Why do my days always end on a low note?

Throughout my professional life, I have met many people with comorbidity, meaning that they have two or more diagnoses. Most often, this involves conditions such as addiction to alcohol, or drugs combined with diagnoses like ADHD, depression, or anxiety. 

Many struggles with something that I recognize painfully well in myself, the frequent feeling of letting oneself down. 

This can happen daily! I wonder if you, as you read this, will also identify with what I am about to describe? When I wake up in the morning, I usually have high ambitions for what I want to achieve and handle during the day ahead.

“Yet, at the end of the day, I find myself disappointed that I didn’t even manage a fraction of what I had planned.”

And this pattern just seems to repeat itself. The next day and the next, over and over again. Many have labeled me as a time optimist, but could this really be the entire answer? Because, in fact, I am also a performance and energy optimist. 

Business Woman feels stressed and distracted.

Let me try to explain what I mean!

So, what happens between 6 in the morning and 6 in the evening that causes all my ambitions to crumble? I suspect it’s due to several different factors.

The first thing that usually happens is the emergence of numerous unplanned distractions that cause me to lose focus. I’ve noticed that they often tend to crop up through emails, containing questions and feedback that demand responses, diverting my attention. 

Suddenly, I’ve veered off course by responding to emails to check items off a list or meet others’ needs. Or, I’ve encountered something I don’t have an answer to and found myself surfing social media under the notion that it’s essential “research” to move forward. Before I know it, two hours have passed, and I honestly couldn’t account for where they went even if I were interrogated.

The next thing that happens is something I’ve found challenging to understand and adapt to: a drop in energy after lunch. And it just continues downhill from there. Everything I’ve planned after lunch becomes mediocre, uninspired, or not done at all. It might improve the afternoon if I would manage to take a thirty-minute nap. It would clear the clutter from my mind, and I can start anew on a fresh slate.

What has been immensely helpful for me and the individuals I’ve encountered in my work is visualization. Everything becomes much clearer. Take a look at the image below where I’ve jotted down an exercise. It has been instrumental in grounding me a bit more in reality.

It reduces the feeling of disappointment by clarifying that I had set rather unrealistic goals from the start. Instead, I plan the day realistically and can feel much more satisfied at the end of the day. If you want to try it yourself, you’ll find the exercise at the end of this blog.

These kinds of activities are essential tools in coaching.

Together, we aim to find clear strategies and techniques that simplify, structure, and support an individual’s progress. 

Coaching encompasses several core competencies that can be beneficial for individuals with ADHD. 

At the heart of all coaching is the importance of creating a trusting relationship, active listening, sharpening powerful questioning and enhancing self-awareness.

In coaching, we place great importance on building a strong collaborative relationship. We work with including through active listening and ensuring we understand the person we are conversing with. It can feel really good for someone with ADHD. Especially if you’ve had experiences of others being judgmental and uncomprehending. 

Coaching questions can be both powerful and playful. The goal is to encourage thoughts to evolve and find new perspectives on situations where you may have previously been stuck. And to support the person being coached in becoming more aware of their thought patterns, behaviors, and emotions.

If you think coaching sounds interesting, Letterlife can help you match a coach.

Want to try the exercise from the image?

Here’s what you do. In the morning when you wake up:

  1. Take an A4 paper and draw a line in the middle of it.
  2. On the left side, write a list of everything you think you will accomplish and when you will do it. Also, create a stack indicating how much energy you think you’ll have during the day.
  3. Throughout the day, journal everything you ACTUALLY do and how much time it takes on the other side of the paper. Also, mark how much energy you have at different times.
  4. Do you see any difference between your planned day and how it actually turned out? What differences? What have you learned for a more realistic plan tomorrow?

I hope this exercise can be accommodative for you!

One last note! This fall, I am offering an open training for professionals supporting individuals with addiction problems and additional comorbidity. Curious to know more about the course, check out “Treating Comorbidity”. [In Swedish]

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