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with Natalia van Rikxoort, MSW, ACC

How to Recharge and Refocus When You Have ADHD

When you have ADHD, day-to-day activities at home and work can often drain your physical and mental energy. That’s because even seemingly straightforward tasks like paying bills or tidying up the house require sustained attention which can leave you feeling exhausted and depleted. Here are 7 tips to help you recharge and refocus…

1. Watch what you eat: Many ADHDers skip meals and gravitate toward things like caffeine and sugar because it gives them a momentary boost. The trouble is that the surge of energy is usually short-lived and followed by a crash which results in fatigue and brain fog. The general consensus when it comes to having an ADHD-friendly diet is to increase your protein intake and limit consumption of things like caffeine, sugar, and overly processed foods.

2. Get enough sleep: In addition to proper nutrition, your brain needs adequate sleep to function well. The majority of those with ADHD also experience difficulties with sleep. Make it a point to keep a regular sleep schedule- waking up and going to bed at the same time every day- and refrain from engaging in overstimulating activities like surfing the web before bed.

3. Don’t discount exercise: It seems so simple, but don’t underestimate the power of exercise. Numerous studies have shown the positive impact of exercise on the brain, particularly those areas responsible for many ADHD-related challenges. Go for a brisk walk, dance, or hit the gym- whatever gets your blood flowing.

4. Establish systems and routines: People with ADHD tend to resist routines because they seem tedious and boring. But the beauty of routines is that they take the guesswork out of daily life which preserves your precious mental and physical energy. You don’t have to guess where you left your keys or what you need to do before you head out the door to work in the morning.

A few things to keep in mind…

The first is to make sure to keep your systems and routines simple. Don’t add more than five action items to your routine, especially in the beginning. Stick to the basics; anything more will likely end up being a source of frustration and overwhelm.

Second, be patient with yourself. Learning a new way of doing things takes time so cut yourself some slack if you forget a step or two or fall off the wagon completely. Writing out the steps of a new routine and using other visual reminders can help keep you on track until it becomes second nature.

5. Take breaks: Make taking breaks throughout the day a priority. Your mind and body need time to recharge, especially after long periods of sustained focus. Just take a few minutes to stretch, take a short walk, or have a snack. Even small breaks can have a cumulative effect throughout the day and help preserve your energy.

6. Ask for help when you need it: Delegate, delegate, delegate! Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a family member or a professional service for things like meal prep, household chores, and organization. Remember, you don’t need to do it all yourself.

7. Make time for what you love, including doing nothing at all: The rigors of daily life can be especially draining for those with ADHD, which is why it’s vitally important to make time for those things which excite and fulfill you. Take a class, pursue a favorite hobby, get outdoors, spend time with friends and loved ones, or simply take a moment to daydream. Making time to do things that invigorate rather than drain you can help ward off burnout, alleviate stress, and improve your overall wellbeing.

Image: Pixabay/PaliGraficas


How to Recharge and Refocus When You Have ADHD

Natalia van Rikxoort, MSW, ACC

Natalia van Rikxoort, MSW, ACC is a social worker, ADHD consultant, and certified life coach. Her practice, Lotus Life Coaching Services, provides coaching services for adults, youth, and families impacted by ADD/ADHD and executive function challenges.

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APA Reference
van Rikxoort, N. (2019). How to Recharge and Refocus When You Have ADHD. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 22, 2020, from


Last updated: 16 Sep 2019
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