Managing Work-Related Stress for ADHD Adults

Most people are feeling stressed, and this is especially true of many ADHD adults.  The downturn in the economy, climbing employer and client expectations, and an ever growing To-Do list, keep us constantly trying to do more in less time.

More fearful for their jobs than ever, ADHD adults often stay late to do their work.  Arriving home mentally exhausted, you are more likely to suffer from anxiety and of course, long hours and low energy don’t help them create with a more balanced life as a way to cope with the anxiety.

This ADHD-friendly success tips will help you manage your work-related stress:

Create a more balanced life
You must connect with family, friends, your community and nature to counter the effect of work-related stress.  Take up a hobby that allows you to be creative and in the moment, yes, even if you don’t think you have enough time or energy.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised.  Even though I was launching two programs, I signed up for a pottery class recently and my stress level has dropped.

Keep a positive attitude
Worry, frustration and negative thoughts rob you of quality time and happiness.  Notice your thoughts and ask yourself, “Is this productive?”  Will you solve the problem by constantly thinking about it, especially if you’re thinking negatively?  No!  Instead, choose to think differently.

Here’s an example.  The common reaction to someone cutting you off in traffic is to get mad and stay mad all day; again, choose to think differently.  Often we get mad because that person cutting you off in traffic only reminds you other inconsiderate people or people you feel don’t respect you.  Instead of focusing on you, consider the other person’s point of view for a moment.  The person who cut you off probably woke up late and is frantically trying to get to work on time.  If you empathize with the person, thinking, “Poor guy, I know what that’s like”, it changes your attitude about the situation and diffuses negativity before it can ruin your day.

Learn to be more effective at work
Studies show that ADHD adults are less productive than non-ADHDers because the techniques they use to manage their productivity and their time aren’t compatible with their unique brain wiring.  ADHD-friendly strategies to manage your time and life can make you even more productive than your non-ADHD colleagues.

With improved productivity, you won’t need to work later, you’ll do more in less time using less energy and you’ll feel more satisfied and more confident.  You’ll come home at a reasonable hour and with enough energy to enjoy the rest of your life.  Your improved productivity will also reassure you that you’ve done everything possible to keep your job, which in turn will reduce stress.

Stressful situation will always exist, good economy or bad.  You determine your level of stress and anxiety by the way you respond to them.

If you’d like to learn how you can better manage work-related stress, check out The Maximum Productivity Makeover for ADHD Adults. The next session begins on November 3rd.

How to Tell Your Employer You Have ADHD – Part 1

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ADHD,adult ADHD,ADHD in the workplace,attention deficit

This is a question I come across often in my work with people with adult ADHD. When they ask me how they should tell their employer about their ADHD, I usually ask them to identify what benefits they hope to gain by divulging their ADHD.

In a survey I conducted last year, when asked why these participants with adult ADHD felt the need to tell, most mentioned that they needed accommodations or specialized help like coaching and that without that help they struggled at work. Some also felt it was a last resort as they were having so much difficulty at work, they felt they might be fired.

Those who never mentioned their ADHD status stated their main reasons were that there was no need as they were managing well or that it was a private matter and they didn’t feel their employers had any right to know. About half felt shame or were fearful of being negatively impacted. Unfortunately some of those who did mention it were discriminated against.

When problems arise at work, that seem caused by ADHD, require divulging your ADHD consider the following:

  1. Could the specific problem and solution be mentioned without talking about ADHD?
  2. What is the company’s track record around issues like this? Their size? their ability to pay for accommodations?
  3. What do you estimate is your value to your company? What is the employment rate in your industry? Obviously if you are a rare resource with a good track record, you’re less likely to suffer negatively when asking for help.
  4. What is YOUR attitude around your ADHD? Many see it as a mental disorder to hide; others realize that there are some positive and negative to having ADHD. If you are in the first category, you’re more likely to convey this sentiment to your boss.

The point is not to hide your ADHD status in shame; however, there is still a lot of misinformation and judgment around ADHD. You may not have the financial means or want to be a martyr. On the other hand when people around you understand and accept differences in others (no matter what they have) as a positive thing, it can be liberating.

I look forward to the day when you can talk about ADHD and people around actually understand the challenges but also ackowledge that you have strengths.

In my next post I’ll provide an answer to how to tell your employer you have ADHD.

How to Tell Someone They May Have ADHD

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Recently I received an email from a woman who heard me speak at a business conference and who felt that her sister had all the symptoms of ADHD. Given the struggle her sister was dealing with at work, she felt that investigating the possibility of her sister’s ADHD might explain her sister’s difficulty and help her provide a solution. The problem was how do you tell someone you think they have ADHD in a way that she won’t feel attacked.

Here’s what I answered:

Telling someone they have ADHD, which may have very negative connotations, requires love and empathy. Your sister likely already knows that something is going on. She may suffer deeply, thinking that it’s her fault or that there’s something wrong with her. Her self-esteem is likely affected by her inability to manage it.

Remind her that you love her and that you want what’s best for her. Tell her without judgment about the “symptoms” you see her exhibiting and that it must be painful for her to struggle with these. Explain that you’ve heard something that could explain her difficulties. Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) is a difference in brain wiring that requires a differing approach to doing things and that learning specific strategies can not only allow her to minimize or eliminate her struggle but also reap the upside of ADHD.

The important thing is to ensure that it be done with compassion and without judgment and that she know that she doesn’t have to struggle anymore. Most ADHDers are relieved upon hearing that it’s ADHD and that they are not lazy, crazy, or stupid. Once she gets a formal diagnosis, it’s imperative that she gets the help she needs to manage it. ADHD is an explanation but can become an excuse if you don’t do anything to improve your situation.