Living with ADHD, not to mention depression and anxiety (which many of us do), often means dealing with days where getting going feels impossible. Medication helps, but sometimes we need more. That’s why I’ve been on a quest to discover alternative ways to energize and engage my brain, steering clear of unhealthy habits like indulging in sweets.

In my search, I’ve found some stimulating activities for ADHD adults that really help. They’re also included on the downloadable ADHD Adults Activities List so make sure to grab yourself a copy so that you can frame it (like I have) and have it visible at all times.

1. Social Interaction and Engaging Conversation

Discussing ideas and plans with others is not only uplifting but also mentally stimulating for adults with ADHD. It sparks creativity and releases feel-good chemicals, much more than texting can.

Catch-Ups and Coffee Chats: Regular conversations, especially with friends who understand my business, are incredibly motivating. These interactions, whether in person or over video calls, keep me energized and brimming with new ideas.

2. Fun and Creative Physical Activities

Engaging in physical activities is more than just fitness for ADHD adults; it’s a key to feeling good. These activities boost dopamine and serotonin, enhancing mood and focus. Plus, they can improve sleep. Since regular exercise is challenging, finding enjoyable and stimulating forms of movement is crucial. Here are some creative ways to get active:

  • Dancing: Dancing to upbeat music is a fun, spontaneous activity that boosts mood and provides sensory stimulation, ideal for adults with ADHD.
  • Skipping Rope: It’s a playful, nostalgic exercise that offers both physical and mental stimulation, keeping ADHD adults engaged and energized.
  • Hula Hoop: This activity challenges coordination and focus, providing a fun and stimulating way for ADHD adults to stay active.
  • Rock Climbing: More than just physical exercise, rock climbing stimulates the brain with problem-solving, great for ADHD adults needing a mental workout.
  • Darts or Ax Throwing (Velcro Works Great): Quick and engaging, these activities are perfect for ADHD adults needing a brief, stimulating break from routine tasks.
  • Gardening: Engaging with nature through gardening provides a calming yet stimulating experience, promoting focus and a sense of achievement for adults with ADHD as they watch their efforts flourish.

3. Crafting

There’s something special about making things with your own hands that is stimulating for us ADHD adults. It’s not just about the end product; it’s about the joy of creating. But it doesn’t have to be a big thing or a grand-new, expensive hobby. It can be practical and simple too.

  • Seasonal Crafts: For ADHD adults, engaging in seasonal crafts like festive plant displays offers a creative focus, stimulating the mind through hands-on activity.
  • Photography: Capturing moments with photography keeps ADHD adults engaged and focused, stimulating the brain through visual creativity.
  • Small Sewing Projects: Sewing offers ADHD adults tactile stimulation and a concentrated task, ideal for channeling energy into productive creativity.
  • Scrapbooking: Scrapbooking is a stimulating mix of organization and artistic expression, perfect for ADHD adults to channel their creativity.
  • Knitting or Crocheting: These crafts provide rhythmic, hands-on stimulation, which can be soothing and mentally engaging for adults with ADHD.

And if you’re anything like me, going to a craft or fabric store could be all that you need!

4. Sitting in a Room With Moving Color

Did you know that being in a room with moving, colored lights can actually be super stimulating for us with ADHD? Studies show that colors like red and pink can boost our mood by increasing serotonin and dopamine.

I’ve got this projector that lights up my room with these colors, and it really does give me a little lift. It’s amazing how just sitting or working in a space like this can change how you feel.

5. Reading

Have you noticed how reading about things that genuinely interest you can be incredibly stimulating, especially for us with ADHD? When you dive into a topic you’re passionate about, it really gets the imagination firing on all cylinders.

For example, whenever I read books about ADHD, it gets me super excited. It’s not just about learning new things. It’s about the ideas that start popping in my head. I think about ways to improve my products or even come up with ideas for new ones. It’s like each book gives my creativity a little nudge.

Sometimes, just going to a bookstore or library is enough for me.

6. Doing Something New

Doing something new, anything new, can be highly stimulating for adults with ADHD. Here are some simple ideas to add a spark to your routine:

  • Visit a different coffee shop or grocery store.
  • Step out and order a new drink at a coffee shop.
  • Take an unfamiliar route to your destination.
  • Plan an outing with someone you rarely see.
  • Instead of texting, give someone a call.
  • Experiment with a new recipe in the kitchen.
  • Listen to a fresh playlist of music.
  • Change your phone’s wallpaper for a refreshing look.
  • Visit a museum or art gallery you haven’t been to before. Try a new lipstick, hairstyle, or look. 
  • Read a book from a genre you don’t typically explore.

A Quick Note on Depression & This List

I’ve had my own struggles with depression over the years. Sometimes, all these activities I’ve mentioned just feel like too much. If you’re feeling this way too, it’s okay. Depression can make everything harder. Remember, it’s perfectly fine to take things slow and be gentle with yourself. You’re not alone in this, and it’s important to give yourself the time and kindness you deserve.

What Now? Taking Action.

1. Start with One: Let’s keep it simple. Choose just one activity from the list to try this week. Maybe put a friendly reminder on your fridge or bathroom mirror. No pressure, and next week, you can switch it up and explore something new.

2. Dive Deeper: If you’d like to explore even more options, you can grab the downloadable ADHD Adults Activities List. It’s like having a treasure chest of stimulating activities right at your fingertips. The best part? It’s customizable! You can add activities that resonate with you and create your personalized go-to list.

About the Author

Hey there, I'm Susanna Miles, a writer and advocate who understands the ups and downs of life's twists and turns. As a creative entrepreneur with ADHD, I'm here to share stories, insights, and practical tips from my journey.

Join me in embracing the beauty of imperfections, navigating distractions, and finding the balance between creativity and business. Let's celebrate our unique paths together.

Stay curious,
Susanna Miles

P.S. Explore my tailored journals and planners to support your journey.

How to Use a To-Do List, Even If You’re Just Figuring It Out at 50, Like Me
Getting Started with the Mindflows To-Do List
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