• Alana Stern

7 and a Half Lessons Learned Lately

What I Learned from Lock Down


"There is no such thing as failure, only feedback."

This is one of my favorite sayings. With restrictions relaxing and kids slowly going back to school, I feel kind of ready to look back on the past six weeks or so of COVID 19 lock down. No matter how bad or hard or challenging it's been, there is always something we can learn. I asked my ADHD followers to contribute to my own list of lock down lessons, so here they are. 7.5 Lessons we learned during lock down.


1. Busyness is Not a Badge of Honor.

So many of us learned to appreciate the reduced hustle and bustle of daily life. As one client put it, "...constantly running/rushing from place to place has some serious downsides" I found that the slower pace of life helped me be more mentally available to my family. Yes, I lost some business and that will have some ramifications. And yes, I realize how lucky I am and I am immensely grateful that my business has not been devastated. But it was great being able to say yes a lot of the time that my children needed something from me, or to just sit on the couch and enjoy a TV show with them.


2. Sleep is Like a Spa-Day for your Brain.

More than one client mentioned how much a less than good night's sleep impacted their functioning the next day. Late night addictive Netflix shows have been one of my biggest weaknesses these past 6 weeks. Luckily, I could wake up later than usual. But getting to sleep before midnight still seems to be a better quality of sleep than sleeping 2am -10am. Good sleep is essential for our brains and a lack of it will directly affect things like:

· Memory (what did I come into this room for again?)

· Prioritizing (what to do?)

· Planning (when to do it?)

· Focusing

· Time Management (all those things I was going to finally get to during lock down!)

· Emotional Management

· Organization

· Impulse Control (I personally have to figure out how to turn off that “Next Episode” auto-play feature on Netflix and Kindle’s 1-Click Buy!)

· Perseverance ( I'm fed up!) and

· Self-awareness.


3. There Will Never Be Enough Time for it All.

No matter how much time you have, there are some things that are still hard to get started on and stay working on. And there will always be more to do. The only thing we can do is let go of the perfectionist desire to reach it all. Instead, learn to prioritize properly. To do this, we need to separate planning time from action time. I took a few minutes last thing at night or first thing in the morning to figure out my priorities (Learn how to do that here) for the day.


4. Relationships before Results.

A lot of people had a really hard time juggling distance learning schedules of multiple children with their own commitments. The ADHD kids I know are not always enthusiastic and cooperative about their education. But I learned to embrace the grey area between perfect and chaos. Guided by the mantra “Relationships before Results”, I loosened up, let go a little and expected 65% effort from my kids. We also created something of a soft or vague schedule - things to expect in the day, but with a lot of flexibility. It was more important that they felt like we were there for them, than for them to finish every assignment perfectly.


5. The Value Of Being Short-Sighted

In the past six weeks I’ve had my fair share of panic and anxiety about what will be. What really helped me was to bring myself out of future worries and back into the present moment. When I stressed about entertaining my 8 year old ADHD child all Pesach long, what helped was to just breathe and focus on getting through ten minutes at a time. Day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute we are getting through this.


6. Procrastination Pain

Sitting around all day, all week in one space can really put a damper on productivity. I found myself putting off a lot of household tasks, even though I had the time. When I finally did take the plunge, I realized that the most “painful point” is just before you start. As soon as I crossed the action line, the pain began to subside. As James Clear explains in this graph, being in the middle of procrastination is often more painful than being in the middle of the work (point A is more painful than point B).



7. Zoom School Suits Some Brains.

I heard from a lot of people that their ADHD children are thriving with online school because it really helps to minimize distraction. My son is too distracted with the ability to change his background and turn his video upside down every three seconds; but others, my high-school daughter included, are learning really well with Zoom. It makes me happy that these kids get the opportunity to see for themselves what I keep telling my ADHD students - that classrooms were built for a specific type of brain and that their brains are simply different. They are not “dumb”, the classroom just does not suit their type of brain. Going forward, let’s start brainstorming how we can bring some of this experience back into the classroom in the future to support these kids.


7.5 EggsWill Reappear.

...And toilet paper etc. Where there’s a will, our little country will find a way. Things will get better. We will get a handle on this. Day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute...


I’d love to hear what you’ve learned in the comments below. Please share wit us.

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