Achieving Balance with an ADHD brain

It’s been awhile since I have written. In fact it has been awhile since I have done anything significant on a creative level. It’s been a very different summer than in 2020. For one, I had a lot more free time to enjoy and explore my creative outlets. I also slept less and woke practically every morning to watch the sunrise. This summer, my sleep has seemed to have fallen in a more “normal” pattern. Last year I joined Tik Tok and met some amazing people online and embraced a community of positive folks, as well as all kinds of artists. I even made videos that were fun and also videos that I shared diferent thoughts. I enjoyed interacting with so many people and even gained some friendships along the way.

This past Spring, I experienced some life events which made a big impact with practically everything I had done and felt before. My client I worked for as a caregiver for four years died and then a mere four days later, my uncle, whom I was close to, also passed away from complications due to Covid.

A month later, I took on a new job with more hours and a completely different environment. Luckily, I enjoy what I do. With that, my leisurely life sort of came to a halt this summer; a time when I should have been enjoying time taking day trips with the family or hang out with friends. Instead, I jumped into the “real” work world and am learning to adjust.

I attribute my new schedule the reason I stopped being creative. I barely draw, paint or even take photographs like I used to. I miss it but I am also somewhat drained at the end of the day. I need to find a new balance in order to go back to finding time and enjoying the things that made me feel good. Not only has the creative side of me taken a back burner, but so has my health and wellness journey, which also sort of stopped being a main focus since Spring.

With summer coming to an end and my kids going back to school, the reality of that hasn’t quite hit me. It means I won’t see my kids when I get home from work because they will be involved in after school activities. By the time they get home, they’ll be busy with homework and studying and finding their own balance from their carefree summer.

Balance. Such a simple word. Yet, it is very challenging for so many people. Balancing our schedules so as to not leave things out, yet not be overwhelmed either. Balancing the work/life thing is important. When one part of our life takes over and the other part dissipates, it causes a tip on the scales that to some, can bring on a lot of anxiety and stress. Thinking of all of this makes my ADHD brain spin.

Time management and planning will be key even more than ever. I get nervous wondering if I can do it. Time management and being organized are not my strong suits. As much as I strive to be an organized individual, I usually come up short bc it becomes extremely overwhelming and frustrating. I realize I need to take things slower and more methodically so as to not panic and stress out.

Up until recently have I really understood how my brain works. I didn’t realize, for instance that I can’t think on the fly. I have to talk out loud to get my thoughts out. Sometimes it may not make sense, but it’s my way of brainstorming and organizing the thoughts. Another thing is that it takes me a few seconds to actually understand when someone is asking me a question. I need the time to process it. Since there is somewhat of a delay, people may get impatient with me or wonder why I don’t respond immediately.

The most frustrating aspect of my condition is that I have numerous thoughts swirling in my head and most are important, but I have difficulty putting them in order to make sense so I can tackle my ongoing “list”. And because of that, I get extremely overwhelmed and emotional that it literally drains me on a physical level, too. I suppose that is why I have a history of avoiding things.

Tasks that seem so simple to others are exponentially more difficult for a person who lives with ADHD. Add mental health issues into the mix, like anxiety and depression, certainly does not help. I have to be very intenional in everything I do now because there is a lot more happening in my life that I never had to concern myself with as much as when I was younger.

I have also noticed more that I do not want to know every detail of something. Bullet points, highlights, etc. are more effective for me. For example, my husband is extremely detail oriented and a big planner/forward thinker. When there is a project in the home that has to be done and he wants to share it with me or ask for my opinions, he will give me so much info that I tune it out or I will get very upset because I just want to make a decision and not go over every detailed scenario. Once I make my mind up, I go with it and try not to look back because it already took effort for me to come up with my decision.

I have heard and read about things people with ADHD can do to minimize the anxiety and accomplish what needs to be done while still enjoying things that bring joy. That is my ultimate goal. To go back to being creative more often. It not only is fun, but it is therapeutic.

Below is a list of 7 ideas/strategies I have found most helpful for me to incorporate into my life. I hope this list can help you if you’re overwhelmed, overworked, stressed, anxious or just lost. You don’t necessarily need to have ADHD to incorporate these into your life, either.

1. MAKE A LIST. I have had a strange aversion to lists most of my life. I really can’t tell you why. However, I realize I need to make lists and write things down, especially because I am more forgetful as I’ve gotten older. I won’t say I am a master list maker (or follower), but I am working on it!

2. PLAN AHEAD. Don’t wait for the last minute . Boy is this how I have lived most of my life. Perhaps in my youth it worked out ok. As I have gotten older and now have a family, doing things last minute just causes so much stress that I try very hard to do things more in advance.

3. PREPARE FOR THE WEEK. Again, this goes in the same lines as planning ahead. This one is more about meal planning. I have always been one to fly by the seat of my pants kind of person and find many times I never know what we’re having for dinner. Forget about packing lunches or even making breakfast! It’s just not good for any of us. We have been ordering out more or just not eating decent meals. And if I have to fight tooth and nail to prep the meals for the week on Sundays, I really believe I will be happier by the end of the week.

4. GET ENOUGH SLEEP. Over the last year, my sleep has been sporadic. Insomnia is not healthy and can cause havoc on your body, mind, and emotional well being. We need our sleep!

5. SCHEDULE TIME FOR FUN. Sounds silly, right? Remember what I said earlier? My schedule has changed to the point where everything I enjoyed before has taken a back burner to work and tasks that need to get done. We need to make it a point to have a little fun. If you have to block out time on your calendar and treat it as an appointment, then more than likely you will do it. And try not to talk yourself out of it either!!!

6. BE INTENTIONAL. None of this will work unless we set our minds to doing it. Say it out loud. Write it down. Post stickies on your mirror. Whatever it takes to remind yourself that these things are important for your well-being, the more you will stick to it.

7. FIND YOUR SUPPORT CIRCLE. I cannot ephasize how important this is for true success. We all need that support, love and understanding. If those around us don’t get it, then tell them how you feel and explain just like I did here how your operate and what is important to you and what you need from them.

I’d love to hear your observations or suggestions on how you achieve balance and/or how you are living with ADHD. Leave your comments below. I am sure there are other things I forgot.

“My wish is that I can achieve balance without frustration and those around me have the patience to understand me.” – Elisa Uhrynowski

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3 thoughts on “Achieving Balance with an ADHD brain

  1. Terrific article, Elisa!
    It sounds like you have absorbed many changes that would affect many of us on a good day! Big breath, here! Whew!
    You know who you are and what you need. Kudos!
    I am reminded of the Serenity Prayer.
    Keep it close to you.

    Liked by 2 people

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