AuDHD Work Tips: Personal Care

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Here's a couple tips for different things you can do to help make working work better for you.
AuDHD Work Tips: Personal Care

Make systems for your needs

I encourage you to create systems for easy food and water access because your body needs to have its needs met in order for your brain to be able to think and create the things that you’re doing. Or if you’re doing physical labor, your body needs to have its needs met in order for you to have the energy and capacity to continue doing the things that you’re doing.

In my household, dinner leftovers get put into individual containers that I can grab for lunch and then I just have to heat it up and it’s really easy. I don’t have to think about what’s for lunch. I just grab one of the containers, and so I don’t have to think about it.

And I have a tea system. I have a bunch of tea things all in one place, and a pitcher of water next to my desk at all times, and a couple of cups. So I’ve always got water, and food, and I have various snacks over here that are just in easy reach. So that I can always have that. Doesn’t always mean that I will think about it. But the more I do it, the more likely I am to think about it. And that does get easier over time.

Adjust your light

Another way you can take care of yourself is customizing your background colors and fonts in your computer or devices to be easier on your eyes or brain. The default white point for most devices is actually quite bright. I’ve heard it compared to staring at a light bulb.

You’re basically staring at a light bulb and that’s not easy on the brain.

If you ever watch someone else in low light situations, like they’re staring at their phone and you see this glare coming out them, that’s what you’re getting. When there’s more ambient light, you just don’t notice it as much but it’s still happening. You’re basically staring at a light bulb and that’s not easy on the brain.

So turning down the white point, you can find that in accessibility settings on a lot of devices, you can even shift it to a different color.

A few months ago, I got an E Ink monitor for my computer. I don’t use it for all things. But I use it when I’m doing long periods of hyperfocus work. And it calms my brain and my eyes instantly, it reduces a lot of eyestrain. And I love that. And I get less distracted when my brain feels calmer.

You can also allow yourself to work at different times of the day or night, especially if you’re able to work asynchronously. If you work better at 3am, why not?

Give yourself time

You can also allow your business to grow slowly so that your nervous system has time to get used to all of the new stuff that you’re encountering.

For example, someone just asked, “how do you set boundaries when your clients insist that you do things a way that doesn’t work for your processing style?” That’s actually a whole other big thing I don’t have time to get into, but it is an example of working through that at a personal level of being okay with your processing style. And being genuinely okay with that, and working through the people-pleasing needs so that you can set boundaries, and do it in a way that is firm, but not rude.

It’s just like, “You know what, that style works really well for you. But it doesn’t really work for me. I’m going to do it this way, because you’re actually going to get the thing that you want that way.” And you don’t have to say it in a way that’s rude. Like that is perfectly fine, but it’s firm.

As you’re working for yourself or for someone else, if you’re trying to make work work for you better, you’re going to have to deal with a lot of those internal messaging and processing through that takes time. But if you’re doing this slowly, your nervous system has time to catch up and it’ll really be able to absorb all of that.

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Picture of Heather Cook

Heather Cook

Hi, I’m Heather. I’m an Autistic writer, advocate, and life coach, and I'm building a life I love. I help other Autistics to build their own autism-positive life. I love reading, jigsaw puzzles, just about every -ology, and Star Trek!

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