Growing up in the 90s, it wasn't very common to be diagnosed with ADHD, especially as a female. I had lived my entire life, until my mid-30s with undiagnosed ADHD and have relied on a daily routine to help me manage and thrive.
ADHD affects approximately 1.8 million Canadians, and with further understanding, research, diagnosis, and awareness that number increases.
Here are the daily habits that I use to help manage Adult ADHD
I have a few posts about meditation and its benefits. As a yoga and meditation teacher and psychology student, I have studied the effects of meditation and the results are phenomenal. I can personally attest to the difference a daily meditation practice makes for ADHD, and the other quirks that commonly accompany it - such as anxiety, depression, and OCD.
Meditation helps to increase focus and productivity, self-control, managing stress, and brain health and cognitive function.
Meditation can be challenging for most people, let alone someone with Adult ADHD. It is a practice. I cannot stress enough that there is no perfect or correct way to meditate. At first, you will find it challenging to focus and stay "in". But with practice, it becomes easier and you will be able to meditate for longer.
The act of meditation helps you to notice thoughts and allow them to pass through. This practice is great for people with intrusive thoughts, impulsivity, and low self-control. By learning to allow thoughts to pass by without bringing your attention to them, you are better able to allow impulsive and intrusive thoughts to pass through with less power in your daily life.
Meditation is also a stress reducer, which is important since the symptoms of ADHD can be stronger and more influential when the body and mind are experiencing stress.
2. Tidy up
Although it can be challenging to stick to a tidy and not go into full re-organization mode, small tidy up sessions lasting less than 30 minutes a day have helped me to manage my symptoms of ADHD. Having a daily tidying practice also helps me to prevent becoming overwhelmed to the point where I feel I need to tear my entire house apart. If it's already tidy, I am less likely to get hyperfixated and rearrange every item in my home.
Having a tidy and organized home also helps me to focus and remain productive.
3. Get a good night's sleep
It is recommended that you try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. If you're like me and work shiftwork, this can be challenging. I have found that my optimal schedule is to go to sleep between midnight-1pm and wake around 9am. I am able to get my full eight hours of rest and this is when my body naturally wants to fall asleep and wake, without an alarm clock.
In addition to getting a good night's rest, your morning routine can also make an enormous impact on your day. I am not a morning person at all! I like to wake up, drink my coffee, and relax before I get to my day. Then I do a 10-20 minute meditation and write out my to-do list or plan for the day.
That leads to my fourth point.
4. Plan your day
I am a list person. It is the only way I can stay organized and prevent overwhelm or going off on tangents.
I make a list of everything I can possibly think of that I have to, want to, or could do that day. Then I rank them in order of priority. I take the top 3 things and those are the tasks that I get done first. Once those are done, I can pick off the others one by one.
I recently heard of GoblinTools. This site is a game-changer!! It breaks down a task, step-by-step and makes my brain so happy!
I also use the Any.do app on my phone. It allows me to make categories, prioritize, and repeat daily tasks.
5. Eat every few hours
Not gonna lie... this one's a struggle for me! I've started putting a reminder in the calendar on my phone to remind me to eat. Even as I write this post, I catch myself forgetting to eat. I become so hyperfixated that I realize it's 1pm and I still haven't eaten!
Remember to eat! Your brain needs food because food is fuel. If you don't have fuel, your cognitive function is compromised and your symptoms will increase.
I ate, and I'm back! The next daily habit is to exercise or get some form of physical activity. Go for a walk, do yoga, anything that will get your blood pumping will help you to focus. The endorphins will also help you to feel happier, less anxious, and less overwhelmed.
7. Celebrate your victories
At the end of your day, journal or even just lay in bed and think about what you did well that day. Don't focus on the mistakes or what you did wrong, think about what went well and what you accomplished. It could be 'I exercised', or 'I took the first step towards a project I've been procrastinating on'. No victory is too small.
8. Remember that tomorrow is a new day
Before you go to bed, remember that tomorrow is a new day and a new opportunity. If you missed a habit or got distracted, it's okay! You did your best for today and you get to try again tomorrow. And the more that you practice and do these tasks, the sooner they become habits. And once they become habits, they require less mental energy and focus to accomplish them. They just become a part of your day and you notice when they don't happen. Just continue on and start again tomorrow after a good night's rest.
I hope that these tips help you as they have helped me. ADHD can be overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. Remain kind and compassionate toward yourself, and be proud of what you accomplish with your special neurodivergent brain. If you ever get discouraged, just think about how boring life would be without it.