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10 Things You Need To Remember If You Love Someone With ADHD

10 Things You Need To Remember If You Love Someone With ADHD

You probably have heard quite a few people denying that ADHD even exists and that it is just another fad.

“To publish stories that ADHD is a fictitious disorder or merely a conflict between today’s Huckleberry Finns and their caregivers is tantamount to declaring the earth flat, the laws of gravity debatable, and the periodic table in chemistry a fraud.”- Russell Barkley and colleagues, International Consensus Statement on ADHD, 2002.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are people who know that ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a real condition and needs treatment, care, understanding, and above all support. These people are just like you and me and want to know about practical ways to help people we love with ADHD to manage their lives at work, school, and at home. Here are 10 ways we can help them to cope, whether we are parents, colleagues, or friends.

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1. We must let our ADHD kids move more

Research now shows that sitting still is not at all conducive to helping a child with ADHD to focus and concentrate. Their hyperactivity is not useless. The more they move, the better, because this is linked to how they will remember something or work out some cognitive process. Stability balls at home and at school are a great learning aid for them.

2. We must be more compassionate

Adults with ADHD are often popular because they can be funny, creative and good company. The problems arise when they just cannot cope with getting bills paid, organizing stuff, being punctual, keeping to deadlines, and remembering what their loved ones have just told them. Their brains just work differently. If you are close to a person with ADHD, you can first of all be more compassionate and push them to get treatment or therapy which will help them to cope. An ADHD sufferer once described it as:

“Like driving in the rain with faulty windshield wipers.  Moments of clarity along with lots of blur.”

3. We must be the ADHD child’s best advocate at school

Lots of kids with ADHD get into trouble at school by misbehaving, getting low grades, and failing to keep up with homework assignments. Parents need to be really well informed about ADHD so that they can act as their child’s advocate. This will help to get them the best possible arrangements at school such as IEP, and so on. A great way to start is to read Michelle Davis’s book Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book.

4. We must set up a well structured routine at home

ADHD kids really thrive when they get into a routine. We can help them a lot by getting them to follow a well structured routine every day. Having lists and post its in strategic spots, organizing clothes and schoolbags, and having regular bedtime are just a few things that need to be followed. There are some more excellent ideas in Dr. Russell Barkley’s book, Taking Charge of ADHD: The Complete, Authoritative Guide for Parents

5. We must help them to get rid of excess energy

Kids with ADHD are always on the go and their hyperactivity combined with impulsivity can lead to pretty scary situations. One great way is to channel all that energy into exercise and sports. Sometimes, this can calm them down and tire them without having to resort to medication. Michael Phelps is a great example although all our kids cannot become Olympic champions!

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6. We must limit media time

All the social networking, cell phones, video games, and TV can distract a kid and adult from engaging in much more active and healthier types of fun. As ADHD children and adults tend to hyperfocus, there is an extra risk here. They can spend hours on one game or activity, so using a timer can be useful. There is cool software called LeechBlock which can set time limits for time on Facebook or Twitter or any other site where they are spending too much time.

7. We must look after their sleep

Many people on ADHD meds have problems sleeping. It is just one of the side effects. If this is the case, it is essential to have the best possible conditions to avoid insomnia. Your kid may need up to ten hours sleep and if they don’t get that, it’s mayhem the day after. Switch off all devices, have a warm bath and read them a good story which should all be part of a well-structured routine. TV and social media in the bedroom are a no-no.

8. We must remember to break down instructions

Instead of telling a child or adult with ADHD that they never listen to you, try something else instead. The ADHD brain is trying to process a frightening range of stimuli coming at them. It is calculated that a child of 8 may only be able to handle 7 words at a time. This is why it is so important to break down instructions for chores, homework and behavior problems. Use frequent pauses and gestures so that the message is easier to understand.

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9. We must remember the problems when an ex has ADHD

If your ex has ADHD, it can be problematic when your kids come back from visitation. A great way to avoid issues is to persuade your ex that a separate set of kids’ items should be kept at their house. Living out of a suitcase is no fun but having all their stuff there when they arrive and return is a great way to reduce the tension. Having a laminated list of things they must remember to bring back is also helpful.

10. We must help them to eat properly

As Dr. Mark Bertin has pointed out, people with ADHD are more at risk of suffering from eating disorders and obesity. The main reason is that they cannot plan ahead and when they are hungry, impulsivity takes over and poor dietary choices are made. The steep downhill path to emotional eating is all too often taken.

Many parents have ADHD themselves so the problem becomes even more acute if one of their kids has ADHD as well. Developing mindful eating habits can help. When you learn to pause while eating and savor the taste of food, this can be a lifesaver in developing healthier eating habits. Avoiding being famished can be useful too, so frequent healthy snacks during the day can also help. .

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Looking after your loved ones who have ADHD is often challenging but when you change your approach as suggested above, you may be surprised at the results.

Featured photo credit: Mighty Jump/ David Goehring via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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