Crafting a Low-Dopamine Morning Routine for ADHD: Going Against the Flow

Julia Ovcharenko, CEO of Numo
May 21, 2024

If ADHDers always starving for dopamine…why are we trying to have a low-dopamine morning? 

Contrary to popular belief, not everyone needs a dopamine boost. For some, especially those with ADHD, a low-dopamine morning routine can be more beneficial. The approach we are going to talk about today focuses on stabilizing dopamine levels to avoid spikes and crashes that exacerbate ADHD symptoms. It’s all about creating a balanced routine, leading to better focus and emotional regulation throughout the day.

Well, that’s a lot of talk! What exactly are we going to learn today?

In today's article, you will learn:

  • The Importance of Dopamine Regulation in ADHD: Discover why managing dopamine levels is key for those with ADHD.
  • What is a Low Dopamine Morning Routine: Learn why low dopamine can be problematic and how it specifically affects ADHD symptoms.
  • Crafting a Low-Dopamine Morning Routine: Gain insights into how certain morning activities can help stabilize dopamine levels.
  • Practical Tips for Routine Integration: Get strategies for making these routines a consistent part of your life.
  • Personal and Community Support: Understand how using an ADHD planner app and engaging with a community can enhance your routine and overall management of ADHD.

Aighty. Are you ready? 

Let’s. Dig ⛏️ In!

[The Role of Dopamine in ADHD] The Role of Dopamine in ADHD

As always, in this cozy little corner of the Internet, we first need to sleuth what makes dopamine so important, especially where ADHD is concerned! 🧐

Dopamine acts as a messenger in the brain. It's an essential “juice” l for motivation, attention, and learning. In ADHD, dopamine levels often fluctuate 1, thus affecting how the brain processes information and responds to stimuli.

Why is low dopamine particularly problematic for ADHD? Well, it all has to do with ADHD symptoms and how they interplay with our day-to-day activities.

First, it impacts focus. Dopamine helps regulate attention. When levels are low, sustaining focus becomes a struggle. Tasks requiring concentration - like reading a book for work or leisure - can become overwhelming. 

Second, low dopamine affects motivation. It’s the chemical that makes activities rewarding. With insufficient dopamine, everything feels less engaging. This problem rears its ugly head exactly when we need to do something non-immediately rewarding, i.e., chores like doing laundry or anything else. 

Finally, emotional regulation is compromised. Dopamine influences mood. Low levels can lead to irritability and mood swings. For someone with ADHD, this means emotional responses might be really intense as lashing out at people nearby becomes the norm. 

Well, what are we going to do about it? If you paid attention to the title of this article, one of the ways to give yourself much-needed dopamine harmony is by establishing a proper morning routine

For someone with ADHD, this is crucial. The proper routine can set a positive tone for the day. It can improve focus and reduce impulsivity.

By grasping how dopamine functions, we can better select activities and habits that directly benefit those with ADHD. Every morning choice, from exercise to breakfast, can be a step towards better focus and control. 

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[Crafting Your Low Dopamine Morning Routine] How to Increase Dopamine in the Morning (Without Going Overboard)

All right, now let’s actually get down to the business of cooking up some routine hotness. 

Remember, the secret sauce here is not maximizing dopamine gains but establishing a stable foundation for the remainder of the day

Think of this as more so relaxing and less rewarding activities. Like walking before a meal to evoke hunger, we want energy and motivation but a distinct dopamine craving. That way, activities that would have otherwise felt boring - like doing chores - suddenly feel much more exciting. 

As we explore the potential building blocks of your next favorite routine - healthy dopamine activities - remember one thing: there is no definitive right answer here. What works for thee might not work for me…ee? And vice versa! 

Regardless, let’s take a gander at them, shall we?  👀

Physical Activity

Start your day with exercise. It doesn't have to be intense. A brisk walk or a light jog can do wonders. Exercise releases dopamine, improving attention and mood. It's a natural way to give your brain a dopamine boost. 

Mindful Meditation

Next, consider mindfulness. Just ten minutes of meditation can calm the mind. It reduces stress, which often aggravates ADHD symptoms. Mindfulness practices also increase dopamine levels, improving emotional regulation and concentration throughout the day.

Nutritional Breakfast

Finally, what you eat matters! A balanced breakfast can regulate dopamine levels. Focus on protein-rich foods like eggs or yogurt. Add some whole grains for sustained energy. These foods provide the necessary nutrients for dopamine production. They help maintain stable dopamine levels, which is crucial for managing ADHD symptoms.

And this might also be a good opportunity to take your daily dose of nootropics if you’re dabbing in those. If you’re like: “What’s a nova tropic?” I have a nootropics 101 article just for you!

Remember, consistency is key. Integrating these elements into your daily routine can significantly improve your judo grip on your ADHD symptoms. It's about making small, sustainable changes that enhance your well-being and establishing a juicy routine. It certainly fits the bill here. 

[Integrating the Routine into Daily Life] Integrating the Low Dopamine Activities into Daily Life

Now that you have assembled the Avengers your perfect little routine, it’s time to figure out the best way to make it come to life. 

After all, adopting a new morning routine isn’t always easy, especially for those with ADHD. Consistency, however, is where the real benefits emerge. Here are some strategies to make this routine a lasting part of your life:

  • Start Small: Don’t overhaul your morning all at once. Introduce one change at a time. If exercise is new to you, start with a 10-minute walk, then gradually increase the time.
  • Create a Schedule: Structure helps. Plan your morning activities the night before. Set specific times for exercise, meditation, and breakfast.
  • Use Reminders: Alarms aren’t just for waking up. Use them to remind you when to start each part of your routine.
  • Be Patient with Yourself: Some days will be harder than others. If you miss a day, don’t get discouraged. Just pick up where you left off the next day.

Consistency turns these actions into habits. Over time, they become a natural part of your morning, setting a positive tone for the rest of your day.

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[Enhancing Your Routine with an ADHD Planner App] Enhancing Your Routine with an ADHD Planner App and Community Support

Perchance you were deep in thought once the last article hath passed thine gaze, confounded as to how to make these revelations of one’s wonts come true…sorry, I will stop now.

But the ADHD planner app seems perfect if you want a clear reminder of things to do in the morning.

Personally? I’m a groggy mess in the morning, whether I get enough sleep or not. It’s not uncommon for me to forget if I took my meds, which is why my organizer always comes in handy. 

And that’s how you can use our own app - Numo - with precisely the same purpose! It offers features like task reminders, schedule planners, and progress tracking. These functions help you stay on top of your routine and maintain consistency.

But we also offer a bit more beyond that via our community forums! We wanted to be a bit extra 💅so we’re calling those our squads and tribes. Here, you can ask fellow ADHDers about everything, including their best tips on starting an effective morning routine.  This sense of community is invaluable. It offers support, understanding, and motivation from people who genuinely get it.

Combining a structured morning routine and the support from the app and its community can be just the recipe for cooking up a perfect ADHD management storm.

[Conclusion] Conclusion

For ADHD adults (and not only) crafting a healthy morning routine can be an answer to a long-standing query of: "How to actually feel alive throughout the day?" 

You can significantly improve your daily functioning by understanding and adjusting dopamine levels through exercise, meditation, and a balanced breakfast.

Remember, the key to success is consistency and patience. Integrating these changes into your life might take time, but the benefits are profound. And with tools like the ADHD planner app and community support, you're not alone in this journey.

Embrace these changes. Let them become a part of who you are. Every morning is a new opportunity to take control of your ADHD, one day at a time.


1 Dovepress. Attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder and reward deficiency syndrome
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