ADHD & Self-Care: Exploring What Works For You
Self-Care Should Be For Everyone
In our fast-paced world, self-care has become a buzzword that emphasizes the
importance of taking care of our physical and mental well-being. For most of us, practicing
self-care can come naturally, like recognizing when your body or mind needs a break. However, for those with ADHD, taking the time to step out of the everyday hustle can prove to be challenging in more ways than one.
People who live with ADHD often understand how their symptoms present themselves in their everyday lives, but they rarely have the chance to recognize how those same symptoms could be holding them back from practicing intentional self-care.
Sometimes self-care looks like holding yourself accountable for an assignment or regulating
your emotions in a stressful situation. It may not be the glitz and glam that the media portrays as self-care, but utilizing the tools below may make the difference between thriving and surviving.
9 Ways To Practice Self-Care With ADHD
1. The Executive Function Dilemma
ADHD often brings along executive functioning difficulties, making tasks like planning,
organizing, and managing time feel like climbing Mount Everest. Self-care routines require
structure and organization, which can be hard for someone with ADHD.
Solution: Simplify your routines. Break them into smaller, manageable steps. Use tools like to-do lists and reminders on your phone to stay on track.
2. The Impulsivity Trap
Impulsivity and ADHD often go together. This means that even with the best intentions, people with ADHD may find themselves making impulsive decisions that undermine self-care efforts, like skipping meals or putting off important self-care tasks.
Solution: Create a pause button. Before acting impulsively, take a moment to reflect on whether your decision aligns with your self-care goals.
3. Time: Friend or Foe?
ADHD often distorts time perception and management. This can lead to poor planning, missed assignments, or inadequate time allocation for self-care activities.
Solution: Lean on technology. Use calendars and scheduling apps to keep track of the things
that slip your mind the most while still finding time to pencil in some self-care activities.
4. The Restless Dilemma
For those with the hyperactive-impulsive subtype of ADHD, excess energy and restlessness can make relaxation and activities that promote self-care, like meditation or mindfulness exercises, seem boring for long periods.
Solution: Embrace physical activity as part of your self-care routine. Exercise can help channel that energy and improve your focus.
5. Emotional Rollercoaster
Emotional regulation can be a struggle for individuals with ADHD. When emotions run high,
motivation and the ability to participate in self-care activities can be pushed to the back burner.
Solution: Develop emotional coping strategies, like deep breathing or journaling, to regain control when emotions threaten your self-care routine.
6. Creating a Soothing Environment
Some individuals with ADHD have heightened sensory sensitivities, making it challenging to find a calm and comfortable environment for self-care activities.
Solution: Experiment with different sensory experiences, like soothing music or calming scents, to create an engaging and peaceful atmosphere for self-care.
7. The Self-Monitoring Challenge
Keeping track of progress and adhering to routines can be challenging for those with ADHD. It's easy to lose sight of your self-care goals.
Solution: Consider tracking your self-care journey with activities that require you to be present in the moment. Write down your goals or setbacks through journaling or utilize an iPad to start a commemorative digital scrapbook.
8. Breaking Free from Negative Self-Perception
ADHD can lead to negative self-perceptions, causing self-doubt and a lack of motivation to
engage in self-care.
Solution: Practice self-compassion. Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small or big
they may seem to you. Remind yourself that self-care is essential for your well-being.
9. The Stigma and Misunderstanding
ADHD often faces a lack of understanding and stigma, making it harder for individuals to
Solution: Seek support from healthcare professionals, therapists, or support groups. Surround yourself with a supportive community (in person or online) that understands your unique challenges.
You Always Deserve To Feel At Peace
In the end, while practicing self-care with ADHD may present its unique set of challenges, it is far from impossible. With patience, self-compassion, and a toolbox of strategies tailored to your specific needs, you can navigate these challenges and unlock the benefits of self-care for your well-being. Remember, your journey toward self-care is a personal one, and it is okay to seek help and adapt as you go along.