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ADHD & the Infamous Waiting Mode



Have you ever been stuck in traffic and had to wait before you could drive to get home and relax?


Do you dread the time between waking up in the morning and when an appointment actually occurs?


Of course!


Every one of us experiences this from time to time. It is a normal human experience for us to get frustrated or anxious during this period of waiting. 


For some people, though, this period of waiting can cause a list of issues. 


If you are dealing with the issues listed below, there is help available. You can see an ADHD coach or another mental health professional at Blue Sky Learning. 


Read on to learn more about what waiting mode is, the connections between waiting mode and ADHD, and some coping mechanisms for waiting mode.


What is Waiting Mode?


Waiting is the period between where you are now and the time when you have plans. 

For instance, this could be the period between waking up at 8 am and having an appointment at 5 pm.


Between now and then, some things still need to get done. This could include getting dressed, eating, working, and other tasks. 


For some ADHDers, this gap in time creates a waiting mode. This is when we are so focused on the appointment at 5 pm and what will occur in the appointment, or what we should say, that we become unable to do anything else while waiting for the appointment time to occur. 


Everyone experiences waiting differently, but for some, waiting causes a nervous system breakdown and physical symptoms of anxiety, such as:


  • Brain fog

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Sensory overload

  • Stomach aches

  • Racing heart and sweating

  • Pins and needles

  • Nausea

  • Headaches

  • Rapid breathing

  • and more


The Connection Between ADHD and Waiting Mode


ADHDers normally experience intense emotions and sensory overload while waiting. There is no one clear-cut way as to why ADHDers experience these issues. Every ADHDer also differs in their reasons. 


Despite there being no clear-cut reason, there are some common reasons why waiting mode anxiety occurs. 


This includes:


  • Uncertainty: waiting creates uncertainty for what is to come. You may start to feel like you may be late for something if you don‘t know how long it will take.

  • Time agnosia: this involves difficulty telling how long something is taking. Delays can make the ability to tell time even more difficult.

  • Attention span issues: delays may cause mind wandering, which makes it more difficult to complete other tasks.

  • Emotional dysregulation: delays may cause an overwhelmed nervous system.

Coping With Waiting Mode


If you have stumbled across this blog, I think it is safe to assume that you may also be looking for ways to cope with waiting mode and the common issues that can come along with it. 


Here are some tips put together by neurodivergent individuals and created for neurodivergent folks.


These tips include:


  • Brain dump or a distraction: if waiting is boring or causes anxiety or restlessness, finding something (i.e., a book) to distract you and pass the time may help.

  • Mindfulness: if you do experience emotional dysregulation, try practicing the 5-4-3-2-1 technique or paced breathing.

  • Schedule appointments early in the day: You can avoid or minimize waiting mode by scheduling your appointments at a time when you don‘t have to wait much between waking up and the appointment time.

  • Schedule non-important tasks instead: instead of trying to get important tasks done when in waiting mode, only complete non-important tasks to minimize anxiety.

  • Self-compassion: if you experience anxiety or sensory overload due to waiting, be kind to yourself and understand that this is human and not your fault.

  • Use multiple alarms: waiting mode may create anxiety around missing an appointment. Setting alarms can help remind you and reduce this anxiety.


Book a Free Consultation With Blue Sky Learning


Do you experience the waiting mode issues listed above?


Are you looking for ways to cope with waiting mode and the frustration and anxiety that this causes you?


Book a free 20-minute consultation with one of our expert ADHD coaches to come up with a personalized plan that suits your individual needs. 

 


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