Did you know people with ADHD are more susceptible to burnout? We have to work harder doing tasks that neurotypical people do with little effort. Burnout is your body’s way of telling you that you need to rest.
Did you know?
The cost of burnout is massive, and touches everyone.
But, there is a solution! By taking a proactive approach to burnout prevention, you can avoid the disruptive misery that burnout can bring.
Here are some tips, especially relevant to the neurodiverse community:
People with ADHD often struggle to say no, and end up over-committing. Make a practice of pausing to say, “let me think about it” when people ask for things. If you can, give it 24 hours before making a decision.
Ask for Help
Are there things that can be delegated to another family member, co-worker, etc? Are there accommodations you can ask for that will make tasks easier? Asking for help is not a sign of vulnerability; rather, it is an indicator of self-awareness. Be kind to yourself, and put yourself first - you deserve it.
Adam Grant, in the TED Podcast WorkLife wrote, “Resting is not a waste of time. It's an investment in well-being. Relaxing is not a sign of laziness. It's a source of energy.”
It’s never easy, and often counterintuitive to take a break when you’re already feeling behind. But if you don’t do it now, you may end up sick, injured, or just too burnt out to function at all. Time off, whether vacation or a full day off, is best, but if that’s not possible, maybe shorten your hours, ask for a reduced workload for a few weeks, or take extra breaks during the day. You’re worth it. Taking an afternoon off each month to engage in an activity where you can fully disconnect from work and reconnect with your sense of self and community can be a very effective burnout prevention strategy.
ADHD is related to a deficit in the function of the dopamine reward pathway. Research shows that people with ADHD have improved focus and longer periods of attention when this reward pathway is activated by having fun. The key to burnout prevention is boundaries with work, and ensuring you're getting physical, cognitive, and emotional distance from work on a consistent basis.
Cultiveit calls this High Quality Time-Off. High Quality Time Off is: active, intrinsically satisfying, stimulating to the senses, disconnected from devices, and stimulates an internal pride response.
What Does High Quality Time Off Look Like for Me?
High Quality Time Off is an activity that helps you gain distance from work and get into a play state- whether that is learning to rock climb, surfing, throwing pottery, taking a new dance class or making your own sushi. It is a way to prevent burnout, and in folks with ADHD, improve attention!
Don’t believe us?
Did you know creating art is a form of High Quality Time Off? A Psychiatric News case study found that art improves symptoms of cognitive restlessness, as it allows information to be absorbed within a sense of play and free movement, allowing many to focus for long periods.
How Can I Implement High Quality Time Off in My Life?
Use these 3 guiding ideas to start YOUR play journey!
Burnout affects each and every single one of us. It is now up to us to remain accountable for our health. Let yourself PLAY, because it is an investment in YOU and YOU are worth it!
This post was a collaboration between Shimmer (Molisha Shah, Shimmer, Founders Associate Intern) & Cultiveit (Taylor Spratt, Cultiveit, Digital Content and Marketing)
Taylor leads Community at Cultiveit. She is a writer, facilitator, and researcher, with a Masters in International & Intercultural Education with interests spanning social change and better ways of living and working together. You can find her work live and written in spaces that facilitate learning about and working towards equity, joy, and curiosity.