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Self-Care for People with ADHD: How to Thrive with Your Unique Brain

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects how you think, feel, and act. It can make it hard to focus, stay organized, manage your emotions, and cope with stress. But it can also give you strengths like creativity, curiosity, and resilience.

Living with ADHD can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to stop you from living a fulfilling and happy life. In fact, you can use your ADHD as a source of empowerment and inspiration. All you need is some self-care.

Self-care is not selfish or indulgent. It’s a way of taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It’s about honoring your needs, respecting your limits, and celebrating your achievements. It’s about finding what works for you and your unique brain.

In this blog post, we’ll share some tips and strategies on how to practice self-care for people with ADHD. We’ll cover topics like:

  • How to reframe your idea of failure and success
  • How to challenge your negative thoughts and boost your self-esteem
  • How to focus on gratitude and positivity
  • How to journal your thoughts and feelings
  • How to create a routine and structure that suits your lifestyle
  • How to set realistic and attainable goals
  • How to manage your time and energy
  • How to cope with stress and anxiety
  • How to find your community and support system
  • How to have fun and enjoy yourself

We’ll also answer some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about self-care for people with ADHD. Let’s get started!

How to Reframe Your Idea of Failure and Success

One of the most common challenges that people with ADHD face is dealing with failure. Whether it’s forgetting an important deadline, losing your keys, or making a mistake at work, you may feel like you’re constantly failing at everything.

But failure is not a reflection of your worth or ability. It’s a natural and inevitable part of life. Everyone fails at some point, even the most successful people in the world. The difference is how they handle it.

Instead of seeing failure as something to avoid or be ashamed of, try to see it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Failure can teach you valuable lessons, help you discover new possibilities, and motivate you to improve yourself.

Here are some ways to reframe your idea of failure and success:

  • Recognize that failure is not personal. It doesn’t mean that you’re bad, stupid, or incompetent. It just means that you’re human and that you’re trying something new or challenging.
  • Accept that failure is temporary. It doesn’t define you or your future. It’s just a setback that you can overcome with time, effort, and support.
  • Learn from your failure. Instead of dwelling on what went wrong, focus on what you can do better next time. Ask yourself: What did I learn from this experience? What can I change or improve? How can I prevent this from happening again?
  • Celebrate your success. Don’t let your failures overshadow your achievements. Remember to acknowledge and appreciate your progress, no matter how big or small. Give yourself credit for your efforts, skills, and strengths.
  • Be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up or compare yourself to others. Treat yourself with compassion and respect. Remind yourself that you’re doing your best and that you’re worthy of love and happiness.

How to Challenge Your Negative Thoughts and Boost Your Self-Esteem

Another common challenge that people with ADHD face is dealing with negative thoughts. You may have a tendency to criticize yourself, doubt your abilities, or expect the worst. These thoughts can affect your mood, confidence, and performance.

But negative thoughts are not facts. They’re just opinions or assumptions that you’ve formed based on your experiences, beliefs, or emotions. They’re not always accurate or helpful. You can challenge them and replace them with more positive and realistic ones.

Here are some ways to challenge your negative thoughts and boost your self-esteem:

  • Identify your negative thoughts. Notice when you’re having them and write them down. For example, you may think: “I’m such a mess. I can’t do anything right.”
  • Evaluate your negative thoughts. Ask yourself: Is this thought true? Is it based on evidence or feelings? Is it helpful or harmful? How does it make me feel? For example, you may realize that your thought is not true, because you have done many things right in the past. It’s based on feelings, not facts. It’s harmful, because it makes you feel sad and hopeless.
  • Replace your negative thoughts with positive ones. Find a more balanced and constructive way to think about yourself and your situation. For example, you may think: “I’m not a mess. I’m a human being who makes mistakes sometimes. I can learn from them and do better next time.”
  • Repeat your positive thoughts. Say them out loud, write them down, or use affirmations. For example, you may say: “I’m capable and competent. I have many strengths and talents. I can achieve my goals.”
  • Seek feedback and support. Talk to someone you trust, like a friend, family member, or therapist. Ask them for their perspective and advice. Listen to their compliments and encouragement. For example, they may say: “You’re not a mess. You’re a wonderful person. I’m proud of you and I’m here for you.”

How to Focus on Gratitude and Positivity

One of the most powerful ways to practice self-care for people with ADHD is to focus on gratitude and positivity. Gratitude is the act of being thankful for what you have, rather than what you lack. Positivity is the act of being optimistic and hopeful, rather than pessimistic and fearful.

Gratitude and positivity can have many benefits for your well-being. They can help you:

  • Improve your mood and happiness
  • Reduce your stress and anxiety
  • Enhance your relationships and social skills
  • Boost your self-esteem and confidence
  • Increase your motivation and productivity
  • Strengthen your immune system and physical health

Here are some ways to focus on gratitude and positivity:

  • Keep a gratitude journal. Every day, write down at least three things that you’re grateful for. They can be big or small, simple or complex, personal or universal. For example, you may be grateful for your family, your pet, your favorite song, or the sunshine.
  • Express your gratitude. Every day, tell someone that you appreciate them and why. It can be a friend, a family member, a colleague, or a stranger. For example, you may say: “Thank you for being such a great friend. You always make me laugh and feel supported.”
  • Practice mindfulness. Every day, spend some time being present and aware of your surroundings. Notice the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and sensations that you experience. Appreciate the beauty and wonder of the world. For example, you may notice: “The sky is so blue and clear today. The birds are singing and the flowers are blooming. I feel the breeze on my skin and the sun on my face.”
  • Find the silver lining. Every day, try to find something positive or good in every situation, even if it’s challenging or unpleasant. Look for the opportunities, lessons, or benefits that you can gain from it. For example, you may think: “Even though I failed the test, I learned a lot from studying. I can use this feedback to improve my skills and prepare for the next one.”
  • Have fun and enjoy yourself. Every day, do something that makes you happy and brings you joy. It can be a hobby, a passion, or a leisure activity. For example, you may do: “I love reading books. They transport me to different worlds and inspire me to imagine new possibilities. I’m going to read a chapter of my favorite book today.”

How to Journal Your Thoughts and Feelings

One of the most effective ways to practice self-care for people with ADHD is to journal your thoughts and feelings. Journaling is the act of writing down what’s on your mind and in your heart. It can help you:

  • Clarify your thoughts and feelings
  • Express your emotions and needs
  • Release your stress and tension
  • Solve your problems and challenges
  • Understand yourself and others better
  • Track your progress and growth

Here are some ways to journal your thoughts and feelings:

  • Choose a format that works for you. You can use a notebook, a computer, a phone, or any other device that you prefer. You can write in sentences, paragraphs, bullet points, or any other style that you like. You can use words, pictures, symbols, or any other form of expression that you enjoy.
  • Set a time and place that suits you. You can journal whenever and wherever you want. You can journal in the morning, in the evening, or anytime in between. You can journal at home, at work, at school, or anywhere else that you feel comfortable. You can journal for a few minutes, a few hours, or as long as you need.
  • Write whatever comes to your mind. You don’t have to follow any rules or guidelines. You don’t have to worry about grammar, spelling, or punctuation. You don’t have to censor or edit yourself. You don’t have to share your journal with anyone else. You can write whatever you want, however you want, and as much as you want.
  • Use prompts or questions to guide you. If you’re not sure what to write about, you can use prompts or questions to help you get started. You can find them online, in books, or create your own. For example, you can write about:
    • What are you feeling right now?
    • What are you grateful for today?
    • What are you proud of yourself for?
    • What are you struggling with or worried about?
    • What are you looking forward to or excited about?
    • What are you curious or passionate about?
    • What are you learning or improving on?
    • What are you dreaming or hoping for?
  • Review and reflect on your journal. After you finish writing, you can read what you wrote and see how you feel. You can also look back at your previous entries and notice any patterns, changes, or insights. You can ask yourself:
    • How did journaling make me feel?
    • What did I discover or realize about myself or others?
    • What did I accomplish or overcome today?
    • What did I enjoy or appreciate today?
    • What did I learn or grow from today?
    • What can I do differently or better tomorrow?

How to Create a Routine and Structure that Suits Your Lifestyle

One of the most helpful ways to practice self-care for people with ADHD is to create a routine and structure that suits your lifestyle. Routine and structure are the act of having a consistent and predictable schedule and plan for your daily activities. They can help you:

  • Manage your time and tasks more efficiently and effectively
  • Reduce your stress and anxiety by knowing what to expect and what to do
  • Increase your focus and concentration by minimizing distractions and interruptions
  • Boost your motivation and productivity by setting and achieving your goals
  • Enhance your health and wellness by maintaining your habits and routines

Here are some ways to create a routine and structure that suits your lifestyle:

  • Start with the basics. Before you create your routine and structure, make sure that you have the essentials covered. These include:
    • Getting enough sleep. Aim for at least seven to nine hours of quality sleep every night. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and screens before bedtime. Make your bedroom comfortable, dark, quiet, and cool.
    • Eating well. Eat a balanced and nutritious diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. Avoid processed, sugary, and fatty foods that can worsen your ADHD symptoms. Drink enough water and limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine.
    • Exercising regularly. Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, three times a week. Choose an activity that you enjoy and that suits your fitness level. Exercise can improve your mood, energy, focus, and memory. It can also reduce your stress, anxiety, and depression.
    • Taking your medication. If you’re prescribed medication for your ADHD, make sure that you take it as directed by your doctor. Don’t skip, change, or stop your dosage without consulting your doctor. Follow the instructions and precautions carefully. Monitor your side effects and benefits.
  • Plan your day ahead. Every night, before you go to bed, take some time to plan your next day. Write down your tasks, appointments, events, and goals for the day. Prioritize them according to their urgency and importance. Estimate how much time you need for each task and assign a deadline. Break down large or complex tasks into smaller and simpler steps. Use a planner, a calendar, a to-do list, or an app to organize your plan. Review your plan in the morning and make any adjustments if needed.
  • Follow your plan as much as possible. Every day, try to stick to your plan and follow your routine and structure. Start with the most important or difficult tasks first, when you have the most energy and focus. Use timers, alarms, reminders, or notifications to keep track of your time and deadlines. Check off your tasks as you complete them and reward yourself for your progress. Be flexible and adaptable if something unexpected or urgent comes up. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t finish everything or if you make mistakes. Just do your best and learn from your experience.
  • Evaluate your plan and make improvements. Every week, take some time to review your plan and see how well it worked for you. Ask yourself:
    • Did I accomplish my goals and tasks for the week?
    • Did I follow my routine and structure as planned?
    • Did I have enough time and energy for everything?
    • Did I face any challenges or difficulties?
    • Did I enjoy or appreciate anything?
    • What can I do better or differently next week?


Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about self-care for people with ADHD:

  • Q: Why is self-care important for people with ADHD?
  • A: Self-care is important for people with ADHD because it can help them cope with their symptoms, improve their well-being, and achieve their potential. ADHD can affect many aspects of your life, such as your work, school, relationships, health, and happiness. By taking care of yourself, you can reduce the negative impact of ADHD and enhance the positive aspects of it.
  • Q: How can I practice self-care for people with ADHD if I’m busy or overwhelmed?
  • A: You can practice self-care for people with ADHD even if you’re busy or overwhelmed by starting small and simple. You don’t have to do everything at once or perfectly. You can choose one or two self-care activities that you can easily fit into your schedule and that you enjoy doing. You can also ask for help or support from others, such as your friends, family, or professionals.
  • Q: How can I practice self-care for people with ADHD if I’m bored or unmotivated?
  • A: You can practice self-care for people with ADHD even if you’re bored or unmotivated by finding ways to make it fun and interesting. You can try new or different self-care activities that challenge or stimulate you. You can also add some variety or novelty to your routine and structure by changing your environment, time, or method. You can also set some goals or rewards for yourself to keep you motivated and accountable.
  • Q: How can I practice self-care for people with ADHD if I’m feeling guilty or selfish?
  • A: You can practice self-care for people with ADHD without feeling guilty or selfish by realizing that it’s not a luxury or a waste of time. It’s a necessity and a priority. By taking care of yourself, you’re not only benefiting yourself, but also others. You’re improving your mood, energy, focus, and performance. You’re also being a better friend, family member, colleague, or partner. You’re showing yourself and others that you matter and that you deserve respect and happiness.

I hope you liked this blog post and found it useful. If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, please feel free to share them with me. Thank you for reading and have a great day! 

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