10 Tips to Help You Cope with ADHD
If you have been diagnosed with ADHD, it may feel overwhelming to understand your diagnosis and what can be done to manage your symptoms. Many people are under the impression that the best of only treatment for ADHD is stimulant medication.
However, there are many lifestyle and behavioral changes that can be made to help you cope with ADHD.
ADHD symptoms differ from person to person and what works for one individual may not work for you.
Below are some helpful guidelines and ideas to try as you learn the best way to manage your ADHD and cope with your symptoms.
- Use a white noise machine to drown out extraneous and distracting noises in your environment while you are working. If you work in a shared office where the use of a white noise machine would not be allowed, find an app that plays white noise and listen to it on noise canceling headphones.
- Make use of a calendar. Write everything down including appointments, reminders, and tasks that need to be completed. Writing things down not only provides a reference to go back to when making plans, but the actual act of writing something down further ingrains it in your memory, meaning it is less likely to be overlooked or forgotten later. Review your calendar at the beginning of each week to get a sense of what you have coming up and budget your time accordingly. Then, each morning get into the habit of looking at your calendar for that day to remind yourself of the events that need to be attended and the tasks that need to be completed. Set aside a specific time to do this, whether it is before you lift your head from your pillow in the morning, as your drinking your morning cup of coffee, or when you first sit down at your desk to work. At the end of the week, review your calendar again and move any uncompleted tasks to the top of the next week’s to-do list. Extra tip – if there is an upcoming event or task to complete that you are worried you will forget, set an alarm for it in addition to adding it to your calendar.
- Develop structure in your life. Wake up at the same time every morning and try to go to bed at the same time every night. Add routines and rhythms to your days and weeks, which will create structure and a sense of order amidst what may feel like chaos. One of your routines should be using your calendar daily and reviewing it weekly.
- Budget your time. Once you have filled in your calendar, made your to-do list, and added structure to your schedule, budget how much time you will allot for each activity. For each item on your to-do list, give yourself more time than you think you will need. Also, be sure to build in time for breaks.
- Block off chunks of time. Set aside specific time to answer calls, texts, and emails rather than opening and responding to them as they come in. Let them accumulate as they come in and set aside chunks of time to address them all at once.
- Declutter. Remove anything that is unnecessary from your living space and your desk. This will minimize distractions when you are working or attending to other tasks and relationships.
- Minimize distractions and avoid multitasking. When you are working, turn off the TV and radio and put your phone out of sight. Attempting to attend to two things at once can derail your productivity and prevent you from completing tasks.
- Use technology to your advantage. There are many apps and programs out there that you can use to organize things like finances, appointments, and health. Many people with ADHD find that they act impulsively, which can cause difficulty with focus and follow through. To combat this, make use of things like online banking, setting alarms on your phone to complete important tasks, and tracking nutrition and exercise. Using these apps and program can help to curb impulsive behaviors associated with ADHD.
- Share your diagnosis with your partner or a trusted loved one. You may have a wide range of feelings about having ADHD, making it difficult to talk about; but sharing your diagnosis with someone you are close to can be extremely beneficial. Letting a loved one in on your experience can help them better understand and support you, and it may lead them to be more patient with the messiness or forgetfulness that are a product of your ADHD.
- Talk with a therapist who can help you process your feelings about your diagnosis and symptoms. ADHD affects each individual differently, so coming up with coping strategies is something that should be done in collaboration with a trained mental health professional.