How to Self-Care in the Workplace with ADHD

For those with Adult ADHD, there’s some important self-care steps to take to look after yourself at work. Here’s my top tips for mental wellbeing in the workplace.

  •  Start the day off with moderate intensity workout and a high protein breakfast (peanut butter is a great choice) to increase focus and concentration. This is a really important self-care step.
  • Learn to say no and set boundaries with management and coworkers to reduce stress and anxiety – ADDERS are big hearted, and love to be helpful to others and impress the boss. But you need to put self-care at the forefront of your workday. When asked to take on another project or assignment, ask if you can think about it for a bit, or wait until the next day to make a decision. Use the time to carefully look at the entire picture of your current work situation. And then decide if taking on more work is a good fit for you.
  •  After looking at your current work situation, stand back and take a good look at how many personal commitments you currently have going on. Creating a good work-home life balance helps you to be more effective, both in your career, and also have valuable time with your family and friends.
  •  If possible, take a short daily outdoor walk, listen to easy listening music, or briefly socialize with coworkers to take some of the boredom or stress out of the day.
  •  Keep your work area neat and organized to increase time efficiency. This will help reduce anxiety and stress in your work environment.
  • Have no more than four daily tasks to complete on any given day. If you need to add another task, see which task of the original four can be pushed back. If you finish the original four tasks early, start working on other tasks, one by one. Be methodical. Determine which tasks will have the biggest impact in moving you towards your next goal, with the least amount of stress possible.
  • Tasks you find boring may lead you to a state of procrastination. One strategy to combat the boredom is to ‘sandwich’ a boring task in between two interesting tasks. The momentum from doing the task, and the anticipation of the interesting to come, will fuel the momentum to pull you through a mundane one.

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Often procrastination problems affiliated with Adult ADHD, can have its underlying roots in two major causes. One, expecting perfectionism, or, secondly, an uncertainty as to where to begin. Taking small steps to overcoming procrastination problems, can give you a great feeling of accomplishment and, ‘get the ball rolling’ toward completing the task.

Let’s look at this from a practical perspective. For example, if you have several weeks of important papers piling up, causing you to feel overwhelmed, here’s a possible strategy to help get those mounds of papers organized and under control. The end goal being hopefully reducing your feelings of stress about the paperwork.

  • Before doing anything ask yourself – ‘When during the day is my concentration and focus at the highest?’ Pick that time of day to try and work on your paperwork, or whatever other challenging tasks you face.
  • Decide what organizing system would be the easiest for you to work with – File Cabinet or a group of plastic storage totes? Remember, organization is a very customized and personal issue. What works for a coworker, family member or friend, may not necessarily work for you. What can you deal with best?
  • After deciding on the appropriate storage system, acquire the necessary items (cabinet or totes) to get the systemization started.
  • Set yourself a REALISTIC GOAL and timeframe for gathering the paperwork to put in the filing system. Remember, the paper was accumulated over several weeks, so don’t expect it to be under control in a matter of a couple of hours. Sorting the paper work in a slow, steady, consistent and persistent manner, is the goal here.
  • Set up a Personal Motivation System (PMS) that reminds you to keep making on progress toward completing this task. For example, use Post-It notes to post some signs around your home, that you frequently see several times throughout the day. These will remind you to keep on task. The PMS signs could be something like, ‘Keep on Filing’ or, ‘Turn the piles into files!’ This may help you stay focused and help avoid procrastination over the task you’ve set yourself. Posting a sign in your car or assigned area at work , may also help you.
  • Have a trusted friend or family member send you a DAILY TEXT encouraging you to stay focused on the task in hand. This will be a really positive motivator for you.
  • Listening to ‘easy listening’ or classical music may also help you to stay focused. One caution, sometimes music with lyrics can pull the ADDERS attention away from the important task and be distracting. So, chose something instrumental and calming. Background music.

When you have completed this seven-step system, reward yourself, even if you only managed to sort a very small pile of paperwork. Get out and go enjoy a walk or bike ride, movie or other activity away from your home. Taking a time out from the task can also be a real motivator and re-energizer for coming back home and completing the job in hand.

These first steps can be the most challenging, and if you manage to complete only one of them, you have done a very good job. Congratulations YOU!

Questions? Please complete the form below and I will contact you shortly.

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