Befriending your brain isn’t always an easy thing to do… especially if you’ve been subjected to the narrative that there’s something wrong with the way yours works. I’m not here to minimize the struggles that an ADHDer has to go through to adapt to a typical normative world. But what I want this post to do is offer two simple tools that can help. I incorporate both acronyms into my day-to-day life to help me stay in a positive headspace and I use them when I feel stuck, unmotivated, or uninterested in something.
Ready? Let’s go.
NICE. This stands for novel (new), of interest, challenging (or competitive) and engaging (or exciting). Every time I am faced with a task that I really don’t want to do; I try to see how I can make it fit into these categories. This could be changing the format of a mundane task to make it feel new. I try to remind myself of how I can make something relatable or interesting to me. I challenge myself with timers, visually checking things off my to-do list or even coming up with competitive games to complete tasks with others. And I find ways to make mundane stuff engaging or exciting.
MEMES. Movement, energy, motivation, experts, and systems. These are concepts I try to incorporate into my life every day.
Movement: I know that to function at my optimal level I need to move my body. Whether it’s a walk, stretching, going to the gym, or taking small breaks between times of focus to get up and move around, just try moving your body. Expending energy that feels pent up inside is important to feel grounding and focused.
Energy: use it when you have it. If you can focus better early in the morning, or late at night… go with it! We don’t all have the same internal clock so try to work with yours, instead of against it.
Motivation: what motivates you? What do you like to do? Set those things out as rewards for getting the not-so-fun stuff done.
Experts: Working with someone who understands ADHD and can help you understand your brain and behaviours better can be really helpful. This can be in therapy, or it can be through your own research, reading or community-building. If anyone here has any questions about helpful books, podcasts, worksheets or expert Tiktokers… reach out and I will help in any way I can.
Systems: What organizational system work best for you? Is it using a planner, sticky notes, alarms, reminders, lists? Try out different ones and see what sticks.
Not every ADHD brain is the same, so get to know yours and work with your strengths.