Are you feeling burnt out? You may burn out more often as an ADHDer due to the challenges you face every day. I have personally experienced several neurodivergent burning outs and know how difficult it is to recover. This article will introduce ADHD burnout, and explore the best ways to recover and treatments that could make things worse.
What is ADHD burnout?
ADHD burnout can be caused from long-term ADHD symptoms or stressors that are not managed. This condition is usually characterized by overwhelming fatigue, decreased productivity, and a feeling of despair or hopelessness.
It may be more difficult for those with ADHD burnout to complete their tasks, stay focused and attentive, and control their emotions.
Burnout is a result of a number of factors including stressors external to the individual, executive function difficulties and emotional and cognitive demands in daily life.
ADHD burnout can have a significant impact on your overall health and quality of life. It’s important to recognize and address ADHD burnout if you are currently experiencing it.
Find out what triggers your ADHD
It is important to identify your ADHD burnout causes in order to prevent and recover from burnout. Burnout can be triggered by many factors. It’s important to identify which triggers you are experiencing. Burnout is a common occurrence for people with ADHD.
Changes in routine, structure or transition
Attention or organization is required to sustain a sustained level of attention
You can take action to prevent or manage burnout by identifying your triggers. You can do this by adding extra structure and support during transitional periods, creating a routine that is consistent, focusing on sensory needs, reducing sensory overwhelm, and breaking large tasks down into smaller and more manageable ones. Understanding your burnout symptoms is important for self-awareness, self-care and preventing future burnouts.
How to Recover from ADHD Burnout
There are ways to recover from ADHD burnout. Here are a few ways to recover from ADHD burnout.
Outsource executive functions tasks: By delegating, you can focus your mental and emotional energies on the most important things.
Pay attention sensory needs: Take breaks when you begin to feel overwhelmed. It can be beneficial to engage in sensory activities which are restorative. For example, taking a stroll outside.
Spend time with those who accept you for who you are. Spending more time with people that accept you without masking or pretending can be extremely restorative. Spend more time with those people who allow you to be yourself.
Make sure appropriate accommodations are made: The right support and accommodations, whether in school or at work, can help prevent burnout.
Set boundaries with others: ADHD sufferers often have less energy and fewer spoons to offer. Set boundaries with your friends, family and co-workers to prevent burnout.
Take part in activities you enjoy: Taking part in activities you love or are passionate about can reduce burnout. Finding activities that make you happy, whether it is spending time outdoors, doing physical exercise, or taking some time to yourself, can help you restore your energy.
Give priority to healthy sleep habits and routines. When burnout occurs, the body can be on a rollercoaster of hormones. Prioritize healthy sleep habits, routines and practices to support healthy rhythms.
Incorporate activities that promote relaxation. Yoga and other activities which activate the parasympathetic system are especially beneficial for recovering from ADHD Burnout. Consider focusing your yoga practice on forward folds and inversions that bring your head down below your heart. These are powerful ways to activate your relaxation response. Meditation, deep breathing exercises or time spent in nature are all activities that help. Also, make sure you prioritize relaxation and rest, and don’t overschedule yourself.
Recovery from ADHD burnout can be a long process. It’s important to remain patient and compassionate throughout. You may encounter setbacks on your journey to recovery. It’s important to take small steps, to prioritize self-care, and to get the support you require. You can recover from burnout with time, rest and the right tools.
Avoiding Common Traps when Treating ADHD Burnout
In order to treat depression in ADHD, behavioral stimulation is prescribed to give individuals a feeling of accomplishment and help them achieve their goals. This may make ADHD burnout worse, if it is not tailored to the ADHD person. In order to effectively address ADHD burnout through behavioral activation, it is important to implement sensory activities, interests, and rest. Avoiding activities that lead to more time being spent in neurotypical environments should also be avoided. A common mistake is to try to reframe it cognitively, which can intensify feelings of shame, especially if an individual doesn’t understand that burnout is ADHD. See my Depression Workbook for more information about how to adapt treatment of depression for neurodivergent people.