Learning To Say No With Adult ADHD: Five Ways Setting Boundaries Can Improve Work-Life Balance

A man stands with his arms folded as he smiles lightly at the camera in front of his coworkers who are talking amongst themselves. This could symbolize the defiant spirit of someone saying no with adult ADHD. We offer Adult ADHD treatment in Ohio. Contact us for support with ADHD in adults today.

Does lack of work-life balance have you stressed? You might want to start taking a look at your boundaries. In fact, adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often find themselves in jobs where work-life balance and stress management is a juggling act. Dr. Dale Archer, the author of The ADHD Advantage, explains that for many business owners who have adult ADHD, managing their work-life balance is the hardest part of the job.

But finding balance is possible…you just might have to set some boundaries to get there. Boundaries have a lot of power. They can determine the health of our relationships, whether or not we achieve our goals and even our happiness. But healthy boundaries aren’t always easy to identify or implement. Consider these five steps to improving work-life balance by setting boundaries:

Listen to how you feel.

To figure out what boundaries you need to set, you have to figure why you need to set those boundaries. And that means identifying your feelings. A big part of ADHD therapy is learning emotional awareness. Why? Because the ADHD brain gets easily consumed and hooked by its emotions. In fact, ADHDers often experience all emotions intensely-–even momentary emotions. This can cause struggles with emotional regulation. These emotions can cause prolonged spells of anger, fear, and avoidance, in addition to sensitivity to criticism or rejection (also known as rejection-sensitive dysphoria, or RSD).

Tuning into how you are feeling can get you in touch with your needs and objectives. For example, are you working late because of a fear of getting fired or because you think your boss will be mad at you (despite lack of evidence for both)? Getting in touch with your feelings can help you check them against the facts so you can decide whether acting (or not acting) on a feeling is really in your best interest.

Need help naming feelings? Start with these five: fear, anger, guilt/shame, sadness, and happiness.

Practice self-care by knowing your value.

Self-care isn’t all bubble baths and face masks. Self-care can mean understanding what you value and setting boundaries to support those values. Increasing self-care starts with improving self-worth. It’s pretty common for adults with ADHD to struggle with a strong inner critic––that little voice saying you’re not good enough. Turns out a lifetime of criticism for unintended mistakes can take its toll. However, we can decide the energy––positive or negative––that we bring into our lives. And we have power over our self-worth. It can be helpful to find ways to identify your inner critic, and then thank it for its time, but agree to disagree.

Build structure in your daily life.A laptop, smartphone, and pen rest on a wooden table with a post-it note attached to the corner of the laptop. The note reads "not today". This could symbolize an adult with ADHD saying no to focus on their own self care. We offer similar treatment for ADHD in adults in Columbus, OH. Contact an Adult ADHD specialist for support.

It’s important to build systems that create structure in your everyday life. We often spend a lot of energy worrying about things because our brain is signaling an early alert/warning system about systems that don’t work for us. Because ADHD impacts executive functioning, time management is a skill that most adults with ADHD struggle with. Putting the right systems into your life can ensure appropriate boundaries over your time. If the keys always go in the same place or the mortgage is on autopay, that’s less time to worry about remembering those tasks.

Practice saying no.

Ah, the word “no.” The most beautiful word in the English language…which, for most of us, is also the hardest to say. Unfortunately, there are no boundaries without the word no. Learning to say no is a skill worth cultivating. However, we can’t say no all the time, that would be too rigid a boundary. But a well-placed no can make a world of difference.

Start small. Perhaps saying no starts with not responding to a text, or saying no to fries, or to babysitting for a friend when you’d rather catch up on Netflix. Saying no to bigger things will likely work out better if you have some experience saying no to the smaller things.

A man in sunglasses smiles as he looks off to the right. He appears carefree as she walks around the city during sunset. This could symbolize the freeing feeling experienced after meeting with an adult ADHD specialist to discuss ADHD in adults, and what they can do to help. Contact us for ADHD treatment for adults in Ohio and other services. Get clear on your values.

Values make boundaries more clear. For example, you don’t have grief without connection or social anxiety without caring about relationships. However, our actions do not always act in line with what we care about. Value clarification is the key to obtaining a rich and meaningful life. For example, if you value family but work 80 hours a week, there might be a disconnect between your values and your actions.

The good news? Values are not always “either/or” choices. Values can be “both/and” choices, and living them out is done in small actionable steps. For example, it’s possible to eat a salad and have fries with that. Our values show up in small everyday micro-choices. Choose to live your values in those moment-to-moment decisions when living a value is an option (spoiler alert: it almost always is). In other words, knowing what you stand for can inform how you act.

Begin Adult ADHD Treatment in Ohio

You don’t have to live an unbalanced life. A caring therapist can help you create boundaries and improve your work-life balance. We offer support for adult ADHD from our Columbus, OH-based therapy practice. To start getting the support you deserve, follow these simple steps:

  1. Fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation
  2. Meet with a caring adult ADHD specialist 
  3. Learn to create stronger boundaries and improve your work-life balance

Other Services Offered At Focused Mind ADHD

Looking for personalized help setting boundaries with adult ADHD? A Columbus ADHD therapist can help. ADHD treatment can help improve confidence and help you get more comfortable saying no. Because ADHD impacts people in different ways, Focused Mind ADHD Counseling offers a variety of services including adult ADHD treatment, counseling for men with ADHD, depression counseling for ADHD, and anxiety treatment for ADHD.