Part One: Giving Yourself Permission to Transition and Creating a Successful Summer with ADHD
S-U-M-M-E-R. That six letter word is packed with so many different definitions, images and preconceived notions.
And when you, or a significant person in your life is impacted by ADHD, it is that very notion of freedom, relaxation and unstructured environments, parts of the iconic summer vision, which can create discord in your days.
So the question then becomes, “How can YOU make YOUR summer shine?”
You will notice that I put both YOU and YOUR in capital letters because you and/or your loved one(s) need to be front and center when creating successful summer months.
When ADHD is part of any equation, the “should,” “must do” and “have to” needs to take a back seat. YOU are creating a summer for YOURSELF, and possibly YOUR FAMILY; one that does not have to measure up to anyone else’s.
How do we start to create a summer that we envision?
The first step begins with giving ourselves permission to transition. This is a topic that has come up in conversation several times within the past two weeks, both in my own life and with clients I coach.
At this time of the year many of us are experiencing transitions; kids getting out of school, families and friends embarking on a summer vacation or just having more relaxed outdoor time with longer daylight hours. The fact still holds; our schedules can be very different this time of the year.
Transitions can be especially difficult for individuals affected by ADHD, adults and children alike. For some, the lack of routine/fixed schedule can leave them feeling uncomfortable.
For others, the pure act of making transitions; shifting focus from one task to another, interrupting a state of hyper-focus and/or changing locations can leave one with feelings of increased anxiety.
What to do?
- Acknowledge and accept that you are in a time of transition (leaving work, going on vacation, getting into a summer routine with the kids) and that these times can leave you feeling unsettled. Recently, my coach suggested highlighting my calendar for the weeks or days before a larger transition (vacation, end of school, start of school, etc.) to remind myself that I might be feeling a little off kilter during that time and allow myself to plan for the transition (thanks Dana!).
- Plan for the transition. What self-care do you need to put in place to accommodate for these times of transition? This could include; planning several days in advance and clearly defining what tasks need to be done by when (which gives you a picture of what is coming up), allowing for extra time to accomplish certain tasks, planning start and stop times for certain tasks, delegating tasks, and giving yourself time to wind down between tasks as well as at the end of the day.
- Let the important people in your life know that transitions are more difficult for you. The fact is that the ADHD brain has a unique wiring that makes the act of shifting thoughts and actions more difficult for many.
Acknowledgement, acceptance and planning can go a long way to creating the summer that you envision. Bask in the warm weather and sunshine and enjoy the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer YOUR way!
Part 2: Setting Realistic Expectations for Your Successful Summer (coming soon)