Why ADHDers Need to Pause

#adhd #adhdcoaching #pause #productivity #selfworth #well-being Jun 04, 2023

Friday afternoon, I looked out our large window - taking a quick breather in between readying the kitchen for a family lunch.

A female cardinal was splashing in our backyard birdbath.

We never see cardinals so I knew this was special.

I called my daughter over.

Because cardinals are believed to loved ones who have passed coming to visit, I said “You have a female visitor on your big day.”

Without blinking an eye, she said “Mom, it’s Mrs. Shannon.”

Of course it is.

I smiled while wiping away a tear.

Mrs Shannon was her preK-3 teacher who died several years ago, such a profound loss to so many.

She was an angel on earth - amazing with our young children.

They adored her and so did we.

Now in heaven we know she continues to watch over our girl.

And to visit her (via female cardinal) on her high school graduation day.

What an infinite magical blessing!

All because I took a moment to pause.

Yesterday (post-graduation), I had no energy left.

I was tapped out.

The well was dry.

I had used up all of my spoons.

When we talk about energy, our executive function (the high level mental skills) can be challenging for people who have brain based conditions.
We need energy for our executive function to work well.

What Your Energy Looks Like

Imagine at the beginning of the day you have a set of spoons and each time you use your executive function to get something done, you use up a spoon.

I can’t tell you how many spoons I have on any given day, but I do know it’s not the same each day.

Also by the end of this past two challenging weeks, I had used up all of my spoons.

May wasn’t an easy month.

You may find times where you’re hyper-focused, in the zone, in the flow.

You have tons of energy and can go go go to meet that project deadline.

And then there are other times you can’t get off the sofa. (Don’t worry - that’s not unusual for ADHD.)

You pull the covers over your head.

I’m not talking about for weeks at a time like it would be with depression.

This is about a day or two of much needed rest.

If you’re not well for longer than a week, please talk to a professional.

I knew that graduation week would be very intense.

Lots of preparations beforehand and then making sure that the 10 people in my family got to where they needed to be, had seats with a good view, had meals in a timely fashion, then there was the driving, driving and more driving.

I had no idea the prior week would have a bunch of things go really wrong and throw off my energy into the next week.

Ok - life happens.

But I came into this week with fewer spoons.

So pauses were mission critical.

I planned, deliberately, to have no spoon using plans over this weekend.

I would not tax my struggling ADHD brain (executive function) further.

A morning reading a book on the couch, a walk in the garden, a lighthearted dinner with our favorite peeps who happen to also be family, Carol and Dan.

Plans for a Sunday brunch with dear friends at a favorite restaurant followed by a School of Rock gig.

No work with the exception of writing this newsletter.

And writing doesn’t feel like work to me.

Plus I love connecting with you on Sundays!

One last reason for planning a slow spoon rebuilding weekend.

On Monday, I get to help someone I love at the hospital.

And that’s gonna take a whole buncha spoons.

If I don’t put some spoons back in the drawer (rest and recharge), there will be no spoons on Monday and I’ll be no good for this other person.


Rest is important.

In fact, the number one thing an ADHD person can do to help improve their ADHD outside of taking a medication is to get a good night’s sleep.

Sleep is the ultimate pause.

We ADHDers struggle with pausing on so many levels.

Sometimes it even gets us in trouble.

But when we’re in hyperfocus we don’t stop.

We just keep going.

We forget to eat, we forget to sleep, we forget to pause.

And yet it’s the power of the pause that allows us to be refreshed again, to replenish the spoons, to refill the well however, you like to call it.

Pausing is mission critical because our executive function is more of a challenge.

Pausing doesn’t have to be a week on a tropical island.

Though I wouldn’t say no!

Pausing can be sharing a short moment watching a cardinal in a birdbath.

How will you pause today?

Hit me up with an email to let me know.

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