How to Stay Healthy in a Pandemic with Adult ADHD

How to Stay Healthy in a Pandemic with Adult ADHD
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Every day the news seems to get more dire about the number of people contracting COVID-19. Wearing masks, social distancing, staying home, and handwashing are effective strategies to stay well. Although following these guidelines on a daily basis can be difficult for most people, you may find them especially challenging if you have adult ADHD. Here are some reasons why and ideas to help.

Wearing Masks

Sometimes ADHD makes it hard to read social cues, which becomes especially difficult when people are wearing masks and standing six feet away.

Here is an interesting and fun presentation on how to read facial expressions even when people are wearing masks.

The other challenge is remembering to bring a mask with us wherever we go in case we need it.

One strategy to always have a mask is to own three of them. You can keep one in your car, one in your pocket or purse, and one at home. You can wash two at a time and still have an extra one to wear if you’re going out. And if you lose one, you’ll still have two left.

Etsy is a great site to find handmade beautiful, creative, or cute masks for all ages.

Working From Home

Working from home means creating your own structure and schedule without the in-person support of co-workers. It can also mean learning new systems and ways of communicating. All of these changes may increase anxiety and overwhelm, two symptoms that are prevalent, especially in women with ADHD.

Further Reading: Working from Home with ADHD During a Pandemic

The above article is full of helpful tips to stay focused, directed, and get things done at home. Also included are ways to take care of your body, mind, and spirit during this stressful time.

Connecting With Others

Isolation prevents the spread of illness but takes a toll on our joy and well-being, especially for those who get energy from being around others.

Find ways to connect with important people in your life via zoom, phone calls, facetime, or whatever works for you. If you are someone who gets depressed or lonely, it is crucial to not just think about it, but to make it happen by planning ahead.

Text a friend and ask when a good time would be to talk. Some women I know have zoom happy hours or book groups. If it is allowed in your geographic area, take a distance walk with a friend or family member. If you can find wide streets and places with little traffic, it’s easy to walk together six feet apart.

Another idea is to walk and talk via the phone. I have weekly dates for a “walk and talk” with two different friends. I know I’ll walk and talk with one friend who lives in a different state on Fridays at 11 am. I meet with another friend over the phone while I’m walking every Tuesday at 10 am. But this wouldn’t have happened without planning ahead and making a commitment to meet.

It’s important to mark the date and time on your google calendar or whatever you use to remind you of commitments. Then don’t forget to set an alarm with plenty of time to gather what you need to leave the house.

Staying Safe With Reminders

Washing your hands or using hand sanitizer after handling anything that could be contaminated requires remembering to do it – not so easy with the executive functioning deficits and distractions of ADHD.

Put an easy to see sign on your steering wheel or on the front door that says, WASH HANDS NOW. If you can find hand sanitizer, keep multiple small bottles everywhere including in your car and in your purse.

Washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water (the recommended time by the CDC to remove pathogens), can get boring. And boredom is the nemesis of ADHD. To make the necessary task of washing your hands a little more interesting, here are some suggestions of songs to sing besides the happy birthday or ABC song.

Wrapping It Up

I hope the tips above can help you navigate the extra challenges ADHD can bring when you are doing your best to protect yourself and your loved ones.

If you would like coaching and support during these difficult times, please contact me for a free consultation. I specialize in coaching women with ADD/ADHD.

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