddler friendly.)
ADHD reward system
I don’t want to explain my whole reward system again, so see my earlier post linked at the beginning of this one if you are interested.
I am pleased to say this system works for me. My chore chart is on hold for now, because my OB has officially limited my activity… BUT it worked well up until now. Now my chore planning consists of picking two top priority chores a day and planning to do only ONE of them, then doing the second only if I haven’t had a lot of painful contractions. All those other chores? Either delegated or deemed non essential.
So basically this week I’ve done laundry and cleaned up after my toddler –and very little else.
However my reward system is still holding strong, despite the changes in my chore habits.
I’ve gone through many “bowls of fish” (the little wooden fish I use as tokens) and let me tell you, it is satisfying to put a fish in a bowl!
Because I only get to put in a fish when I COMPLETE a task, I stick to a job all the way through much more often now, instead of jumping from thing to thing and not really finishing anything. I feel much more accomplished at the end of the day and overall I think I’m getting more done.
Being pregnant has also added some extra things to the fish rewards. For example, finishing a water bottle can earn me a fish, as can making a meal (since cooking often gets me nauseas, my husband said I get a fish for doing it!) I also put in a couple fish for things like grocery shopping, which feels like running a 5k.
Quick reminder that if I fill my fish bowl up five times I get a $5 reward. This has been perfect, because it takes me a few weeks to get to five, so it’s economical, but it’s also a short enough time that I stay motivated. It’s not the $$$ that’s motivating so much as finding something fun I want and working up to it. For example, if I really want to try that new drugstore concealer all the YouTube beauty gurus are talking about, each time I fill my fish bowl I’m one step closer to being able to get it –even if I don’t need it, and that makes it fun. It’s like playing those games at the arcade that give you tickets. And every ticket you get is one ticket closer to the prize you’ve got your eye on.
I know it seems childish. And honestly it kinda is. But for someone with ADHD, it works. And that’s what matters.
I hope this post was helpful for anyone considering a happy box or looking for methods to motivate themselves. I know these kinds of posts don’t have the same impact as my more vulnerable posts, but sometimes a girl needs a break from the heavy stuff!