Adult ADHD: How to Kick Overwhelm to the Curb

ADHD and feeling overwhelmed seems to go hand-in-hand for most people. But the main takeaway that I want you to take from this post is that overwhelm doesn’t have to be a constant in your life. It is completely possible to manage our stress so we can feel less overwhelmed. 

Overwhelm is the feeling that comes from having an intense or stressful thought. We’ve been taught our whole lives that our feelings are caused by the things going on in our lives, but I’m here to tell you that our feelings actually come from the way we think.

So here are 8 tips to help our ADHD brains kick overwhelm to the curb:

Tip #1: Get Medicated

The first thing we need to do to kick overwhelm to the curb is to first get medicated for our ADHD. Medication can help us sort through our busy thoughts, and helps us focus better. If we aren’t medicated, our lives become very difficult to manage.

Tip #2: Learn about how your ADHD brain works

Without the knowledge of how your brain works, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut and continue to feel overwhelmed with your life. Once you understand your ADHD brain, you can start working with it and collect the right tools to help yourself out. 

Tip #3: Realize that overwhelm is caused by your thoughts, NOT by your life

The feeling of being overwhelmed is not caused by our life – like our kids, our wedding, our job, or our to-do list – it’s caused by how we think about it.

Once we realize this, we start the journey to being more in control of our feelings. If we can change our mindset, we can change how we feel about being overwhelmed. 

Tip #4: Take care of your body and mind

The first thing I recommend to my clients is that we first have to take care of ourselves before we can address how overwhelmed we feel.  Make sure you’ve eaten, taken your medications, gone to the bathroom, and had some water. In order to manage the overwhelm, we need to set our bodies up for success so we can regulate our emotions. 

Tip #5: Get out of your head

After your body is taken care of, the next important thing to do is to get yourself out of your head. All the thoughts, clutter, drama, and overwhelming thoughts need to be written down on paper.

Overwhelm is caused by a million thoughts bombarding our brains, so writing them down can slow our thought process and help us manage the onslaught of thoughts. 

Tip #6: If you don’t want to write things down, do it anyways!

Our overwhelming thoughts are going to tell us we don’t have time to write our thoughts down. The key here is to do it anyways.

It’s the number 1 way to slow our thoughts down and get them to a place we can manage. So do it anyways!

Tip #7: Make a calendar or to-do list

Once you have all your overwhelm down on paper, look at it and put everything that is important on a to-do list or a calendar.

The way to manage overwhelm is to create bite-sized steps that don’t feel so overwhelming. So look at your overwhelmed thought process on paper, pull everything important out, and create a schedule so you can figure out what the next small thing to do is. 

Tip #8: Talk yourself through it

The next tip is to give yourself encouragement. 

Once you’re out of your head and have a step-by-step plan, give yourself some validation. Tell yourself the things you need to hear to feel good about what you are about to do next. If you can give yourself good encouragement, you’ll give yourself a headstart on overcoming the overwhelming feelings. 

To summarize, the best ways to manage overwhelm are to get medicated, understand ADHD, take care of your body, and break everything down into bite-sized steps by writing everything down, creating a schedule, and encouraging yourself through the process. 

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