Boost Self-Esteem with ADHD

woman with arms outstretched

Want to Boost Your Self-Esteem? Here’s 3 Empowering Strategies that Work for People with ADHD.

 

  1. Celebrate Strengths and Achievements

Focus on Strengths:

People with ADHD have many unique strengths, such as creativity, enthusiasm, and problem-solving abilities. By identifying and focusing on these and other strengths, you can build your self-esteem and boost your overall confidence.

Keeping a journal of daily or weekly achievements, no matter how small, can help shift your focus from challenges to accomplishments. Even a couple of minutes a day can make a difference.

Set Achievable Goals:

Chunking your tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces can make it easier to achieve goals. Celebrating your victories, however small, can provide a sense of accomplishment and boost confidence.

 

2. Develop a Support Network

Seek Support from Loved Ones:

Family and friends who are understanding and supportive can provide encouragement and positive reinforcement. Seek out the company of those whom you feel accept and get you. Sharing feelings and challenges with trusted individuals can help relieve stress and boost morale.

Join Support Groups:

Connecting with other people with ADHD provides a sense of community and understanding. Support groups offer spaces to share experiences, learn strategies, and give and receive encouragement. Meetup offers many opportunities to meet people who have something in common. If there’s no support group in your area, you could set one up.

 

3. Engage in Positive Self-Talk and Mindfulness Practices

Practice Positive Self-Talk:

Challenging your negative thoughts when they arise and replacing them with believable positive alternatives can improve self-perception. The first step is to become aware of your thoughts and notice them. 

Regularly reminding yourself of your worth and capabilities helps counteract feelings of inadequacy. You could try setting a reminder to say kind and supportive things to yourself several times a day. Small steps build up to a big difference.

Mindfulness and Stress-Reduction Techniques:

Mindfulness practices such as meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga will help manage stress and improve focus. These practices can enhance self-awareness and self-acceptance, contributing to higher self-esteem.

By focusing on strengths, seeking support, and engaging in mindfulness practices, you can work towards improving your self-esteem and overall well-being.

It’s time to get strategic around Christmas

It’s time to get strategic around Christmas.

If you’re a person who finds organization a challenge the rest of the year round, it may reassure you to know that you’re not alone in finding Christmas a mega-challenging time.

Christmas is a crazy-making time precisely because all the challenges come at once. That means all the strategies we need throughout the year are needed more than ever. You will need to bring out the strategies, tools, and techniques you have for managing yourself and your stuff to avoid getting overwhelmed.

Unless you want to start your Christmas preparations months before the merry day (and personally, I find that prospect extremely unappealing), all the preparations need to be done within a fairly short period over a few weeks. On top of all the other day-to-day stuff which still needs doing.

Just the kind of thing that we ADHDers find challenging. There’s so much to do and so much to remember. That’s because there is a lot to do in a short timescale. In some ways that can be a tremendous advantage for those with an ADHD brain. We are great at sprints so you can view a time-limited event like Christmas, just like a sprint or series of sprints. It’s only a few weeks away, and then it’s finished.

What kind of strategies are particularly useful at Christmas time?

  1. Simplify: 

 Instead of feeling bad because you haven’t time to personally send out 100 cards to all your friends, relations, and people you want to thank at the end of the year, why not take the pressure off yourself and send some of your greetings another way, which doesn’t involve doing it all at the same time? People will be glad to hear from you anytime; it doesn’t necessarily have to be done before Christmas day, does it?

2. Do what you can in advance to make life easier on the day:

I have spent nearly every Christmas Eve of my life hurriedly wrapping presents at the last minute, but not this year! This year I will be relaxing with my feet up, with my presents already wrapped and under the tree. I set myself the challenge of completing this just a bit at a time so that on Christmas Eve, I can focus on enjoying the company of others without this task hanging over me.

3. Ask others for help:

Attempting to do all of the Christmas preparations on your own can be a recipe for martyrdom and resentment, especially if you’re providing meals for people. You won’t get brownie points for feeling put upon!

For some reason, our ADHD brains think it is necessary to do everything ourselves, even if we nearly collapse with the effort. Delegating can help you by reaching out to others to see what part of the preparations they would be willing to take on and share. If you ask yourself, “What’s preventing me from asking for help?” you may come up with some interesting answers that could help you move forward.

You can feel calmer and more in control by using straightforward strategies such as these examples to reduce the overwhelm that comes from having so much to do in a short time.

Simplify – reduce the sheer number of Christmas things to do.

Do what you can in advance – by doing things in advance, you clear your path for a more effortless and enjoyable time on the day itself.

Ask for help – many hands make light work, and are you aware that people love to help?

Why not pick just one thing you will do differently this year to make Christmas less stressful and more enjoyable? After all, if you end up having a good time, it’s much more likely that others will too.

Get Where You Need to Go On Time, even with ADHD.

Get Where You Need to Go On Time, even with ADHD.

Someone looking at their watch to check the time

Getting to places on time, is a common scenario that my clients struggle with. Here’s how I helped one client get to her very first job successfully!

Client X was a young woman who had just landed her first job. She was delighted with herself about how she handled the interview and was looking forward to working in this new position. However, she was extremely anxious about how she was going to get to the job on time each day. According to my client she had a track record of being late for everything. Completely focused on her past negative experiences of being late and with her imagination running overtime, in her mind’s eye she was already losing the job by not being there on time.  This negative belief about herself was threatening to derail all the hard work she put in to get the job in the first place.

I pointed out to my client that she had in fact got to our coaching session in good time and asked her how she had accomplished this. She was a bit taken aback to grasp that here was evidence of her being somewhere on time. She began to realise that her attention was fixated on the occasions she had been late. She laughed and told me she’d used a reminder alarm on her phone. Because she was in the habit of having a phone with her everywhere she went, this worked well for her. Here was one tactic we could put to good use in order to help her get to work on time.

Next, we took an in-depth look at my client’s time estimation skills. I wanted to find out whether her way of judging how long it would take to accomplish tasks could be contributing to her challenges. Those of us with ADHD commonly have difficulties with estimating time accurately, and this can be one of the factors that leads to consistently being late.

We broke down the time after waking into all the tasks my client would need to accomplish before she left the house, and looked at each of them as separate entities. It turned out she was underestimating the time it would take her to get ready in the morning by a good 30 minutes. No wonder she was so often late. She simply had not been allowing enough time for all she needed to do in order to leave the house in the morning. I also helped her to understand that factoring in some time for whatever might arise unexpectedly was a key part of estimating time successfully.

 As a result of this new understanding, my client was able to adjust the time she would set her alarm to wake up and wake up 45 minutes earlier.

At this point my client said she already felt far more confident about getting to her new job on time, but there remained a tiny bit of uncertainty. As there were a few days left before the first day, I explained to my client that practising first with the pressure off can be a valuable way to start creating a new habit. She was very enthusiastic about this idea, and realised that in this way, she could tweak her timings if anything cropped up that she had forgotten about.

One week later when we met again, my client was excited to report that she had practised for the few days leading up to her first day at the job and had indeed discovered a couple of tweaks to her timings which she had addressed. She proudly told me that on the first day of her new job, she had arrived on time! On top of this she said the feeling of being in control of her time had allowed her a calm and confidence which made the whole day go well. This was a new and extremely positive experience for her.

Here’s what you can do to help yourself be on time:

  • Find out which negative beliefs about your capabilities may be getting in your way. You can certainly get a coach to help you with this.
  • Look at strategies you already use successfully in other parts of your life.
  • For issues with time, use timers, alarms, and reminders to help you.
  • Examine your time estimation skills for what you are trying to accomplish. Are you over or under-estimating time?
  • Chunk things down into their constituent parts so you can see them more clearly.
  • Factor in some contingency time for the unexpected.
  • To create a new habit, start practising when the pressure is off.
  • Make adjustments and tweaks as required before any critical points.

By selecting the right strategies, ADHD doesn’t need to be a barrier to getting where you need to be on time and in control.

If you found this post useful, you may wish to sign up for regular e-news bulletins so you can receive more articles straight into your inbox. Please use the blue form to the right of this message to subscribe, thank you.

If time management and/or organisation are a challenge for you, please do get in touch to check my availability for one to one coaching.

I’m coach Anna Schlapp, B.A., ACC, coaching people with ADHD and other co-occurring conditions for 8 years in the UK and worldwide. You can get in touch with me here

 

Looking for Something to Help You Through Tough Times? Your Strengths Are Always With You.

Looking for Something to Help You Through Tough Times? Your Strengths Are Always With You.

What do you always have with you to help you through the tough times no matter what? – Your character strengths.

What are character strengths?

There are many models or ways of looking at your strengths. In this piece I’ll be referring specifically to the field of character strengths that emerged from positive psychology research in the early 2000’s. Character strengths are the positive parts of your personality. In the VIA Character Strengths framework, there are 24 of them altogether. 

As I often remind my coaching clients, your strengths are always available to you. However they are often beneath conscious awareness. In other words you are already drawing on your strengths daily, probably without fully realising where or how you are doing so.

Character Strengths are about how you do something i.e. you approach an uncomfortable situation with your boss with courage (BRAVERY), you interact with your impulsive child with light heartedness. (HUMOUR)

 

Why are they important now?

We are all having to deal with a level of change, stress, and uncertainty enough to test anyone. Restrictions to the way we live our lives, not being able to meet in groups socially, having to stay in your home most of the time, home-schooling, the threat or reality of losing your job. Add the heartbreak and devastation when we lose loved ones, and the list of challenges goes on and on. Let’s face it, we need all the help and support we can get.

 

How can knowing your character strengths help you?

Becoming more versed in character strengths increases feelings of resourcefulness and capability.

Paying attention to your strengths reminds you of the goodness in you and all of us.

A strengths focus can help you relate more deeply to others and to yourself.

You can draw on your strengths when you face stressful or demanding situations.

 

How can they help right now in the tough time of the pandemic?

Learning more about strengths and their definitions makes it easier to recognise which constructive parts of yourself you use, and when. You’ll appreciate how strengths have helped you in many of your past experiences, positive and not so positive. With increased awareness, you’ll be able to intentionally bring forward strengths to bolster you when you are challenged or at a loss.

 

Here’s an exercise you can try for yourself:

If you’re unaware of your own character strengths then go to www.viacharacter.org and take their free assessment. Print off the list of your strengths and have it in front of you.

Now dig back into your past, and bring to mind an experience that really challenged you at the time. Look at the list of strengths to help you identify which ones you drew on.
How did you deal with it?                                                                          
What did you do that worked?                                                                       
Which of your strengths were involved when you overcame this situation?                            
Looking back, you likely utilized a combination of strengths. Notice where you were ingenious in this context. How does that change how you feel about your present circumstance?

Now make use of this information to devise solutions, move forward, and resolve your current challenges.

 

How that might work in practice;

During the first lockdown I was required to be available to supervise my daughter’s home-schooling. I had to completely change the way I worked and re-organise my hours to fit around her virtual lessons; and support her to access and stay focused on Zoom. I felt a sinking feeling of overwhelm and dread when the news first came, and wondered how on earth I would keep working and support my daughter. Then I remembered my character strengths.

I thought back to a previous occasion where I had felt challenged; each summer holiday when my daughter was much younger. Back then I had applied understanding and patience (PERSPECTIVE) (PERSEVERANCE) to both myself and my daughter.
I used my top strengths of ZEST & LOVE OF LEARNING, to devise new and exciting things we could both enjoy learning about and doing together.   I also planned so that each day we had at least one set activity to do. (PRUDENCE) 

To manage the current challenges of the lockdown, here’s how I used the strengths I had identified:

  • I planned each day in a very detailed way to coordinate our differing needs and Zoom times. (PRUDENCE)
  • I used BRAVERY to face the uncertainty of our situation. I applied PERSPECTIVE AND PERSEVERANCE to take the longer term view, and stick with important changes to our routines like hand washing.
  • When severely tested I reminded myself to appreciate how I love and am loved (LOVE), and how grateful I am for our health and our lives.(GRATITUDE)

 

How you can use your own strengths right now; 

When you next feel the weight of uncertainty or are confronted by some new obstacle, bring your character strengths to mind to remind you how capable you really are.

  • Character strengths are the positive parts of your personality.
  • You always have your character strengths within you to support and nourish you, on your journey through life.
  • Bringing character strengths into conscious awareness reminds us of the innate good in ourselves and others.
  • Character strengths provide personally relevant ways to boost your resources in life now and in the future.
  • They remind us that we can prevail when times are tough, and that we have much to be grateful for.

By familiarising yourself with character strengths you will have invaluable resources available to sustain you in particularly demanding times.