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Practical Tips To Support Someone With ADHD At Home And Work

Written by: Lucie Petrelis, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Lucie Petrelis

Living with undiagnosed and diagnosed ADHD can be overwhelming, as individuals face numerous challenges without always understanding the root cause and how to handle them. ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a neurodevelopmental condition that profoundly impacts the cognitive and emotional processes of the concerned individuals. ADHD presents a spectrum of challenges involving attention regulation, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, which show up in various ways, leading to notable disruptions in daily functioning. It is crucial to foster a compassionate understanding of ADHD, recognizing the intricate interplay between the brain and emotions. Providing a supportive environment, individuals with ADHD can navigate their unique challenges, unlocking their full potential. In this article, we will explore some examples of how ADHD can appear at home and in the workplace and provide supportive recommendations that embrace empathy, understanding, and practical solutions.

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It is essential to mention that not two individuals with ADHD are alike and have the same experience and needs.

Additionally, individuals with ADHD have countless powerful strengths, and this article consciously focuses only on some challenges and how someone can actively help them cope better in everyday life.

1. Chronic disorganization, forgetfulness and time blindness

Individuals with ADHD often struggle with maintaining an organized environment and have difficulty keeping track of their belongings, appointments, or deadlines. Due to their impaired memory, they often misplace essential items and forget information, instructions, tasks or commitments. Additionally, they experience a misleading sense of time – known as time blindness – which impacts their perception of time.

  • Home: Frustration arises from constantly misplacing items, forgetting to pay bills, being late to commitments, or struggling to complete daily tasks. This can create stress and hinder a smoothly running household.

  • Work: Struggling to keep a tidy workspace, frantically searching for essential files, missing deadlines, and forgetting meetings and instructions can impact collaborations and productivity, creating tension and pressure.

Recommendation: Creating a supportive environment is essential. Assist individuals with ADHD in establishing systems for organization, such as attributing designated places for physical items and digital folders, and implementing multiple visual and audio reminders.

2. Difficulty concentrating and staying focused

Individuals with ADHD often find it challenging to concentrate and stay focused for the expected amount of time, preventing their ability to complete tasks efficiently. They may get easily distracted by external (noise, other people, notifications) or internal (thoughts, emotions) stimuli, leading to incomplete projects, unfinished tasks, and a sense of underachievement.

  • Home: Struggling to follow conversations, losing interest in activities, or having difficulty focusing on and completing tasks at home can impact inner balance, personal relationships, and daily commitments.

  • Work: Zoning out during meetings or presentations and missing important input, having difficulty following instructions (especially oral instructions), or struggling to stay engaged in repetitive low-interest tasks can affect their sense of purpose, performance, collaborations, and career growth.

Recommendation: Minimizing distractions and creating a quiet workspace can help individuals with ADHD harness their focus, avoiding open space environments. Minimize the lengths of meetings and exchange on important points and next steps. Breaking tasks into smaller, manageable segments can make them feel less overwhelmed. Encouragement, positive reinforcement, clear written instructions, and priority clarifications are powerful tools for fostering concentration and productivity.

3. Chronic procrastination

Chronic procrastination is a common challenge faced by individuals with ADHD. They may struggle to prioritize, start or finish tasks. This feeling often presents as being stuck or paralyzed, being unable to get into action – especially with the less preferred tasks or with tasks that require mental thinking or decision making – can lead to increased stress, decreased productivity, a sense of being overwhelmed, and a low sense of accomplishment and self-esteem.

  • Home: Stress and frustration arise from leaving tasks until the last minute, procrastinating on important personal projects, or struggling to prioritize and take action on household responsibilities. This can create tension and affect overall well-being.

  • Work: Late assignments, avoiding important tasks or projects, and feeling overwhelmed by multiple work responsibilities can impact productivity, professional reputation, and career advancement.

Recommendation: Helping individuals have clarity on tasks and instructions, establish routines, set deadlines, break tasks into manageable steps with small wins, and offer support and accountability can help break the cycle of procrastination.

4. Impulsivity and restlessness

Impulsivity and restlessness are common challenges for individuals with ADHD. Due to excitement, they may act impulsively without always considering the consequences. They could also feel a continuous restlessness that prevents them from settling into quiet activities. This restlessness can manifest physically as fidgeting, tapping, excessive movement, mentally with continual over-thinking, and emotionally with excessive worrying and questioning.

  • Home: Making impulsive decisions without considering the long-term consequences or feeling restless and unable to relax can lead to difficulties in interpersonal relationships and self-care.

  • Work: Interrupting colleagues, reacting impulsively to messages, or feeling restless and unable to sit still during long meetings can hinder collaboration, communication, and productivity.

Recommendation: Fostering a supportive environment both at home and at work that promotes awareness and acceptance is crucial. Encouraging individuals with ADHD to practice coping strategies, such as conscious breathing exercises, engaging in physical activities to keep them in action, and using fidget toys for stimming, can help manage restlessness. Keeping some quick notes not to forget thoughts during a conversation will minimize impulsive interruptions. Open communication and understanding will transform the perception of impulsivity and increase team spirit.

5. Emotional instability and impaired self-regulation

ADHD can significantly impact emotional regulation. Individuals may experience challenging emotions and states of mind such as frequent mood swings, fear of missing out (F.O.M.O.), panic and anxiety, a sense of not belonging and being safe, getting upset after feedback, impostor syndrome, low sense of worth, self-blame, and experiencing intense reactions internally and externally. Emotional instability can strain individuals and relationships and create additional challenges in personal and professional interactions.

  • Home: Individuals with ADHD experience an emotional rollercoaster with frequent mood swings that can affect relationships with family members and difficulties in managing sadness, unfairness, or frustration. This can create tension and affect overall family dynamics.

  • Work: Emotional reactions to feedback, difficulties in coping with stress and overload, and struggling maintaining a professional composure can impact teamwork, professional relationships, job performance, and career growth.

Recommendation: Practicing active listening, creating a safe space for emotional expression and conversations, encouraging healthy coping mechanisms, and fostering a compassionate environment at home and at work are vital. By validating challenges and acknowledging emotions, we promote personal and professional growth allowing each other to be our authentic selves in all environments, minimizing emotional and struggle suppression, and normalizing active listening and interpersonal support.

In conclusion, it is crucial to approach individuals with undiagnosed and diagnosed ADHD with empathy, understanding, and a supportive mindset. ADHD challenges are real and very often misunderstood, ending up harming, even more, the individuals that are already struggling. By recognizing the indications of ADHD and providing the necessary strategies, we can help them navigate the challenges they face at home and in the workplace. Let us create an environment that offers an understanding of their struggles and encourages their growth. Together, we can provide the love, patience, and guidance needed for all individuals to overcome obstacles, discover their potential, and thrive in every aspect of their lives.

Do you need support to overcome your challenges and benefit the most from your ADHD at home and at work? Reach out to me today, and together, we will embark on a path of empowerment, growth, and true self-discovery.

You might also want to read:

Useful resources for ADHD

  1. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): The NIMH is a renowned organization that conducts research on various mental health conditions, including ADHD.

  2. Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA): ADDA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing support, resources, and advocacy for individuals with ADHD.

  3. Understood: Understood is a comprehensive online resource that aims to support families and individuals with learning and attention issues, including ADHD.

  4. CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder): CHADD is a national nonprofit organization that provides education, advocacy, and support for individuals with ADHD.

  5. ADDitude Magazine: ADDitude is a trusted publication that focuses on ADHD and related conditions.

I focus on raising awareness on MS – Multiple Sclerosis, ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, sexuality and gender identity topics, and on how to redesign our reality in a way that makes sense to us and brings us joy every single day.

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Lucie Petrelis Brainz Magazine

Lucie Petrelis, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Lucie Petrelis is a certified life coach supporting individuals with ADHD and MS to redesign their life in a way that makes sense to them, and that is based on their needs. At 22, she temporarily lost her ability to walk and was suddenly diagnosed with MS, forcing her to rethink her life’s perspective and priorities. Twenty years later, her diagnosis of ADHD gave her the gift of finally understanding the root of so many of her challenges. Using the power of her stamina, positivity, and proven methodologies, she inspires and drives others to take their life into their own hands, re-structure it, re-prioritize it, add a lot of joy in it, and above all be proud of who they are. Her motto: Your challenges are valid.



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