How I cope with ADHD in a virtual setting


Riley Unekis

Many students struggle with ADHD during virtual learning.

By Nadia Sanburn, Co-Online Editor in Chief

Managing my ADHD during online classes has been tough, but I’ve come up with some coping mechanisms to make it easier on myself. Coming up with these tips early on helped me prepare myself for my entire semester online, since I’m choosing to not go hybrid.

First, I always make sure to attend class anywhere but my bed. I’ve found that if I’m snuggled up in my blankets, my mind drifts quite easily and I find it a lot harder to focus on what I’m doing. It does get pretty cold in my room, though, so I usually have a blanket at my desk and that works well. 

Another thing I do is make sure to keep my workspace neat and organized. If there’s papers and notebooks everywhere, I struggle to find what I need, and things are often misplaced. Although my desk does get cluttered sometimes, I always try to start off the week with it cleaned up. 

I’ve found that having a couple basic items near my desk really help to keep me focused. I like having a granola bar or some kind of snack on hand, in case I get hungry. A couple things to fidget with are also great to have nearby. Whether that be some scratch paper and a pencil or some embroidery thread to make bracelets, it helps when I have some stimulation besides the screen in front of me.

I try to keep the environment in my room really peaceful, so that it’s somewhere I enjoy being. I usually have a candle or my essential oil diffuser going so that it smells nice, and my fan on a low setting for some background noise. I try to keep things tidy, as well. That includes clearing dishes periodically, keeping clothes off the floor, etc. 

Taking breaks is something I’ve found super helpful too. If I have a few spare minutes, I’ll go make myself a cup of hot tea or step outside to get some sun with my dogs. Just a couple minutes away from my screen to stretch and take a breather does wonders. 

Something that’s been pivotal in keeping on top of all my work is to-do lists. Being able to cross off things when I get done really helps motivate me to work, and also helps organize the thoughts in my brain into something tangible, that I then use as a reference for getting stuff done. It’s simple, but I think it’s the mechanism that’s helped me the most. 

Obviously, virtual classes are not ideal, but using these coping mechanisms have really helped my well-being and grades during remote learning. I recommend trying them out if you’re struggling, even if you don’t have ADHD.