How to Prioritize Self-Care When You Have ADHD

How to Prioritize Self-Care When You Have ADHDSelf-Care is all about knowing what your needs are, then making sure those needs are met. It’s care for you, by you. A lot of adults with ADHD are good at looking after other people, but not so good at treating themselves with the same care. However, self-care is essential for your physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Some of the emotional reasons why ADHDers don’t put themselves at the top of their priority list includes:

– Guilt
– Feeling undeserving

Feeling overwhelmed or that there is no time, are examples of practical reasons why self-care is not done.

Impulsiveness, problems forward planning and poor memory are examples of why having ADHD makes practicing self-care difficult.

By not looking after yourself, you will become physically depleted, emotionally exhausted, resentful, depressed or angry; so your ADHD gets much worse.

Self-care means different things for different people. However, here is a list of the basic self-care categories:

1) Health

  •  Visit doctor(s), dentist for regular check-ups.
  •  Check with a psychologist to address emotional upsets
  •  Exercise every day is best when you have ADHD
  •  Eat healthy ADHD friendly foods
  •  Take supplements
  •  Get 8 hours of sleep a night

2) People

  •  Spend time with people who respect and appreciate you
  •  Have healthy and respectful boundaries

3) Communication

  •  Feel comfortable saying no to things

4) Transport

  •  Have a safe car to drive in
  •  Follow the speed limit

5) Time Management

  •  Have a realistically schedule, so you can arrive on time for appointments

6) Finances

7) Happiness

  •  Spend time doing things that are fun for you: hobbies, etc.
  •  Wake up, looking forward to the day

8) Personal Grooming

  •  Book regular hair dresser appointments
  •  Look neat and tidy Ex. nails, shave
  •  Have clean and presentable clothes (without holes) to wear

If you are struggling with self-care at the moment, now is a great time to develop your skills. Making self-care a priority runs much deeper than picking up the phone to book a hair dresser’s appointment. It also involves an awareness of what makes you tick and knowing you are an important person to deserve these things.

You might need to:

  •  Work with a therapist or coach to help improve your self-esteem or improve your assertiveness in order to say no to people.
  •  Learn new skills like budgeting or time-keeping; which could help you improve your self-care.
  •  Work on managing your ADHD.
  •  Or a mixture of all 3!

Rather than doing a complete overhaul now (which can be difficult), or waiting for a ‘perfect’ time in the future (which never comes), try to make upgrades in small increments.

  1. Sit down and write a long list of all the ways you could improve your self-care.
  2. Look at the list and see what you could do that is easy. Maybe take an Omega 3 supplement, or get your hair cut every 2 months rather than every 3 months.
  3. Then, gradually do more and more of the things on your list until you are practicing extreme self-care!


How do you practice Self Care? Tell me 1 (or more) way you look after yourself in the comment section below!



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  1. Hi Ed!
    That’s great you ordered Untapped Brilliance! hope you are enjoying it.
    Dr Amen’s book ‘Healing ADD’ is fascinating isn’t it?
    You are right you don’t need to be ‘perfect’ in fact I find that perfection is a bit boring and definitely over rated!!!

  2. Ed says:

    My conviction is that the portal to ADD healing is awareness. I look forward to getting Jacqui’s paperback just ordered. It will be second book on the subject I (will have) read. The first…to date the most important and life changing…was “Healing ADD” by Daniel Amen. The correlation of ADD response to psychotropic drugs is controversial…I would not do that myself. But the connection between activity/over activity of well- defined parts of the brain (prefrontal cortex for example) is compelling and fascinating. The miracle of the human mind is that part that oversees the rest and says without judgement “hmmm there’s a problem here let’s fix that.” Awareness is the catalyst of plasticity.
    The battle is never over but it gets much better. The negative self image and ugly memories remain in their storage place and still surface on occasion with the old destructive force…I want to die, if only I had a suspension bridge in the backyard. But when I wake up, everything is in perspective again. My many responsibilities are my safe haven and I can only carry them out if I am well. I learned that the love I feel deprived of certainly in part because I have been a little weird all my life…how costly ADD has been…is vey much made up for by knowing that there are children who count on me and that a good outcome for them is important to me at a visceral level. My motto for many years was this ” if I were organized I would be dangerous.” Well, baby, there has been a partial fulfillment of that promise to myself and it feels good. You don’t have to perfect. A little goes a long way. Good luck and best regards to all and many thanks to Jacqui for her weekly newsletter.

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