Are you looking to create some self-care rituals in your life? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
We all know that exercise is good for our physical health. But if you have ADHD, there are unique benefits that apply whenever you exercise.
For one, the increase in dopamine and norepinephrine production from exercising can help boost focus and attention in people with ADHD. Exercise is especially helpful for people who often feel symptoms of restlessness or fidgeting, since it provides a healthy outlet for that energy. It also helps to regulate the amygdala, which is responsible for our emotional responses. This helps people with ADHD who struggle with impulsivity and intense emotions.
If you have ADHD, you might find that doing the same type of exercise all the time gets boring and causes you to lose focus and motivation. For that reason, it’s a good idea to rotate through several different types of exercises throughout the week to keep things interesting. You might play a sport on Monday, lift weights on Wednesday, do yoga on Friday, and go for a run over the weekend. Both aerobic and calming exercises can be beneficial for people with ADHD, so consider incorporating a bit of both.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Just like exercise, we all know that eating healthy is an important part of our overall health. However, the reason that people with ADHD often struggle with this is a lot more complex than simply preferring the taste of pizza to salads. ADHD can cause a number of food-related challenges, like:
- Forgetting to eat when distracted by other things
- Trouble with meal planning and making lists for grocery shopping
- Time management challenges when trying to cook meals from scratch
- Cravings for dopamine from sugar and carbs
Making homemade meals involves a lot of executive function skills, and it starts well before you’re actually cooking. It also requires decision making to pick out what to eat, then planning for grocery shopping, etc. That’s why it can be easy for people with ADHD to get discouraged about eating healthy. Even if they want to enjoy healthy, homemade meals, their ADHD symptoms can make it pretty difficult to do. As a result, they might turn to fast food, frozen meals, and other dishes that are much more convenient but certainly less healthy.
So, how can you eat healthier foods on a more regular schedule when you have ADHD? The key is to find helpful solutions that minimize the many tasks that can make cooking from scratch feel overwhelming. Here are some of the top tips to try:
- Try a grocery delivery service. You can simply click on what you need and have it delivered rather than getting distracted in the store.
- Make large batches and eat leftovers. Don’t force yourself to try to cook homemade meals every day. Instead, set aside one or two days a week to make larger batches of a dish that you can enjoy for several days as leftovers. You can even make mega batches of things like soup and freeze portions to eat later on.
- Create a list of easy, go-to recipes. You don’t have to be ultra-creative when it comes to cooking. There’s nothing wrong with having a list of 5-10 recipes that you enjoy on repeat. The more you make them, the more familiar the recipe becomes, which also makes cooking from scratch easier.
There are a lot of claims out there that certain types of food can help treat ADHD symptoms. However, these claims aren’t backed up by enough scientific research to prove that they actually work. So while you can certainly try some of these tactics — like avoiding sugars and artificial colors — to see if they help, what’s more important is simply taking steps to make sure you’re eating healthier foods overall and sticking to a fairly regular meal schedule.
Establish a Routine
Sometimes the best ritual when you have ADHD is just sticking to a regular routine. If you struggle with staying organized or getting easily distracted, it’s all too easy for some important things to slip through the cracks — including your own self-care. By creating more structure in your day, you can worry less about forgetting things since you’ll have all the essentials built into your routine.
For example, you might have short, manageable routines to start and end each day. Here’s an example of what that might look like:
- Morning routine:
- Get up at 7am and brush teeth
- Do a quick 20-minute workout
- Take a shower
- Eat a healthy breakfast
- Night routine:
- Start screen-free time at 9pm
- Brush teeth and wash face
- Journal, meditate, or read a book
- Go to sleep by 11pm
You can adjust these routines to suit your schedule and your needs. And if it helps, keep a list of tasks for your routine handy so you don’t forget anything. The key is to make sure you incorporate things that are good for your overall wellness.
For example, the routine detailed above ensures that you’ll get a healthy breakfast and some exercise every morning. And in the evening, you’ll establish good sleep hygiene. All of these things can help make your ADHD symptoms more manageable.
Creating a self-care routine may look a little different depending on what works best for you. In addition to the suggestions above, you might find that things like bubble baths every Sunday night or regular coffee dates with a friend do wonders for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Take time to nurture these rituals to help keep your ADHD symptoms more manageable.