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How To De-Stress With ADHD

Stress can affect us all in different ways, but for those with ADHD, it can be more challenging to handle. Stress Statistics UK has shown that 79% of adults experience stress at least once a month, with 74% feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope at some point in the past year.
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How To De-Stress With ADHD

25/04/2024
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Stress can affect us all in different ways, but for those with ADHD, it can be more challenging to handle. Stress Statistics UK has shown that 79% of adults experience stress at least once a month, with 74% feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope at some point in the past year. 

However, for those with ADHD, it can worsen your symptoms and make it harder for you to do everyday things. It can be a vicious circle. Difficulties caused by ADHD symptoms can cause you to feel stressed, and stress can make those symptoms worse. You need to learn how to cope with stress and get the support you need to handle it better. 

April is Stress Awareness Month, and we’re looking at helpful tips for managing stress, particularly if you have ADHD.

What Causes Stress?

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It’s different for everyone, but those everyday things often pile up and make us feel overwhelmed. Maybe it’s a busy schedule, work deadlines, or even trying to keep up with everything in our lives. 

For anyone with ADHD, things like forgetfulness, feeling overwhelmed by tasks, or getting easily distracted can add an extra layer of stress. Whatever the cause, understanding what’s making us feel stressed is the first step in figuring out how to manage it better.

How Can It Manifest?

Stress can manifest in many different ways and affect people in various ways. For some, it might mean feeling anxious or worried all the time. Others might notice physical symptoms like headaches, stomach aches, or trouble sleeping. 

You might also feel irritable, easily frustrated, or have trouble concentrating on tasks. Stress can affect your mind and body and impact your daily feelings and functions.

Stress And ADHD

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The combination of stress and ADHD can intensify situations, making them more challenging to deal with. If you have ADHD you may notice some of the following traits:

  • ADHD often involves struggles with executive functions like organisation, time management, and impulse control. Stress can affect these functions, making it challenging to focus, plan, and prioritise tasks
  • People with ADHD often experience heightened emotional sensitivity, which can make them more susceptible to stressors. You may feel things intensely, making you more sensitive to stress. You might feel more frustrated or on edge when things get overwhelming, leading to more stress
  • Under stress, you may be more prone to impulsive and risk-taking behaviour. This can result in poor decision-making and increase stress levels, creating a cycle of anxiety and impulsivity
  • ADHD can impact emotional regulation, making it harder to manage stress and anxiety. You might feel outraged, anxious, or upset, making dealing with stress harder
  • Chronic stress can affect your mental health but has detrimental effects on your physical health. Stress-related symptoms such as headaches, insomnia, and gastrointestinal issues can worsen ADHD symptoms and affect daily functioning

Workplace Stress

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Work can be stressful. So much so, statistics show the most common cause of stress is work-related stress, with 79% of people  in a Statista survey saying they frequently felt it. 

During this year’s Stress Awareness Month, the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Working Minds campaign has called on employers to support workers’ mental health. It has produced a five-step plan for employers to follow. Find out more HERE 

Three Ways to Avoid Workplace Stress 

  1.     Manage your work by prioritising tasks and breaking them down into smaller, manageable steps. This can help prevent overwhelm and ensure essential tasks are completed on time.
  2.     Schedule short breaks throughout the day to recharge and refocus. This can help prevent burnout and improve productivity by giving your brain time to rest and reset
  3.     Incorporate stress-relief techniques into your daily routine, such as deep breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation, or physical activity 

Financial Stress

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You may struggle with planning for the future and making sound financial decisions. This can result in inadequate savings, lack of financial planning, and vulnerability to unexpected expenses or emergencies. 

ADHD can make it challenging to stay organised, track expenses, and manage your budget effectively, leading to missed payments, late fees, and financial disarray. Poor impulse control can result in overspending, debt, and economic instability. 

Three Ways to Avoid Financial Stress 

  1.     Use budgeting tools and apps to help track expenses, set financial goals, and manage your money more effectively. These tools can provide visual cues and reminders to help you stay on top of your finances and avoid overspending. HyperJar is a money management app and prepaid debit card that helps you take control of your money, and the PocketGuard budgeting app lets you set spending limits and keep track of all your expenses 
  2.     Practise delaying gratification and impulse purchases by implementing a “cooling-off” period before making non-essential purchases. Evaluate whether you need to make a purchase before committing to it
  3.     Set up automatic payments for bills and expenses to help avoid missed payments and late fees

Find out more about managing your finances if you have ADHD with our guide HERE

Relationship Stress

Stress can make it more challenging to maintain healthy and fulfilling relationships. It’s essential if you have ADHD to communicate openly with loved ones, ask for support, and try different coping strategies.

Three Ways to Avoid Relationship Stress

  1. Be open about your ADHD symptoms, challenges, and needs. This can help with       understanding and empathy
  2. Set clear boundaries and expectations within your relationships to manage stress and prevent conflicts. Establishing boundaries around responsibilities, time management, and personal space can help alleviate overwhelming feelings and maintain balance.
  3. Use self-care activities to manage stress and maintain emotional well-being. This may include professional support or therapy to address relationship challenges and develop coping strategies

Student Stress

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Academic stress can make it harder to focus in class, complete assignments on time, and retain information. It can also make procrastination and impulsive behaviour more common, contributing to academic challenges. 

Students with ADHD must develop effective stress management strategies, seek support from educators and mental health professionals, and create a supportive environment conducive to their academic success.

Three Ways to Avoid Stress for Students

  • Establish consistent daily routines to feel more organised and in control. Setting aside dedicated time each day for studying, homework, and relaxation can reduce stress and improve overall time management skills
  • Ask for support such as extended time on tests, preferential seating in the classroom, or access to note-taking assistance. Your tutors and education setting should provide additional support 
  • Try different coping strategies to find which suits you. Such as deep breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation techniques. Find more about mindfulness HERE   or we offer a mindfulness course for ADHD. Find it HERE 

ADHD support

Our team of experienced clinicians is on hand to provide expert insight, advice, support, and guidance on ADHD, helping you manage and embrace some of the challenges.

For more information on how we can help you:

Call 0800 061 4276

Email enquiries@adhdcentre.co.uk

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Book an ADHD assessment for an adult or child HERE

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