How ADHD Interferes with Self Care

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You know that I’m always telling your to take care of yourself – eat a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, exercise, and get enough sleep – for starters.

And I know that you have the best intentions of doing just that.

But intentions and actions are two different things. Sometimes you don’t take very good care of yourself.

Did you know that your ADHD may be sabotaging your efforts?

It’s true. Many of our ADHD symptoms can get in the way of taking care of ourselves.

Let’s look at getting enough sleep. I think that’s a big one for many of us, me included.

How does your ADHD interfere with that?

That’s an easy one.

You have trouble transitioning from one thing to another, like going from being awake to being asleep, or vice versa. You’re tired, you go to bed, and then your mind starts racing with a thousand different thoughts.

Or you have some things that absolutely must get done before the day is over. Never mind that it’s close to midnight and the day really is over, you’re determined to get them done before you go to bed.

You either didn’t allow enough time during the day to get them done, you procrastinated about doing them, or you were waiting until the “right” time to do them (meaning everyone else is in bed).

OK. What about eating a healthy diet? How does your ADHD interfere with that?

Well, believe it or not, but the act of writing out a week’s worth of meals and then making out the grocery list, going to the store and buying that stuff and then getting it home….. are you tired yet? Actually, what I was going to say is that that entire process takes a lot of brain work that goes on behind the scenes.

There’s a whole bunch of cognitive functions that go into something as everyday as making dinner and buying food.

Your brain likes to do it’s own thing sometimes when it comes to cognitive functioning. And so what is perceived as a simple task is really more complicated than it seems when you have ADHD.


Wow that’s a big one. There are people who love going to the gym and then there’s us. Even if we’re just exercising for the benefits it has on our ADHD, we still have to motivate ourselves to do it.

This goes back to that thing about making transitions. In this case, you’re transitioning from whatever you’re doing (Pinterest) to what you should be doing (going to the gym).

Think about how transitioning affects sleep; it makes it harder to go to sleep and harder to wake up.

If you’re tired, at some point your body will win and you will fall asleep. But what about the other end of that, when you have to get up? How much will power does it take you to stop hitting the snooze button and just get up?

The same thing happens when you’re supposed to be exercising. It’s not something that you really want to do, so you keep hitting the snooze button when you think of it.

And what about drinking enough water? That should be easy, right?

Well, yes, but. Let’s call on our old friends forgetful and distracted for this one.

It isn’t that you purposefully don’t want to drink the water. You forget to, you forgot how much you already drank, it just slips your mind. Sometimes you may think you have had all of your water when you haven’t.

Now that you know how your ADHD symptoms can sabotage your best intentions, you should be able to find some ways to get around them.

Just because I’ve given you some reasons why your ADHD interferes with doing the right thing for your body doesn’t give you an excuse not to do it.

Come on. You wouldn’t let your kid get away with a thing like that. 😉

Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle is the writer of and the Podcast host for An ADD Woman.

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