ADHD, or Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder, affects multiple life dimensions in adults. You might feel it more at work because of due dates or scheduling challenges. Or, you might find work is a piece of cake because you know exactly what is expected and those guidelines/guide rails keep you in check.
If you have ADHD (and if you’re not sure, check out our blog Do I Have ADHD?, maybe you find family demands more challenging. With a family, you may have to juggle daily fast-moving transitions, context shifting conversations, or manage your working memory with constant child interruptions. Whatever your experience, here are some tips to try in common areas of your life to help you feel more successful.
Managing ADHD at Work
Organization: Focus on keeping your workspace organized with color coding, having a place for everything, cleaning up at the end of the day and putting everything back in its place right away if possible. Keep files organized on your desktop, for easy access. Use color coded calendars that are also with you to help stay on top of busy life.
Task Completion: Try chunking. Chunking is a way to help with larger tasks. When you can chunk them into smaller parts the task is not so overwhelming.
Prioritize: Pick one to three tasks you hope to complete in the day. Often, we can become overwhelmed with long to-do lists that keep growing. Take a moment each morning to pick a few items to push yourself to complete. Reward yourself for completing an unpreferred task with a cup of tea outside, or a walk around the block with your dog or whatever feels fulfilling for you.
Deadlines: Let’s face it, working under pressure is what we are best at, but it comes at a cost. The tornado of shame and anger of “why did I wait until the last minute” is often the case. Again, looking at the deadline and chunking it into smaller deadlines can be helpful. Have someone hold you accountable for completing the small deadlines that you have set up.
Supporting ADHD in Relationships
Educate yourself and others: Educate, educate, educate! Find information online that explains the challenges and strengths of living with ADHD to help your loved ones understand what it feels like to live in an ADHD body.
We want to own and accept our parts in the relationship and not have ADHD be a cop out for bad behavior, yet we also want others to understand that it is something we are constantly working on. Whether it be the 1-100 mood swings that can happen when asked to context shift from a task when in a hyper focused state, or being easily emotionally deregulated when a new chore or change in the schedule is suddenly thrown in our paths, we will react.
When loved ones are educated, this can help them understand not to take the reaction personally. We need time to adjust and transition and will come back and communicate when we can.
Communicate: Communicate, communicate, and communicate again.
Coping Skills: Learning coping skills to regulate emotions and understand your window of tolerance can be helpful. Once inside your window of tolerance, go back and communicate with “I Statements” to help rebalance the relationship.
Meeting Your Physical/Health/ Leisure Needs with ADHD
Plan Ahead: If it is not on your calendar, it is most likely not going to happen. If it works to sit down once a month and plan an exercise schedule, do it. If it works to plan for workout schedules every Monday, do that.
It is important to find a routine that works for you, and remember that you will always need to pivot or shift something if after some time you are finding it is not working. Joining a weekly yoga class or scheduling one day a week at the gym with a friend is a great idea for accountability too.
Schedule It: Finding time for leisure activities with friends or family also needs to be scheduled (most times). Agh! I hear you. I try that spur of the moment call to friends, saying, “hey, wanna go to the hot springs today” and time after time the reply is “I already have plans.”
Scheduling time to play is not fun…I get it. We will all have a few friends that can roll with our impulsivity, but for the most part, it’s not going to happen without that dreaded plan. Try to just plan one day a month with a friend if that is all you feel you can “commit” to. I also understand the thinking “what if the day comes and I don’t want to hang out?” Well…suck it up buttercup. Do you want to hang out with your neuro typical friends and family or not!
Here are a few tips to help in several main areas of an ADHD life. Remember to be kind and compassionate with yourself. Change is difficult and is not linear for us. Pivoting, shifting, and starting from starch are all beautiful pieces of the puzzle to feel confident in your life. Having grace with yourself and kind, balancing thought create an internal environment for the possibility of change.
How We Can Help
If you are looking for even more tips on managing ADHD in your life OR are seeking out a supportive group of others just like you, check out our ADHD Support Group
A support group for adults with ADHD to find balance, support, and learn useful skills.
If you are looking for general support, or if you would like to talk to someone more about how we can help you, follow these simple steps:
Contact us today for a free 20-minute phone consultation
Begin your journey towards a calmer, more relaxed life
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Here at Catalyss Counseling, we want to meet all of your counseling needs in the Denver area. Our supportive therapists provide depression counseling, therapy for caregiver stress, grief and loss therapy, stress management counseling and more. We also have specialists in trauma and PTSD, women's issues, pregnancy and postpartum depression or anxiety, pregnancy loss and miscarriage, and birth trauma. For therapists, we can also provide clinical supervision! We look forward to connecting with you to help support your journey today.
Kristen Dammer believes in addressing the whole health needs of you as a person, and her dedication, creativity, and flexibility as a therapist are her greatest strengths. Her holistic approach to anxiety, grief and trauma helps you feel in control and creates a welcoming environment for you to share your vulnerabilities, fears, and experiences. She is trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and uses it to treat anxiety and trauma. Follow Catalyss Counseling on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.