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Overwhelmed? Stuck? Spinning your wheels? Try 'The Pause'

Lately, I’ve found myself talking a lot with my ADHD coaching clients about something I call The Pause.

When you’re overwhelmed by all you have to do but can’t land on where to start, you need The Pause.

When your brain is going a million miles an hour and can’t slow down enough to get to work, you need The Pause.

When you’re flitting from task to task, doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that but not really getting anything done, you need The Pause.

When you’ve been hyperfocused on an activity that isn’t serving your best interests and want to switch gears, you need The Pause.

The Pause is vital for people with ADHD. It allows you to take a moment, regroup, figure out what’s next. The Pause isn’t a break. It’s an intentional act designed to interrupt your swirling thoughts long enough to give you the chance to be more strategic with your next move.

During The Pause, you step back and take a slow, deep breath. Then maybe take a couple more ;) Then, in this less frenzied, more mindful state, take stock of your situation. Get curious with yourself. Quietly ask yourself some questions like these …

What do I want right now? What do I need right now?

With each question, continue The Pause and wait for the response to come to you. Trust that it will.

Then ask yourself, “What is one step I could take right now to move forward?”

Pay attention to what pops into your head. Your intuition knows. It might tell you something like …

“Make a list of everything you need to do.” (Most of my clients are surprised to find that it actually decreases their anxiety to have it all written down.)

“Task A is quicker than Project Z, so let me take care of Task A first so I can cross it off the list.”

“Send this email.”

“Send that text.”

“Make that phone call.”

It could be something bigger, it could be something smaller. It just needs to be doable. And after you take that next step, pause again. See what’s next. And next. And next. And when the overwhelm flares anew, simply take another pause. One step at a time, you will see the accomplishments stack up.

Tonight and through tomorrow, during Yom Kippur, I will be taking a long pause. Many pauses, really. To be. To reflect. To consider who I am at this very moment. To create grounded, sacred space to help guide others through one of the most difficult hours of the Yom Kippur day.

Then, I’ll ask myself those questions. I’ll think about what I want and need. I’ll think about what the world wants and needs from me. Talk about overwhelming!

So, in that sacred space, I’ll pause again and ask myself what one step I can take to move forward. Even if it’s a tentative one, that’s OK. It lays the path for the next step. And the next one. And the next. And, hopefully, when I look back next Yom Kippur, I’ll see a long string of pauses and refocused priorities that have added up to a productive and meaningful year.

I wish you many valuable pauses in the days to come.

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