Stress and ADHD

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Handling your ADHD symptoms on a regular basis is hard enough, but when you add stress to the mix, it can make things next to impossible.

Now I know in general that most of us live stressful lives. That’s the not kind of stress that I’m talking about, although plain old everyday stress does mess with your ADHD.

No, the kind of stress that I mean is the kind that usually happens when your life is changed or about to change in a big way. A birth, a death, a move, a new job – any big change can trigger stress.


Right now in our household, we are all stressed to the max.

Last week my daughter got into the shower with her socks on and when someone asked me my last name, I had to think longer than I should have to come up with the answer.

So how do you deal with stress and ADHD?

Here are some of the strategies that we are using:

  • Cut back on obligations. In our house, even though I object to such things, we are using disposable plates, cups, and silverware. I am relying on more short cuts in getting dinner on the table, like pre-chopped vegetables and (gasp) instant potatoes. And as you might have noticed, I have cut way back on internet usage.
  • Lose the guilt. Guilt is a totally unnecessary emotion. If I can’t get to the hospital every day to see my dad, or don’t stay as long as I think I should – I think people judge me about this, especially hospital staff – I try not to feel guilty about it.
  • Ask for help. I am very fortunate to have loving and supportive family and friends. I have relied on them more in the past few months and I am grateful for them. It’s even better when they do without being asked.
  • Take good care of yourself. Sleep is a huge thing for me, as it is for most of us with ADHD. Without enough rest, our symptoms get much harder to manage. Take a mental health day if you need to and sleep in.
  • Find some quiet time, especially in nature. I always find that I feel better when I’m out in nature, even if that’s just on my deck. Find some quiet time each day for yourself, but please try not to deprive yourself of sleep to do so. Even if it means a few extra minutes in the bathroom, it’s worth it.
  • Find a way to laugh each day. Laughter is good for you. At our house, our dog provides amusement and playing with her makes us laugh. Watch a funny movie or call a friend. It helps lighten the load and temporarily relieves tension.
  • Finally, realize that this too will pass. When you are in a stressful situation, it may seem as though time is standing still. There is an end to this, even if you can’t see it right now. Just hang on and do the best you can.
Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle is the writer of and the Podcast host for An ADD Woman.

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