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How to manage ADHD in lockdown AGAIN!

12/11/2020
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Lockdown was hard last time. The restrictions, the uncertainty and the fear of illness really took their toll on people’s mental health. Now we are going through it again but without the good weather. This time, we have more of an idea about how it works, so it might be easier. Then again it might not. More people are working from home again and while some people have adapted well to the ‘new normal’, other people are presented with a new set of difficulties.

Here are some suggestions to help adults with ADHD to get through this unique and challenging time.

shoes and a water bottle on a folded towel

Exercise

Exercise isn’t just good for the body, it can help keep the brain in better shape too. When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals called neurotransmitters, including dopamine, which is involved in attention, clear-thinking, memory and motivation. Some medications used to treat ADHD work by increasing the availability of dopamine in the brain. Exercise is a natural way to treat some ADHD symptoms. If you can, get out for a walk or a run every day. If the weather and dark nights are preventing you from doing this, there are a number of online options available. Many local gyms and exercise providers have moved their classes online so there are still plenty of choices. Whichever way you choose to do it, just keep going.

Eat well

Diet can have a significant impact on someone with ADHD. Try to consume a varied diet rich in fruit and vegetables and good sources of protein. Eating a good well-balanced diet, full of brain-healthy foods is especially important in times of heightened stress and anxiety. However, it can be difficult to avoid sugary food and excessive caffeine if you are spending more time than usual at home. Establishing a good daily routine starting with a good breakfast can help you to manage your diet effectively.

delicious tuna with greens on a plate

Routine

The brain of someone with ADHD really benefits from the patterns that a steady, consistent routine provides. Lockdown causes changes that the brain might find hard to process, especially if your working pattern or location alters. Whether you are working or not, a daily timetable will help you to achieve consistency. Just don’t put too much pressure on yourself and make sure you take sufficient time for breaks, food and refreshments.

person laying on the bed with white socks on and an open book

Create space

Within a person’s brain, different spaces are assigned different functions. For example, a bed is a place to relax and sleep, a kitchen is for cooking and eating. It’s important to have different spaces for different purposes wherever possible. When the boundaries between these spaces and their functions become blurred, the patterns in your brain become unclear. This can be really difficult for someone with ADHD who might find themselves working in their bedroom or at the dining table. Be patient, it might take a little time to adjust.

Rest and relax

If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed and over-tired, take a break and do something that relaxes you. If you can’t get out of the house, a simple and easy way to do this is to focus on your breathing. Choose a designated time and place to breathe deeply. Just three deep breaths can be beneficial in helping to clear the mind. Deep breathing oxygenates the brain and the rhythm of breathing in and out relaxes the mind. To avoid lockdown burnout, make sure you are getting plenty of rest and relaxation.

Socialise

Lockdown can be lonely so make sure you stay in touch with family and friends. If you live alone and are worried about isolation, ask a friend or family member to call you on a regular basis. It’s important that we all look after each other at this time and they will understand. Where possible, eat your meals together with other members of your household to provide you all with social interaction. You may not be able to see people in the same way as usual, but you can still interact with them. Online exercise classes or other online activities that take place over a video call, allow you to see other humans and communicate with them. Socialisation is a basic human need, which shouldn’t be neglected during lockdown.

man on the kitchen calling someone on the phone

Get help

During periods of stress and anxiety, symptoms of ADHD can be more pronounced than usual. If you feel this might be happening to you, please contact a healthcare professional who can help you. People with ADHD may need additional support or a medication review. Remember not to let ADHD control your life.

One last thing, remember that we have done this before and we can do it again. If you would like some further guidance and support on managing your ADHD then please contact us at The ADHD Centre on 0800 061 4276 or via connect@adhdcentre.co.uk for an in-depth ADHD assessment to improve your understanding of the disorder and to know what treatment method is fit for you or them.

This article provides you with more advice about Working from home successfully when you have ADHD.

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