20 Tips for Managing ADHD
Los Angeles Christian Counseling
This article will offer tips for helping those with ADHD thrive. If you or someone you love has this, hopefully, some of these will help. Don’t try them all at once. Read the list, see which feels best to you and start with that. Some will not be right for you or your loved one, and that’s ok. Everyone is different and needs different things. Find what works for you and let the rest go without guilt.
20 Tips for Managing ADHD
Even a quick 10-minute movement break can provide an extra boost of focus and burn off energy. Try out a variety of exercise practices and see what works best. Give activities like Zumba, Jazzercise, martial arts, and kickboxing a consideration. These use your body and muscles in a unique way which can help the brain. Even turning on music and giving yourself a good solid dance break can help!
2. Fresh air
If you’re having a tough time focusing, try stepping out on the porch and breathing deeply. If there is time to get in a walk or head to your nearest natural area, then do so. But a quick breath of fresh air and a change of scenery can be a great reset. If your mind needs something to pay attention to, count plants, birds, or shades of green.
3. Frequent changes
The ADHD brain does best with frequent changes in activity, position, location, etc. Give yourself change every thirty minutes at the most. These can come from the other items on this list too. Many folks report that changing their workstation daily or weekly can help them to focus better.
4. Use a timer
Remember the old-fashioned kitchen timers Grandma used for baking? Those can be a huge productivity tool for you. Choose one thing to focus on. Then, pick a length of time – twenty-five minutes is good – and set the timer. For the next twenty-five minutes, focus only on that one thing.If you finish before the timer is up, you get free time until your session is over. Or you can move on to the next thing on your To-Do list. When the timer goes off, walk away from what you’re doing for at least five minutes. Get some movement, a snack, some air – whatever you need – then come back and focus for another twenty-five minutes.
5. Rethink your workspace
Don’t sit down and try to do all your work while sitting still. Get a height-adjustable or standing desk or get a ball to sit on.
6. Involve your senses
The senses in an ADHD person are often more acute. Involve your senses when you need to focus or when you need your brain to reset. Pause and think about what you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. This is also a fantastic way to help interrupt panic and anxiety.
7. Dry skin brushing
A dry skin brush is a brush with coarse bristles. It is brushed on the skin by yourself or by someone else. The purpose is to provide physical stimulation and activate nerves. This can calm the nervous system and the mind. There are many ways to do this and lots of tutorials online.
Cultivating a yoga practice helps not only the body but also the mind. It’s an excellent way to learn different focusing techniques and to give your mind a break from thinking.
A schedule may seem like your enemy. You’ve tried to make, and stick, to a schedule before. Try it again. Enlist the help of a counselor and get yourself some accountability to stick to your schedule. It will not only help you but will help those around you to stick to what needs to be done.
10. Break things down into smaller chunks
Take your to-do list and break every item down into more manageable chunks. For example, instead of “publish blog,” you’ll want to list out every step in the order they need to be done. Then all you need to focus on is one thing at a time which will help reduce overwhelm.
11. Make time for play
This one is not just for kids. Adults need time to play too! Permit yourself to enjoy your favorite hobbies and pastimes. Get to the park and play pickleball or shoot some baskets. Grab out the dusty deck of cards and play a round of solitaire. Build a puzzle. Create something beautiful. You can even use your five-minute breaks to play with some modeling clay or build with blocks. Your brain will thank you for taking the time to play!
12. Start with success
Set yourself up for success by starting with something you know you can succeed in. This can be especially helpful for children in a classroom or homework setting. Give them something you know is too easy for them and they’ll conquer without effort, stress, or strain.
This sets their brains up in an “I can do this” mode instead of starting with something taxing that sets the brain up in a stress mode. Adults can do this too. Start your to-do list with whatever the easiest and most successful task will be for you.
13. Plan and overestimate your time
This goes along with setting a schedule. We all know the struggle; things take longer than we want them to. Give yourself plenty of buffer time. You may not need it all, but you’ll reduce your frustration and stress drastically by doing so.
14. Keep things organized
Have a place for everything and keep everything in its place. Buy yourself a label maker and a bunch of containers if you need to. Keep your space as organized as you can. Set a timer before lunch and before dinner for fifteen minutes. Use that time to organize and tidy.
15. Have a plan for the unpredictableGet yourself plans in place for emergencies and illnesses. The ADHD brain can struggle under pressure and stress. Know ahead of time what to do and how to do it. Practice, put things in writing, and revisit them from time to time.
16. Monitor what you eat
The things we eat impact how our minds work. Consider keeping a food diary. Record what you eat for each meal. Check in a couple of times a day and record how your focus has been. You may find connections between some of the things you eat and your ability to focus.
Living with ADHD can be frustrating and emotional. Working with a counselor can help you to process the mental impact of living with this condition. Your counselor can also help you produce tools for coping and can even go through this list with you to figure out where to start and how to incorporate these ideas.
Most people breathe too shallow and too slow. Try breathwork techniques such as box breathing, alternate nostril breathing, or breath prayers. They can calm the mind and bring focus.
19. Make things fun
Your brain wants a lot of change and a lot of fun. Whenever you can, make things fun! Turn on music and dance while you wash dishes. Make your home fun with decorations. Bring in fun however you are able.
20. Have a support person
Find either someone else with ADHD or someone whom you deeply trust. Shoot them a text or ask to get together when you’re struggling to focus. Or ask them to check in with you throughout the day to see what ways you may need to shift to improve your day.
Hopefully, some of these tips will be helpful for you or those you love. Remember, ADHD doesn’t have to be kryptonite – you can see the world and complete tasks in a unique way. It can be your superpower if you learn to work with it appropriately.
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