It’s 2020, and staying home is cool. That might have something to do with coronavirus leading cities around the world to go on lockdown, shelter in place, or implement social distancing measures.
This new way of life creates new challenges for coping with ADHD. A government order or a public health recommendation to stay home all the time is enough to give anyone cabin fever, but hyperactive symptoms can ratchet that cabin fever up to an entirely different level.
After all, people with ADHD tend toward seeking out novelty and stimulation, something that’s harder to do when you aren’t leaving your house.
Fortunately, there are still ways to keep life interesting and release some of that fidgety energy while practicing social distancing or self-isolation. Here are a few ideas.
1. Exercise at home
Keeping your body active is a healthy and effective way of channeling hyperactivity. And that doesn’t mean having to go to the gym, or even leave your house.
There are plenty of bodyweight exercises that can be done at home, with the only required equipment being, well, the weight of your body.
Personally, I have a minimal routine of pushups and similar exercises that I do everyday, but I’m definitely going to be looking to expand that as my city shelters in place for the next however many weeks. For inspiration, consult this list of 50 bodyweight exercises.
2. Work standing up
Working from home is in now, just like staying home in general. Since people with ADHD sometimes struggle to sit still, it can help to create your own work setup where sitting still isn’t required. In fact, some research suggests that fidgeting helps ADHDers focus.
Standing while you work can help accomplish this goal. A standing desk is the most straightforward way to facilitate standing and working, but it’s not the only option. You might be able to get creative. For example, I have a high counter in my apartment that works just fine.
3. Take up a new hobby
I’ve written before about boredom-busting hobbies that are a good fit for people with ADHD, and if there’s ever a time when boredom needs to be busted, this would be it.
You might find that adopting a new hobby is helpful for keeping your brain stimulated and staying out of a rut while hunkering down and avoiding COVID-19. Learn a musical instrument, take up drawing, start a journal, or even just play a board game.
The more you can stave off boredom, the easier it’ll be to cope with hyperactivity.
4. Don’t overload on news
When people with ADHD get bored, it’s easy for us to go down internet rabbit holes of clicking on news articles. Unfortunately, given how the headlines are dominated by coronavirus these days, that pattern now has the potential to undermine our mental health.
The World Health Organization recommends limiting media consumption related to COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control give much the same mental health advice. It’s easy for those of us with low impulse control to fall into a cycle of reading more news, which fuels feelings of anxiety. And anxiety doesn’t make it any easier to cope with hyperactivity.
That means we have to make an intentional effort to embrace parts of our life that have nothing to do with reading news about coronavirus, filling these days with a balance of activities that keep life interesting and stimulating.
Image: Flickr/Eric Allix Rogers