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10 Things Proven Vital For Every ADHD Morning Routine
Aug 18, 23
This article has been vetted by the Onnit Advisory Board. Read more about our editorial process.
Author: Sony Sherpa

10 Things Proven Vital For Every ADHD Morning Routine

  • by Sony Sherpa

    Medically reviewed by

    Sony Sherpa

    Dr. Sony Sherpa is a board-certified Clinical Doctor and dedicated advocate for holistic medicine, specializing in functional mushrooms. Her blend of medical expertise and passion for alternative wellness lends authenticity to her role as a contributor for Natures Rise.

  • |
  • 15 min read
10 Things Proven Vital For Every ADHD Morning Routine

An effective ADHD morning routine often includes structured, predictable steps that cater to individual needs. 

It might start with gentle but stimulating activities,such as light exercise or a mindfulness practice, to awaken the brain. This is followed by a consistent and simplified grooming routine and a nutritious breakfast that stabilizes blood sugar levels. 

Incorporating planning tools, like to-do lists or calendars, can also help organize thoughts and tasks for the day ahead.

When you're navigating life with ADHD, mornings can feel like a chaotic puzzle. Ever wonder why? That's because the ADHD brain thrives on structure, yet ironically, creating it can be a monumental task. 

But what if mornings could become a time of empowerment rather than a daily struggle?

In this article, we craft a morning routine specifically designed for those with ADHD. It's more than just a list of activities; it's about understanding how the ADHD brain wakes up and operates differently. 

We'll explore strategies that harmonize with your unique wiring, transforming the first hours of your day from a time of frustration to a sequence of victories, big and small.

1. Structure Your Wake-Up Time

Ever noticed how everything feels a bit off when you wake up at different times each day? Especially for those of us with ADHD, a haphazard start can throw us off our game. 

That's where the magic of a structured wake-up time comes in. It's like setting the stage for your day—the same opening act, every morning. 

By waking up at the same time each day, you're telling your body and mind, "Hey, it's time to get going in our awesome, unique way!"

And here's the cool part: this consistency does wonders for your internal clock, allowing you to wake up with energy. It can improve your sleep quality, mood, and even how you handle those ADHD quirks throughout the day. 

2. Gentle Physical Exercise

Gentle Physical Exercise

Picture this: It's early morning, and instead of jumping into the day's chaos, you start with some gentle morning exercises for energy. Why, you ask? 

Well, for those of us juggling the extra energy and focus challenges that come with ADHD, this can be a game changer. A bit of stretching, a light jog, or someyoga can wake up your body and, more importantly, your mind, in a way that's just right.


You don't have to go all out like an Olympic athlete; it's about finding what feels good for you. Maybe it's a dance to your favorite song or a brisk walk around the block

This kind of physical activity kick-starts your brain, releasing those feel-good chemicals like dopamine and serotonin (1), which we with ADHD often need a boost in. Plus, it helps in reducing restlessness and improving concentration and focus

3. Practice Mindfulness or Meditation

Imagine starting your day not with a rush, but with a moment of calm. That's where mindfulness or morning meditation comes in, especially handy for those of us with ADHD. 

It's like giving your brain a mini-vacation each morning. Just a few minutes of sitting quietly, focusing on your breath or a simple meditation exercise, can make a world of difference in how you feel and think.

This isn't about emptying your mind or achieving some mystical state. It's about being present and noticing your thoughts and feelings without judgment. 

For the ADHD mind, which often feels like it's running a marathon at lightning speed, this is a chance to slow down, regroup, and gain some clarity. The result? You step into your day more centered, less reactive, and ready to handle whatever comes your way with more grace and much less stress.

4. Eat a Healthy, Balanced Breakfast

Eat a Healthy, Balanced Breakfast

You know how they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Well, they're not wrong, especially for those of us with ADHD (2). 

A balanced breakfast does more than just fill your stomach; it fuels your brain and sets the tone for your day. It's about choosing foods that keep your energy levels steady and your mind sharp.

Think of your breakfast as the first dose of medicine for your ADHD brain. A mix of protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats can help balance blood sugar levels, improving focus and reducing that mid-morning slump. 

Here are five tasty and nutritious breakfast ideas to get you started:

  • Whole-Grain Toast with Avocado and Eggs: The healthy fats from the avocado and protein from the eggs make this a powerhouse meal.
  • Greek Yogurt with Mixed Berries and Nuts: This combo gives you protein, antioxidants, and essential fats. Plus, it's super easy to prepare!
  • Oatmeal with Banana and Chia Seeds: Oatmeal is a fantastic source of complex carbs and fiber, and the banana adds a natural sweetness.
  • Smoothie with Spinach, Berries, and Protein Powder: Perfect for on-the-go mornings. It's like a nutrient-packed, drinkable breakfast.
  • Whole-Grain Waffles with Peanut Butter and Sliced Apple: A delicious balance of flavors and textures, plus all the goodness of whole grains, protein, and fruit.

Remember, the goal is to feed your body and brain with what they need to function best. A healthy breakfast is part of any good morning routine for mental health, as the nutrients give your brain the power to perform optimally. 

5. Drink a Glass of Water—or Two

Ever start your day feeling a bit foggy or sluggish? That could be your body asking for hydration. 

Especially for those of us with ADHD, beginning the day with a glass or two of water can be a total game changer. It's like waking up your brain cells (3) and getting them ready to tackle the day's tasks.

Drinking water first thing in the morning isn't just about quenching thirst; it's about setting up your mind and body for success. Proper hydration helps improve concentration, maintain energy levels, and even help manage ADHD symptoms. 

Think of it as the simplest, yet one of the most effective tools in your ADHD toolkit. And if plain water sounds too boring, try infusing it with a slice of lemon or berries for an extra zing. 

6. Embrace a Simplified Grooming Routine

Embrace a Simplified Grooming Routine

We all know getting ready in the morning can sometimes feel like a puzzle, especially when you have ADHD. But here's a neat trick: simplify your grooming routine. 

It's like cutting through the morning chaos with a clear path. A straightforward, step-by-step grooming process saves time and reduces decision fatigue and morning stress. 

It's a crucial part of a morning routine for energy—you get a boost of energy in the morning if you eliminate the stressing about what to wear.

Think of it as your personal 'get-ready-quick' plan:

  • Lay out your clothes the night before.
  • Keep your grooming supplies in the same spot.
  • Follow the same order each day—whether it's brushing your teeth, taking a shower, or styling your hair. 

This routine becomes a no-brainer, allowing you to conserve mental energy for the day's bigger challenges. Plus, gliding through your morning routine without any hitches is quite satisfying. 

7. Plan Your Day

Ever feel like your day is a jigsaw puzzle with too many pieces? For those of us with ADHD, dedicating a few minutes each morning to planning can be a lifesaver. 

It's like drawing a map before embarking on a journey. Taking time to outline your day's tasks—from the big meetings to the small errands—brings a sense of order to what can often feel like chaos.

This isn't about creating a rigid schedule set in stone; instead, it's about getting a clear view of your day. Use a planner, a to-do list app, or even a simple notepad to jot down your goals:

  • Prioritize tasks
  • Set realistic goals
  • Include breaks

This clarity first thing in the morning helps reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed and gives your ADHD brain a focused path to follow. 

8. Medication Review

Medication Review

If you're navigating ADHD with the help of medication, incorporating a medication review into your morning routine for success can be a game-changer. 

It's like a quick check-up to ensure everything's on track for the day. This isn't just about popping pills; it's about being mindful of your health, and the role medication plays in your overall well-being.

Take a moment each morning to ensure you take the proper dosage at the right time. This helps maintain the medication's effectiveness and keeps you at your best. 

It's also a good time to note any side effects or how you feel, which can be valuable information for your doctor. Think of it as a daily tune-up for your brain, keeping it running smoothly. 

So, make a mental (or even a written) note about your medication while sipping your morning mushroom coffee or tea. It's a small step, but for your ADHD journey, it's crucial.

9. Embrace Smooth Transitions

In the whirlwind of a morning routine, especially when you have ADHD, every transition can feel like a hurdle. But here's a simple yet effective trick: short breaks. 

Think of them as 'mini pit stops' in your morning race. These brief pauses between activities allow your brain to switch gears, reducing the overwhelm that often comes with jumping from one task to another.

You don't need a long break; just a few minutes will do. After you finish a task, like eating breakfast or getting dressed, take a moment to breathe, stretch, or just be. 

This isn't wasted time; it's an investment in your mental well-being. It helps prevent that feeling of being rushed or mentally scattered. 

10. Positive Affirmations

Positive Affirmations

Have you ever tried starting your day by saying something positive to yourself? For those of us with ADHD, this can be a real game-changer. 

Positive affirmations in the morning are like planting seeds of optimism and confidence that can grow throughout the day. It's about giving yourself a boost of positivity that can help counteract some of the self-doubt and challenges that come with ADHD.


Take a moment each morning to look in the mirror and say something encouraging to yourself. It could be as simple as:

  • "I am capable." 
  • "Today is going to be a good day." 
  • "I can handle whatever comes my way." 

This practice sets a hopeful tone for the day and can shift your mindset more positively. It's like equipping yourself with a shield of positivity against the day's ups and downs. 

FAQs About ADHD Morning Routine

How Long Should An ADHD Morning Routine Ideally Be To Optimize Its Benefits?

An ADHD morning routine should ideally last between 20 minutes to 1 hour. The key? Keeping it simple and consistent. 

Remember, it's not about cramming in a million things; it's about choosing activities that set the right tone for your day. 

Everyone's different—some might thrive with a quick 20-minute routine, while others might prefer a full hour. Adjust when life throws curveballs, and keep it flexible. 

Can I Combine Elements Of A Traditional Morning Routine With ADHD-Specific Practices?

Absolutely! Merging elements of a traditional morning routine with ADHD-specific practices can create a balanced and holistic start to your day

Traditional practices like journaling, reading, or meditation can coexist beautifully with ADHD-tailored techniques. For instance, if you love the calm of meditation but struggle to sit still, try a walking meditation. 

Enjoy journaling? Use it to list your priorities for the day, helping with focus. It's all about finding what resonates with you and tailoring it to suit your unique ADHD challenges. Experiment, mix and match, and create a morning routine that feels grounding and energizing. 

How Do You Overcome Challenges And Stay Consistent In Your ADHD Morning Routine?

Sticking to an ADHD morning routine can feel like a juggling act, right? Here's the trick: Start with baby steps. Maybe introduce just one new habit and let it become your norm

Love visuals? Sticky notes or app reminders can be game-changers. Got a friend who's an early riser? Team up and hold each other accountable. And hey, if you miss a day, give yourself a break. Tomorrow's a new day, and it's all about progress, not perfection. 

Keep your 'why' close, adjust when needed, and celebrate those small wins. You've got this!

Key Takeaways

Isn't it empowering to think we have the tools to shift our mornings from chaotic to calm? 

Remember, ADHD might come with quirks, but with the right routine, it doesn't have to steal your sunrise. 

Combining traditional elements with ADHD-specific strategies sets the stage for a day filled with focus and possibility. However, do not forget about your circadian rhythm—sleeping enough and maintaining a good circadian rhythm allows you to have a more focused mind, even with ADHD.

We'd love to hear from you: Which part of this morning guide resonates the most with you? Dive into the comments, and let's keep this conversation going. After all, we learn best when we learn from each other. Cheers to brighter mornings ahead!🌞

We Would Love To Here Your Comments Leave A Comment

References

  1. The Effects of Acute Exercise on Mood, Cognition, Neurophysiology, and Neurochemical Pathways: A Review, (1), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5928534/
  2. Breakfast Positively Impacts Cognitive Function in College Students With and Without ADHD, (2), https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0890117120903235
  3. The Effects of Hydration Status on Cognitive Performances among Young Adults in Hebei, China: A Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT), (3), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6068860/
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