Brain Health

ADHD Fatigue Is a Real (Exhausting) Thing

ADHD is mentally, emotionally, and physically draining. When you feel thoroughly worn out by tough symptoms, recharge with a massage, a medication change, or these other strategies.

A woman getting a head massage to help overcome her ADHD fatigue
Woman with ADHD getting a head massage to recharge brain

I thought ADHD meds were hit or miss. I’d take medication when I remembered to (sometimes) or when I thought they’d help (occasionally).

Then I hit a wall. Work. Family. Politics. More work. I knew I was drowning in ADHD fatigue, so I called my lifeline, Dr. L. He listened closely, changed my meds, and pleaded with me: “Just take them!” And for the first time, I took my medication as prescribed. The difference was astonishing. Within a week, I was bright and chipper. I was me again.

After years of excuses, I awoke to the truth: ADHD requires more than a lick and a promise. It needs a boost now and then, perhaps on a regular basis.

Why ADHD Brains Need to Recharge

It’s like my car battery. If I leave my car lights on overnight, the battery will use all of its energy to keep them burning, but will eventually run out of power. Once I jump-start it, the battery will recharge with regular, smaller “boosts” generated by the engine.

If I permit my ADHD to leave me mentally exhausted, I need a large boost of outside support — in this case, a change of medication. But if I get smaller, regular boosts — from taking my medication every day — I can operate normally (at least, “normally” for me!).

[Free Download: The Ultimate Guide to ADHD Medication]

Simple Ways to Send More Energy to Your Brain

As I thought about it, I realized that I have lots of ADHD boosts. I work with a professional organizer. I have an ADHD coach. I admit to an embarrassing attachment to my labeler and to my wireless headset. I have a key finder on my keys, purse, camera, and cell phone.

Sometimes my ADHD boosts are unintentional. I was having some trouble with my right hip, so I made an appointment with a massage therapist. To my surprise, the twice-a-week massages opened up a new channel for me: I get so much done now. My mind is clearer and more focused. I wouldn’t have guessed that such indulgence could help my ADHD symptoms. But it did.

Join My ADHD Brain Booster Club

So I’ve decided to start my own ADHD Booster Club. Membership is free and open to anyone who has an ADHD brain. Creativity and spontaneity are encouraged. There’s only one rule: Find boosters that work for your ADHD brain.

Perhaps it’s a meditation class or hiring someone to clean your bathrooms. It could be an afternoon nap or a quick run on the treadmill to refocus your mind. Your boosts might include playing with your phone. You might get an alarm clock that jumps off the table, forcing you to chase it.

Boosts can be big — a week at the beach to recharge — or small — 30 seconds of deep breathing to refocus. Even a dishwasher can be an ADHD boost, or the time-honored bubble bath.

So consider this an invitation to join the ADHD Booster Club. Create new, customized boosts for your ADHD brain. There is no shame in needing a boost or two — or 20. Everyone — especially you — deserves support to live a happy life.

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