Doing one thing when you have ADHD

Have you ever heard that before? “Do the one thing”.

Well, today (I am writing this on a Monday) my brain is in TOTAL overdrive. My anxiety is sky high and I don’t feel like I am able to do anything. Every.single.task. seems overwhelming!!

I can trace todays overwhelm to two things:

  1. Going away for the weekend and deciding that I wasn’t going to do any work at all; I didn’t want to be “that” person who can’t even take a weekend off of work!!
  2. Just plain old having too much stuff on my plate and putting a lot of pressure on myself to “do all the things”. Side note: I really dislike doing anything half-ass, it’s honestly not in my vocabulary. When I am doing anything “half-ass” I start to feel overwhelmed and anxious because I am not respecting my values and what I want/need to be doing. Having to do things half-ass is the product of having too much on our plate. (yes, I know this sounds like perfectionism but I’ve talked it out with a few friends and it isn’t; one of my top strengths is appreciation of beauty and excellence. I truly believe in giving everything that I do a fair amount of my energy and time!)

Here’s what I do when I am in a situation of overwhelm:

Decide if I am going to “shut down” or if I have things that are high priority that are important to complete.

  1. Shutting down usually looks like completely turning off my phone; notifications, e-mails, social media, etc. I tend to Netflix binge and essentially shut off my brain. Usually a good nights sleep is all I need to “reset”. I have somewhat trained my friends and family not to expect immediate responses from me. The reason why I do this alone is because I get so stuck in my head and don’t want to talk to anyone. I am so short tempered and grumpy and I don’t like to subject that onto others. Lately I have been toying with the idea of reaching out to someone but I think being with someone in-person is what I would need.
  2. High priority things like sessions with a client or work that really does need to be completed will be able to get me to pause from my overwhelm. I tend to take a step back and take a look at my day. Then I make a deal with myself and rationalize: “Okay, Alyssa… once you are done with your coaching call (the one thing) you can totally shut down”. This almost always works and I am able to keep on keeping on until my call is over. There are times however when I realize that I am just not in a headspace to be able to coach or do the work and I do need to cancel my sessions or call it a day and shut down.

I actually took my own advice from my recent Instagram post and took a step back and told myself “choose one thing that you can do; just pick one thing.”

My takeaway:

I always try and find the lesson or the thing that I can do differently next time! Here are my lessons from the “Monday overwhelm”

  1. Since I am in the process of starting my business it is important to be realistic with myself. I do have a lot of work to do which is completely natural at this stage. From now on I am giving myself the permission to “be that person” and take an hour on Saturdays and an hour on Sundays to do the work that will make it possible to escape the Monday overwhelm.
  2. Setting myself up for Monday before I leave for a weekend vacation. Arriving back home on Sunday at 11pm and starting work at 8am the following morning is not ideal and I did not set myself up for success! Next time I hope to organize myself so that if I do arrive back home at 11pm on the Sunday night, I will be all organized and ready to go on Monday morning!

What do you do to deal with the overwhelm??

Here’s another post about planning “Gain back your control; plan away!

2 thoughts on “Doing one thing when you have ADHD

  1. Hi Alyssa,

    I love this! I had the same “overwhelm” on Friday last week, only it sounds like you handled yours a little better, mine turned to a panic and the lists started compiling in my head, and before I knew it, it was a full blown panic attack. Luckily it was all about the week coming up, not about what I needed to get done that day. I read an article in ADDitude magazine About this feeling, and it suggested that when you feel like you have a lot on your plate (and if you are the type of person who does like the challenge of being busy) to repeat in your head “This is Exciting!” Vs “this is Overwhelming” and so i used that this week to combat my overwhelming moments.
    I too am a shut down person, I call it my cocoon, and when i get home after an overwhelming or overstimulating day i crawl into my cocoon (a weighted blanket and my favorite pillows) and just relax with no phone, no tv, no talking…. then once I can feel the pressure subside, I do some binge watching… then eventually, if I’m up for it, I can get some more work done.

    Thanks for charging, its nice to know that even our ADD coaches have moments too


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