After being diagnosed with ADHD, educating yourself with the knowledge about ADHD and gaining the support of your family and friends is crucial. Developing manageable solutions to your specific problems will help you through your challenges. While most people who are diagnosed with ADHD as adults have had issues with underachievement and low self-esteem throughout their life, diagnosis of the problem is the first step to finding a solution. Although a diagnosis of ADHD comes with its own list of symptoms, determining which symptoms you can use to your own advantage and which symptoms you need to learn to control will be your greatest accomplishment. Because most people who have ADHD are quite intelligent, its just learning how to use your creativity, passion and energy to encourage yourself to live a happier, healthier life.
Coping with ADHD can be difficult. However by learning ways to manage your symptoms you can become productive and get your symptoms under control. For adults who were never diagnosed when they were children, they have already learned to cope and compensate for some of their ADHD symptoms. However, adult life involves more stress, organization and responsibility, which may have been the reason for your diagnosis. Before using traditional medicine, prescriptions, and psychology, self-help can be the first step at understanding and managing your disorder. Self-help involves a regular pattern or routine to manage your time, relationships and work environments. For adults who have managed their symptoms since they were a youth, this may be less difficult. However, others may need additional support from family, friends and therapists. Here is how you can start to help yourself by managing your everyday life.
Exercise- Exercise regularly. By exercising you are not only keeping your body healthy you are keeping your mind healthy. It works off excess energy and aggression, two things that are more prevalent in people with ADHD. By doing something constructive you sooth the mind and calm the nerves.
Eat Right-Deficiencies, indigestion and lack of nutrition are three ways that can worsen the symptoms of ADHD. By eating a healthy diet full of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables you not only get your essential nutrition, you keep your vitamins and minerals balanced while including antioxidants, antibacterial, antiviral and anti inflammatory foods.
Sleep- Fatigue of the body and the brain make it harder for you to focus and concentrate. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep at night will properly allow your body and brain rest to be able to handle stress, tasks, work and exercise.
Time Management- Write down everything that is important, that you need to remember, or that you need to do. Notes, calendars, schedules and post its act as daily reminders of what you need to do and what needs to get done. Give yourself deadlines to keep yourself on task. Alarms and timers determine how much time you will allot to specific tasks. Once they go off you know its time to move on. Avoid working for several hours on end. Take regular breaks to keep your mind focused and alert. Avoid procrastinating by doing things immediately. Don’t let things pile up. Prioritize time sensitive items.
Work on Relationships- Make time for your friends, family and partners. Schedule time to visit, meet or go out and make sure you show up. Make conversation count. Be attentive to others when they speak and be sure of what you will say before you respond.
Work Environment- Use whatever tools necessary to stay on top of your work. Make lists, color code, set reminders, use day planners, notes to self, files and schedules will all keep your work life together. Get support from your work environment. If you work in a group choose someone less creative and more organized to counteract your creativity and keep you on task. Try to choose work that is interesting and motivates you to work.
Sarah Labdar, “Before Medication, First Try ADHD Self Help”, Everyday Health