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Surviving lockdown with ADHD

Updated: Apr 8, 2020

We're excited to be sending you fortnightly updates, topical tips and advice on how to live your best life with ADHD. It seems apt that we’ve begun this is at such an unprecedented time in our nation's history. It really does feel like a scenario lifted from the pages of an apocalyptic sci-fi novel... Something that no human can currently ignore, the ‘virus that must not be named’, whether you've been watching the news hourly or dipping in and out, the health and wider economic impact is certainly prevalent and potentially overwhelming.

I’m guessing if you’re like me, you’ll have formulated some kind of reactionary plan in order to regain control and readjust to the difficulties that lie ahead. My family and I have been on self-imposed lockdown for well over a week now, even Byron (my golden cocker spaniel aka "my furry son") is on board. Thankfully we have a decent sized back garden and a ball to keep him occupied (as well as three little girls bursting with energy!). My coaching sessions of late, have unsurprisingly all been about Covid-19. My ADHDers have wanted to be coached around the same goals - how to stay sane, keep spirits up and (never wanting to miss an opportunity) how to use this unique situation to pursue and achieve something that they have always wanted... Depending on whether you're social distancing alone, as a couple or entire family; there is a distinct danger of falling at the first hurdle. As we know, ADHD runs in families and can be triggered under intense social/lockdown situations! So for now, let's just focus on staying goal driven, positive and as harmonious as possible, especially given everyone's delicate sense of balance. To this end, here are some ‘tried and tested’ practical tips on how to keep your cool with ADHD and maximise the positives whilst 'doing your bit' by staying indoors. Keep in mind this is the beginning of our journey together, so we’ll keep you updated as to how it’s going. (It's important to note here, that all my family have ADHD so everything we do is with you in mind and comes from personal experience!)

1. Self Care

Its very easy to slide into our PJ’s and while away the days but rot will soon set in. I overheard someone in the supermarket queue say ‘but darling we don’t need washing powder, I’m not planning on getting dressed!’ This is the exact opposite of what an ADHDer needs to survive, so get up, make your bed, wash and get dressed. It will be the motivation you need to keep focused and positive. Remember - our environment really affects our mental state and given we are now officially in lockdown there is no greater incentive to keep the house in order (or at least in some semblance of...)

2. Healthy body, healthy mind

Physical exercise, sweat, meditation, yoga, pilates, dance, HIIT, hoola hoop! Try and do what you normally do (unless you're a professional athlete of course), but at home, with the aid of technology or not. Even though we are in lockdown, we can still go outside to exercise (once a day!) and buy food. An early morning walk amongst the trees is a great way to set intentions for the day. Marvel at nature, enjoy the calling in of spring and recognise that even in these dark times, we are constantly moving forward. Eat well! Lots of colours and fresh fruits and vegetables, three balanced meals with healthy snacks in between.

3. Take ownership of the day, routine is your friend

Make realistic goals and plans for the day, keeping in mind you’re at home and there is the potential to get side tracked, particularly if you have the kids at home. Keep things simple. Whether you are working, off work/university or keeping little ones occupied, have a timetable and try to roughly adhere to it. This includes getting up, eating breakfast, lunch and dinner at around the same time. This is particularly important if you have kids. Giving yourself nice evening wind down activities to look forward to, as well as differentiating your weekdays from your weekends.

4. Stay positive

It is important to stay positive in the face of this pandemic. Where focus goes, energy flows... Us ADHDers tend to catastrophise (and for a change we are actually justified in doing so), however, this won't help anyone, particularly ourselves. Instead of hyperfocusing on the latest social media feeds and statistics on Covid-19, turn that hyperfocus towards what you can do for yourself and for others during this time. Perhaps partake in the Good Sam campaign designed take pressure off the NHS. Recognise that whilst it is important to stay informed about the situation, obsessing over what we cannot control will not get us anywhere, apart from rumination. Ditch your social media morning routine and replace it with a daily gratitude and meditation practice. Start the day with your head in the right space. Grab yourself a copy of the 6 Minute Diary and download a Meditation app, perhaps Calm or Headspace (there are also lots of free options out there too) and just breathe...

5. Support Network - Introducing the ADHD Unlocked Community

Just because you have to self-isolate doesn't mean you have to be alone. We ADHDers crave connection and community... more than most, actually. Whilst ADHD Facebook groups are a great way to connect with other ADHDers, share experiences and assure ourselves that we are not alone in our ADHD challenges, they can sometimes be a little overwhelming. This is not what we need during what is already a very stressful and uncertain time.

To help support ADHDers through this pandemic and period of lockdown, The ADHD Advocate has teamed up with Michelle Beckett, founder of ADHD Action to create the ADHD Unlocked Community on Facebook. Members are encouraged to connect with each other via the Facebook group to share their experiences and what has been working for them, notify each other of online events (hosted by themselves or others) and keep spirits up.

To promote optimism and resilience during this time of isolation and confinement, ADHD Unlocked will be hosting a "pick me up" call at 12.30pm each week day, giving ADHDers a much needed break, some useful survival tips and hopefully a little comic relief during what many of us are experiencing as "groundhog day". For a limited time, members that subscribe by email will also get the opportunity to attend weekly Q&A sessions hosted by The ADHD Advocate and access to a number of free resources, including a daily planning template that should help you focus on the things that will promote your wellbeing during these challenging times. Now is not the time to isolate yourself. Join the ADHD Unlocked Community. Together we are better...

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