Be Kinder to Your ADHD Self

Editor’s note: This thoughtful and much needed reminder was written by Edge Coach, Ellen Cohen, JD, MBA, ACC. Click here if you are interested in working with Ellen as your ADHD coach!

This New Year…Be Kinder to Yourself

Like most people with ADHD, you probably spent most of this past year traveling at warp speed managing challenges or putting out fires.  A picture of a juggler juggling one more ball than he can comfortably handle comes to mind.

It can be helpful to keep the following thoughts in mind when you look back at the year:

Everyone faces organization, planning and focusing challenges

Many of my clients with ADHD, if they are late or forget to use their planner, beat themselves up over it.  They assume that these types of mistakes never happen to my “other” clients.  I am here to tell you that they do happen to everyone.  It may happen more frequently to my ADHD clients but every one of my clients has had similar experiences.

And the wonderful thing about a misstep is that it provides the opportunity to take a positive action!  You can figure out what to do next time to avoid the same result.  Or learn to laugh when it happens.   So be kinder to yourself when you reflect on those pitfalls that occurred in this last year.

It is getting harder to organize, plan and focus these days.  Of course, having ADHD makes certain tasks harder but there are many reasons why more and more people are feeling less and less in control of their lives.

Acknowledge 21st Century Challenges

Some food for thought:

  • We are all bombarded with messages…voicemails from work and personal cell phones, and from those dinosaurs, land lines, as well as emails, faxes, texts, school portals, etc.
  • Working adults for the most part are fending for themselves.  They no longer have the luxury of having an assistant to organize their lives.  They are expected to schedule, keep and follow up on all their appointments, as well as prepare and file their own documents.
  • Students are inundated.  In their wonderful book, The Organized Student (2005), Donna Goldberg and Jennifer Zweibel mention how, in the past few years they have noticed that there is more school work, more flowing paper and the school days are more fragmented.  And if that is not enough, most have a crammed after school schedule that varies from season to season.
  • The internet provides hours of distraction that even the most well-intentioned student or worker can find hard to resist.  Honestly, do you know anyone who flips on the computer and gets right to work?

Once again, this is a good opportunity to take positive action…to learn new techniques to navigate the minefield that we call daily life in the 21st Century.  That you recognize these challenges and have developed tools or are developing them…then bravo!  You deserve to pat yourself on the back.

Year-end is a good time for reflection

Spend time reflecting on all those things you accomplished and did right this year.   You might be thinking that you really didn’t do anything special this year.  I guarantee that if you take the time to think about it, you will see that you have accomplished quite a bit!

Maybe you used your planner most of the time or were on time more than the year before.  Perhaps you made a new friend or learned to let go of the little things.  You might have developed more patience or become less judgmental.  You may have learned a few new helpful strategies or gleaned a few more insights into how you work best.

Celebrate those accomplishments!

A new year is just around the corner waiting for you to embrace it and to continue moving forward one step at a time.  Have a great New Year!


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Ellen Cohen holds both an MBA degree and a JD law degree. She received coach certifications from the College of Executive Coaching and ICF, the worldwide coaching organization that established guidelines for coach conduct and ethics.  She has taken the JST Coach training for teens, college students and children, 8 -12 years old.  Prior to coaching, she saw many with ADHD who had struggled with school and work.  As a coach, she has found she can make a real difference. She is passionate about helping clients experience less stress and more success in their lives.





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