If you're struggling at work, it's important to make sure you're taking steps to tend to your mental health. Learn more about how ADHD can contribute to these issues and what you can do to protect your mental health in the workplace.

Mental Health Challenges in the Workspace

Whether heading into the office or logging in from home, people with ADHD may find that their disorder seems to come to the forefront when work is involved. Symptoms of ADHD can impair your ability to manage time, focus on and prioritize tasks, follow instructions, and regulate emotions. This can make it harder to work effectively with colleagues, develop friendships with fellow employees, stay on top of deadlines, and avoid mistakes in your work.

The demands of a job can test your ADHD behaviors and make symptoms seem more difficult to manage. As those challenges compound day after day, it can potentially create a strain on your mental health.

There are also a number of job-related factors which can contribute to mental health issues, like unreasonable bosses or poor working conditions. When you're dealing with these types of problems on top of your ADHD, it can worsen the mental health strain you're feeling.

Keep in mind that, by having ADHD, you're already at an increased risk for anxiety, depression and substance use. Unfortunately, the struggles associated with having ADHD can contribute to or exacerbate these issues. If you allow things to spiral out of control at work, these mental health disorders could be more likely to occur.

Tips for Managing Your Mental Health at Work

If your mental health is suffering due to struggles on the job, try the following strategies to help manage your symptoms.

Find ways to relieve stress

Feeling constantly stressed is bad for your mental health and makes it harder to get work done. In serious cases, it can even lead to burnout at work. Be sure to take breaks and use the time to do something that helps you release stress, like taking a walk outside, meditating, or reading a book.

Use strategies for staying organized

Take extra measures to stay on top of things at work. A simple wall calendar probably won't cut it. Set alarms so you won't miss meetings or deadlines. Take notes in meetings and create to-do lists to help prioritize what to work on next. Delegate tasks to assistants or interns or partner up with a colleague who can help you stay on track. The goal is to prevent things from feeling chaotic or rushed, which isn't good for your mental health.

Build up your self-esteem

It can be hard to see yourself in a positive light when you feel like your ADHD is affecting your performance at work. But it's important to work on your self-esteem, especially if you face judgment from others who don't understand or know about your condition. Try to embrace your strengths and ask for work assignments that take advantage of them. Give yourself rewards when you finish important tasks to recognize your achievements.

Most of all, remember that some bad days are bound to occur, but your ADHD and your productivity at work don't define your worth. If you're gentle with yourself when you have a setback, it's easier to get back up and try again.

Advocating for Yourself at Work

While it's important to take steps to improve your mental health at work, you don't necessarily have to do it all on your own. Sometimes, you may need to ask for help at work in order to accommodate your ADHD. This isn't something to be ashamed of or unsure about. In fact, ADHD is one of the protected conditions under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), meaning that an employer may be required to provide you with certain workplace accommodations due to your disorder.  

If your ADHD substantially impacts your ability to work, you may qualify for accommodations. Some examples of workplace accommodations for ADHD include:

  • Using a quieter workspace to limit distractions
  • Wearing noise-canceling headphones when focusing on specific tasks
  • Taking several shorter breaks throughout the workday instead a single long break
  • Sitting in a chair that helps manage restlessness
  • Getting assistive technology, like task timers or text-to-speech software

As you consider how your work is affecting your mental health, remember that one of the most important tools for managing your ADHD symptoms is proper treatment. If you're struggling with ADHD at work, you can reach out to Done to learn more about your ADHD treatment options.