Neurodiversity and self-care

Self-Care can be a challenge especially with a busy work life, business to run, family to take care of, friends to see, new films, concerts, holidays to book and Covid. But what does it mean for all of us with or without a Neurodiverse condition?

This checklist has been collated by the amazing team at ADHD Unlocked who are generous and informed in all matters relating to children and adults with ADHD. 

You can choose to add these to your calendar or jot them down in a journal. It is not an absolute must to do all of them but check in with how you’re feeling and see if they make a difference to your day.

Medication – if you are prescribed meds to manage symptoms like anxiety, impulsivity or restlessness take them according to your prescriber’s guidance. Make sure you note any adverse effects and report them. Not all people thrive on meds and sometimes they can make symptoms even more intense.

Gratitude – spend a few moments in appreciation for every delight especially when you can feel or find none in your immediate environment. The sunrise, sunset, smiling train staff, chat at the water cooler, going into the office and seeing a missed colleague. 

Plan – nothing elaborate – business leaders often tackle one huge task first thing in the morning to win their day. If that’s a sales call, email, difficult conversation, get it out of the way.

See Friends and Family who make you feel valued and appreciated – remember not all friends and family do this so choose wisely and guard yourself against feeling drawn into negative patterns.

Tackle Tolerations – deal with the things that make you feel frazzled or frustrated. Piles of paper are my worst enemy. I doodle while on the phone and make notes if I am listening then I am left with lots of printer paper with nothing legible on it. Every so often I shred the pile.

Strengths – Use your Strengths and try to delegate areas of weakness. So, for example if you love collaborating on projects or having one productive conversation do that daily. If you like getting stuck into a hyper focus on a project do that. Boundaries – Notoriously challenging to set them but will force you to get in touch with your own needs and ensure that you are not being drained by doing things or being around people that will sap your energy. 

I feel – lead with this in conversations no one can argue with your feelings, nor does it mean you are accusing or blaming others for their role. Minimise drama as Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria can make even the smallest slight feel momentous. 

Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria known as RSD is a key part of ADHD and Neurodiversity and is about Emotional Dysregulation. 

In a workplace setting this shows up as feelings of Imposter Syndrome, feeling disliked by colleagues, hearing feedback as criticism, not fitting in socially or feeling on edge. Organisations are social organisms; each department or culture has its own logic and rules of engagement but having RSD can feel like not understanding the rules. Being in this environment can lead to feelings of exclusion, impulsive or risk-taking behaviour, inappropriate comments that lead to falling out with colleagues. 

ACTION – Share how you have given yourself an opportunity for some self-care this week and what it was?Tomorrow we look in detail HOW you start that task now you have cleared the way to begin those boring repetitive tasks that you continually out off.