As neurodivergent people in a neurotypical world, we are all too aware that the normative way of doing things leads to feelings of failure and frustration. I feel this way as a person with ADHD. The world tells neurodivergent people that we need routine, exercise, a healthier diet, and to stop fidgeting and procrastinating. While these five things are a good practice for anyone, neurodivergent or not, it’s important to note that a neurodivergent person cannot engage in everyday tasks the same way a neurotypical person can.
As mentioned in a previous post, some of the feelings of failure or frustration can be diverted by a steady routine coupled with a healthy lifestyle. This helps promote a calmer and cleaner mindset, especially when paired with a rewards system. If this feels like a foreign concept to you, here are a few real life examples from my own life. I reward myself with one chocolate chip for every task I accomplish. I keep a junk journal, but instead of a normal to-do list, I create doodles to color in when I finish a task. Then I get to scribble huge lines through the tasks when the day is finally over. If I’m trying to work through a task I really don’t want to do, I will work for twenty minutes and then have a five minute dance party to have fun and stimulate my brain by moving around. When I write, I need background noise, so I’ll turn on a familiar tv show to fill in the gaps where I need a little extra stimulation. This rewards system I keep for myself helps to motivate me and allows me to find the fun in otherwise difficult tasks for my neurodivergent brain.
Every person is created differently, so what works for my ADHD may not work for your neurodivergence. It may also differ between men and women because we have different rhythms. Find your own versions of chocolate chips, doodles, and dance parties to motivate your brain to stay on task and finish what you start. Hopefully, my practices inspire you to create and follow your own.