In this episode, I’ll be talking about the ADHD overwhelm of transitioning from a laid-back summer to a bustling fall season From the dual pressures of work and caregiving to the social and emotional toll of it all, I get real about what I’m calling “the busy season”.
What the “busy season” is and what it can look like
Emotional & social impacts of the busy season
The coping mechanisms that anchor us
Mentioned in this episode:
Journeys Through ADDulthood by Sari Solden
A new sponsor, Joy Organics – visit adultingwithadhd.com/joy to save 20%!
The walking pad and sun lamp I use on triple-digit heat days.
Hey everyone! Welcome back to another episode of the Adulting with ADHD podcast. In this episode, I’ll be talking about ADHD overwhelm.
A few updates in the ADHD community …
Sari Solden recently re-released Journeys Through ADDulthood, something she originally wrote back in 1998 in response to 10 years of counseling adults with ADHD who needed help beyond initial diagnosis and treatment. This 2023 update keeps things fresh. Sari marks the occasion with a free “Journeys Through ADDulthood” webinar on September 9 at 2 pm Eastern. To learn more, visit sarisolden.com.
In person in Baltimore November 30 – December 2 and online December 5-6. To learn more visit chadd.org/conference. I went for the first time in Dallas last year (because it was in my backyard) and it was totally worth it of you have the resources. I’m actually skipping it this year for various reasons, but highly recommend if the stars can align for you to go!
Coaching – I’m seeing lots of coaches I know advertising openings on their schedule. Off the top of my head, Rene Brooks, Dusty Chipura and Brilliantly Diverse have all posted recently on Twitter that they have some availability. I’m a huge fan of coaching because it gives you the kind of tactical support that you need in between doctor and therapist visits. It’s basically help with being you day to day on top of everything else. If that sounds too luxurious and unaffordable, it’s very common to find coaches who offer special pricing. You can even check with coaching schools that may offer sessions as practice for their students at a lower cost or even free.
Featured Tool or Tactic
I’ve been itching to talk on here about AI tools, but there’s still so much I’m digesting myself. In the meantime, if you haven’t done so yet may I suggest trying Goblin Tools. It’s all the rage from several ADHD’ers I’ve talked to. My favorite feature is the Magic ToDo – you can give it a task you need to pull of and it actually breaks down all the little steps for you so that you can’t get in your own way. Uh, yes please! There’s a Formalizer to help refine the tone of your text, and a Judge to help you read the tone of another’s text. An Estimator helps you determine how long a tool is going to take, a Compiler takes your braindump and turns it into a task list, and a Chef can help you what you’re having for lunch. To learn more, visit goblin.tools.
Be sure not to share any sensitive information on this or any AI tool and don’t take the answers as gospel every time. And stay tuned for a future episode where I’ll be digging into AI a little deeper.
Back to Fall
So, with that said, let’s get into the meat of today’s episode about what I’m calling The Busy Season. For many of us, that’s fall, but this is really about the busy seasons we all have for whatever reason.
Imagine this scenario: your child’s school desperately needs a field trip chaperone, and your boss needs you to lead a big project. You were barely managing your daily responsibilities before, and now you have additional demands tugging at your time and attention. You can ask your partner for help – and you will – but even that requires a series of thoughts and decisions. Everything’s a *thing*, everything is a dance. Everywhere. And it’s a lot and you’re deeply aware of it in a way that you weren’t 3+ years ago.
There was a time when fall used to excite me; it felt like a second New Year. My brain – lit up with the “new and novel” – could hyperfocus on things that excited me, at least for a while.
Then, the adrenaline rush from all these new beginnings would stop.
I’m running on fumes now but I know consistency is key.
Before long, every other day starts feeling like a Monday.
The shift into the fall season isn’t just about professional or academic responsibilities ramping up; it’s also about the resurgence of social activities and obligations that come with it.
For parents, that means parent-teacher conferences, school events, or maybe an awkward encounter at dropoff.
For workplaces, this can look like an entire morning of meetings or a presentation you’re nervous about giving.
This Busy Season energy requires a social aptitude that I don’t have in abundance. The need to read social cues, remember names, keep composure, and engage in small talk can become a set of tasks that feel as daunting as any work project. And now there are more of these for whatever reason.
Which brings me to my next point—people pleasing. The busy season is a vortex of obligations. Everything’s “Go, go, go!”
And it’s really easy to fall into the trap of trying to please everyone. For me, this looks like stretching myself too thin and eventually burning out.
Schools, in particular, can be a vortex of obligations. Parent-teacher conferences, after-school activities, fundraisers, and homework help—the list is long. The school expects me to be an involved parent, and let’s face it, I badly want to be. But the logistical nightmare of keeping all those commitments straight can be overwhelming. And it’s not just about managing a calendar; it’s about the emotional labor that comes with these commitments.
At work, the stakes are high as well. There’s not just the pressure to meet deadlines but to excel, innovate, and outperform. I’m trying not to let my team down, the economy’s fucking weird, there’s just a lot of reasons to be killing it at work right now.
So what’s an ADHD’er to do at this point?
Coping With Productivity Demands
To balance out the world’s demands, I’ve found solace in simple things—like hanging out in my kiddie pool listening to a podcast. Soaking in the sun. Maybe I’ve had a CBD gummy. For bad weather days, I’ve even got a walking pad in my office, a sun lamp at my desk.
For you, it could be something else. Maybe it’s designating a “do nothing” day, practicing mindfulness, or taking short breaks throughout the day to breathe and recalibrate. Whatever it is, the objective is to strike a balance between needing to achieve and needing simply to be.
I’d love to hear how you guys are navigating this time of year. Feel free to share your personal stories, tips, or resources on how you’re managing a busy season. You can do that by emailing contact@adultingwithadhd com.
Alright, that’s it for this episode! Until next time, happy adulting.