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How to manage your ADHD post lockdown

01/08/2020
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Lockdown restrictions are easing, but the long term implications of Covid-19 are now becoming evident as our lives return to ‘normal’. Anxiety, insomnia and depression are comorbid conditions of ADHD that you may be experiencing. Below, we have provided you with some practical solutions to help manage these conditions as we come out of lockdown.

silhoutte of a person with crumpled papers on their head

Anxiety

We are living through very uncertain times and still coming to terms with the impact of the pandemic. Understandably, people are anxious. Anxiety is often experienced by people with ADHD so it’s not surprising if anxiety levels have increased over the last year or so. Fear is still very much present in our society and the effects of the pandemic will be felt for some time to come. Right now, there are still many questions that we can’t answer about what the future holds for us. 

It is important to implement strategies to manage this anxiety as best we can. Here are some suggestions:

Communication

Talk to others about how you are feeling. The people around you may have similar feelings and they will be able to reassure you. Make sure you have a trusted friend or family member who you can go to if you feel anxious.

Take a break

You might feel as if everything is getting on top of you and anxiety is preventing you from being productive. When this happens, do something to take your mind off it and minimise anxious thoughts. You might want to go for a run, do some gardening, listen to music, play a game or whatever it takes to calm your mind.

Mindfulness

Regular mindfulness practice is a great way of managing anxious feelings by focusing on the present moment. You can find out more about our mindfulness course here.

Socialising

If you haven’t met up with people for a long time, it can be quite a daunting prospect. You might even think you have forgotten how to socialise. Remember you don’t have to go out if you don’t want to. You don’t have to hug anybody just because the law now allows you to do so. You need to do what you’re ready to do, only when you feel ready to do it. If the idea of a full day or night out with a group of people overwhelms you, just try to do it for an hour or two with one person and build it up gradually. Our blog about Social Anxiety Disorder and ADHD has advice for anyone who experiences anxiety around socialising.

Insomnia

Insomnia commonly occurs alongside ADHD and due to the pandemic, more people than ever before are struggling to sleep. Experts have termed this ‘Coronasomnia’. 

Insomnia can be associated with long-term health issues including obesity, anxiety, depression, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It can make you more likely to make mistakes, reduce concentration levels, cause slower reaction times and affect your moods. Sleep recharges our bodies and less sleep makes it harder for us to operate at optimum levels. Insomnia impacts all areas of our lives from relationships with family members to performance at work. 

more likely to make mistakes, reduce concentration levels, cause slower reaction times and affect your moods. Sleep recharges our bodies and less sleep makes it harder for us to operate at optimum levels. Insomnia impacts all areas of our lives from relationships with family members to performance at work.

Some suggestions to help improve sleep are:

  • Maintain a consistent bedtime routine
  • Relax before bedtime
  • Avoid caffeine
  • Only sleep in your bed
  • Exercise – but not just before you got to bed
  • Limit the use of electronic devices

Our blog about Coronasomnia and ADHD examines the impact of the pandemic on sleep in more detail and offers further advice about how to beat insomnia when you have ADHD.

Depression

Staying in or being at home more than normal, not socialising as much as you would have previously, and other factors relating to health and work can understandably bring you down. If you already suffer from depression, all of these factors are going to have an even bigger impact. It’s really important you communicate your feelings to other people. Just don’t talk to people who don’t really hear you. Anyone who tells you to ‘cheer up’ or who can’t understand your reasons for feeling depressed is not a good choice of confidant. 

Some strategies that might help in managing depression:

Limit your exposure to news

Whilst it is important to keep up to date with the latest issues and guidelines, it can sometimes have a detrimental effect on your mood. You can try to reduce and limit this to ensure that you are not exposing yourself to too many negative sources of information.

Reduce your time on social media

Social media can be a great place to keep in touch with others. However, it can also be a place where you see everyone’s highlights and may sometimes cause feelings of inadequacy. Consider carefully who you are connected with and limit your time on these platforms if it is having a negative impact on you.

Exercise daily where possible

Exercise has been proven to have a positive impact on ADHD, our mental health and general well-being. You can read more about this here.

Get out in the fresh air

Make use of the green spaces local to you and explore nature. Our blog How Green Space Helps ADHD Symptoms has ideas about how to make the most of the green space around you.

Meet other people

Although the rules about meeting people keep fluctuating and vary depending on where you live, everybody is now able to meet somebody else. Social interaction is really important for our general mental health and it can be enjoyable to plan events and look forward to them happening. If you are unable to physically see everyone you would like to, then keep in touch using other means, such as phone, video calls, and social media.

See A Therapist

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be very effective in treating depression. A specialist ADHD coach provides individual support for adults with ADHD. At The ADHD Centre we have a unique Behavioral Coaching Programme.

Seek Help

Anxiety, insomnia and depression are three conditions which may have been exacerbated for both adults and children with ADHD during the course of the pandemic. While you may think you can manage, don’t underestimate the effects these problems can have on your life. Insomnia is more than just having a rough night or two, anxiety is more than just feeling worried and depression is a lot more serious than just feeling sad. These are life altering conditions. If you feel yourself struggling, please seek professional support.

Remember that we are living through exceptional times and everyone has been affected. Symptoms of ADHD may have altered over the last few months and it’s important that they are monitored and treated appropriately to deal with any changes. With the right support, you can lead a happy and healthy life.

Our clinical team of specialist ADHD Consultant Psychiatrists, Coaches and Therapists are highly experienced and offer the latest evidence-based treatments to ensure that our clients get the help that they need quickly, safely, and effectively. We offer a wide range of effective treatments that are always individually tailored to best suit your specific needs.

If you are interested in booking a private ADHD assessment or would like some further guidance about anything in this article, please contact us at The ADHD Centre on 0800 061 4276 or via connect@adhdcentre.co.uk.

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