Brain Health

11 Self Care Strategies for ADHD Brains in Quarantine

Self care is important for ADHD brains, we know. But in normal times, it is also easy to ignore or delay. During the quarantine, with stress and anxiety pushing in from all sides, ADDitude readers are finding new resolve and new ways to practice self care through connections, therapy, gardening, exercise, and more. Learn about their strategies for maintaining psychological health here.

Senior Woman Potting Plant In Garden At Home
Senior Woman Potting Plant In Garden At Home

Jobs have been lost. Graduations cancelled. Parents left to balance remote work and distance schooling. There isn’t one right way to handle these pandemic-related challenges, but many ADDitude readers are harnessing the power of self care to get through this time.

Recently, we asked, “How are you nurturing your and your family’s mental and emotional wellness during this time? What have you been doing for self-care?” Our readers’ tips range from daily exercise to driving around the neighborhood for “date night.” Here are 11 self care strategies that are working for other ADHD families right now.

1. Connecting with Loved Ones

“My husband and I drive by our parent’s and children’s homes and do ‘porch drops’ of items they need. We can at least chat from the car and see the grandchildren. It helps keep our spirits up.”

We talk about events and news. We also made a COVID-19 time capsule — trying to give our children the ability to share their concerns is healthy.”

“My husband and I have been going on drives around the neighborhood for ‘dates’ a couple times a week to connect without the kids.”

[Use This Free Guide to ADHD Coping Mechanisms]

“We try to do one family activity most nights of the week to help build positive memories and experiences together. We switch off who gets to decide what we are doing so everyone gets a choice.”

“I live alone, but I have tried to videotape myself reading to my grandchildren and sending it to them.”

2. Pursuing Therapy for Coping Skills

“I have increased my telehealth appointments to once a week (from twice a month), and I have been practicing Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).”

“I have started going back to therapy (virtually) for the first time in years! I have the flexibility to schedule appointments since my time is less structured, and I realized I had no reason not to start finding better coping skills.”

[Use This Free Resource To Make Mindfulness Work for You]

3. Spending Time Outside in Nature

“I’ve started a container garden outside my apartment. It’s soothing to water all of the baby plants, and absorb some sunshine while I’m at it.”

“We’ve bought a fire pit for our backyard and do nearly daily fires and star gazing when weather permits.”

“We are ‘staying at home’ out of doors: doing yard work, planting gardens, and expanding our growing landscape. We are feeding birds, planting pollinator seeds, chasing squirrels, and watching deer and smaller critters.”

“I am focusing on growing my vegetables and it’s so rewarding. Nature keeps moving on and it’s not held back by the virus.”

4. Experimenting with Cooking and Trying New Recipes

“I’ve been cooking in bulk because I find it a struggle to cook most days unless I’m full of energy or hyper-focused. Freezing meal portions and taking them out as needed has been great for my partner and me.”

“We’ve been eating fresh, home-cooked meals three times a day.”

“We purchased an Instant Pot and an Air Fryer, which has led to doing lots of experimenting with recipes with my daughter.”

5. Exercise for Structure and Endorphins

“We exercise every day, beginning the day with 20 minutes of yoga/pilates/HIIT. Then we do meditation and three gratitude breaths, followed by one good intention breath.”

“We have been finding it absolutely vital to exercise every day. We take the dog out together in the morning and then either run or do circuits later in the day.”

“Family exercise activities have greatly helped (we love catching the live streaming’s of Dance Church, which is a great cardio workout disguised as a dance party).”

“My son who has ADHD plays basketball in the house with his older brother using a mini basketball and two clothes hampers at either end of our hallway. He also counts the activity toward his gym requirements.”

6. Sewing Masks for Family and Healthcare Workers

“I dusted off my sewing machine and started making fabric masks for myself and some co-workers (and my family) using fun fabrics like Avengers and Star Wars.”

“Sewing masks and scrub caps for people has been very rewarding.”

7. Using Apps For Mindfulness

“I have been more active in mindfulness and emotional well-being apps like Happify. I spend more time doing the modules and really paying attention to how I am answering and progressing through them.”

“We try to listen to mindfulness apps like Insight Timer.”

“I’m using my Calm app for meditation and to help me sleep.”

8. Actively Practice Mindfulness

“Look for the positive and shun the negative. Promote wellness and find ways to deflect unhealthy thinking and redirect conversations and activities into positive motivational teaching moments.”

“I’ve been taking time to think more deeply about the things that bring me joy and am beginning to develop a plan for what I want my life to look like moving forward, including changes I can make in the immediate.”

“I started a bullet journal to help me keep track of my daily goals but also to draw and doodle and let my mind wander.”

9. Practice Setting Boundaries

“I’m setting boundaries for myself: instead of compromising, I have prioritized doing what I know is best for me.”

“I’ve been practicing say no – this has been a big problem in the past, but I’m learning it is not selfish to take care of yourself.”

“I’m giving myself the freedom to not “be perfect”. It’s okay that I’m having a hard time, and I can acknowledge and accept that.”

“I am trying to go easy on myself and let the kids have chill time when they ask for it, otherwise it just back fires.”

“We are taking days off and being careful to consume media that is beautiful and uplifting, not just news or video games.”

“I’m taking time to just be without pressure to perform. If stuff doesn’t get done today, it’s ok. It will get done later and I don’t need to berate myself for not meeting my perfectionist expectations.”

10. Cleaning and Getting Organized

“I’ve been going through my apartment and cleaning out or organizing different spaces that I see everyday and tell myself – it will only take a couple of minutes to do. After I am finished, I feel a sense of accomplishment from making home a place that I want to be at.”

“Keeping a calm and collected house (keeping it tidy and clean) has helped with my family’s sense of normalcy.”

“Even though I can’t remove anything from the house at the moment, I’ve begun going through the Kon Mari method to winnow down my possessions in preparation for my Dad moving in with us.”

11. Sleep More and When You Please

“Go to sleep early and don’t set an alarm clock. Get up when your body tells you to.”

“I am getting plenty of rest by going to bed when I please and getting up when I please.”

[Read This Next: Pandemic Stress Has Upended Life. Maybe an ADHD Coach Can Help.]


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Updated on August 7, 2020

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  1. I wish #11 were possible for me! I have a toddler who wakes up between 5-6am and doesn’t get to sleep until 9pm. I haven’t had to set an alarm clock in almost 3 years because of him, but I also can’t sleep whenever I want and for how long :/

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