If you have ADHD and feel chronically tired, overwhelmed, withdrawn, or irritated you might be experiencing ADHD Burnout. If you find yourself snapping at, or being resentful of, your partners, kids or co-workers you might be experiencing ADHD Burnout.
ADHD burnout is a condition you get in which your physical, mental, and/or emotional exhaustion is heightened due to your ADHD symptoms and stressors. It sometimes mimics depression but it is important to recognize ADHD Burn out because it can strongly impact our quality of life.
Why Do We Get ADHD Burnout
ADHD folks are particularly suseptible to ADHD Burnout. This is partly because our symptoms like being disorganized, having time blindness, struggling with time management issues, and emotional regulation are things that ADHD brains are known to struggle with. And to compensate for our perceived shortcomings, we work hard and harder and harder to do things that neurotypical folks do with very little effort.
People with ADHD have often experienced a lifetime of being told we were lazy, incapable, and in general – not good enough. So we work harder until we crash and things fall through the cracks, starting the cycle again. In addition to that we spend huge amounts of energy masking (trying to appear neurotypical).
ADHD Burnout can be impacted by perfectionism, and to make matters worse – we often neglect our core four needs, including hydration and rest. This is a warm welcoming invitation for ADHD Burnout.
How Do We Know If We Have ADHD Burnout
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of ADHD burnout is the first and most important step to taking care of yourself. So here are just a few of the symptoms you might recognize.
- Extreme Tiredness – feeling as if you are tired all day, every day. No matter how much sleep you get or naps you take, you are bone tired all day.
- Emotional Dysregulation – feelings of extreme high or low, rapid mood cycling, crying easily, etc.
- Poor Self Image – feeling not good enough, lazy, dumb, incapable, or like a bad person/employee/parent.
- Low Motivation – feeling low motivation *all the time*. This isn’t your often typical periods of extreme hyper focus bursts followed by low energy days. These are low energy days all the time, feeling unmotivated to do anything at all.
- Anxiety – feeling worried most of the day. Worried about what you might be forgetting, doing things right, or if other people think badly of you.
- Irritability and Resentment – feeling as if you are snapping at your loved ones. Having a short fuse. Feeling like your co-workers, friends, partners or children are adding burden to you.
- Forgetfulness – forgetting critical things, important appointments, promises broken, or not remembering what you are doing in the middle of doing it.
- Withdrawal – feeling as if you don’t want to be around people, closing yourself off, or pulling away from your friendships.
Tips for Getting Through ADHD Burnout
If you feel like you may be experiencing ADHD Burnout – or that you might if you aren’t paying attention – here are some tips for you.
- Start To Set Boundaries – Remember that your energy and time is limited, and start to prioritize what you say “yes” to. Then kindly, but firmly say “no” to the rest.
- Delegate/Outsource What You Can – We tend to be perfectionists who think only we can do the thing right. Let it go and delegate or outsource whatever you can to coworkers, other family members, etc.
- Pay Attention To Your Body – ADHDers are known to forget things like eating, hydrating, and resting. Check in with yourself and your body and ask what it needs.
- Attend To Your Sensory Needs – If you are feeling burned out, you may have some sensory needs that need attending to. Perhaps you need to be somewhere quieter, louder, less bright, etc. Perhaps you need to hide under a weighted blanket for an afternoon.
- Lower Your Mask – one of the reasons we tend to get overwhelmed is our tendency to mask and try to “be neurotypical” and do things and get things done in ways that neurotypical folks do. Stop doing that! Embrace your own pace. If you can’t at work then at least around your friends and family – lower the mask a bit.
- Grounding Techniques – if you are in the middle of an ADHD related meltdown – try some grounding techniques to make your brain take a break. Stand in the grass or sand with bare feet, feel the ground. Put your hand over your heart and thump softly. Find another grounding technique that works for you – maybe working with your hands, or something else entirely.
- Ask for Help – along the lines of delegating – ask for help! Ask your boss for help prioritizing tasks, ask your friends to check in and remind you about an important event, ask your partner or family for help doing the things you aren’t as good at. If needed and accessible – get an ADHD Coach!
How Can I Help?
If you have ADHD and are feeling burned out, I can help. If you have a kid with ADHD and you feel like you are at the end of your rope, I can help. We can partner together to eliminate ADHD related guilt and shame, to focus on your positive strengths and /or your kids positive strengths, overcome roadblocks, and feel calmer, less stressed and more in control of your feelings.
PS – I’ve written a few other posts about BURN OUT quite some time ago with less of an ADHD view – feel free to check them out HERE.