Kid choosing screens over wooden blocks

24 Best Screen-Free Ideas to Boost Dopamine for ADHD Moms

Living in a world dominated by screens can be overwhelming, especially for moms with ADHD. Constantly being bombarded with notifications, emails, and social media updates can make it challenging to focus and find joy in everyday life. But fear not! We’ve compiled a list of 24 screen-free ideas specifically tailored to help ADHD moms boost their dopamine levels and reclaim their zest for life.

Why Dopamine is different from other brain chemicals?

Dopamine sets itself apart from serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins as the catalyst behind our pursuit of rewards and the reinforcement of pleasurable experiences. While serotonin focuses on stabilizing mood, oxytocin fosters social bonds, and endorphins provide relief from physical discomfort, dopamine acts as our internal motivator, driving us towards our goals and rewarding us with feelings of satisfaction. It’s like the fuel that powers our ambition and fuels our desire for achievement. Additionally, dopamine’s influence extends beyond emotional regulation to include cognitive functions such as attention, learning, and decision-making, making it a critical component in shaping our behavior and driving us towards success.

1. Get Moving

Get a bit of movement without being weighed down by chores or resorting to your phone every time you get a tiny break! A 15 minute YouTube workout, dancing around the kitchen for 10 minutes, even a few body weight workouts like squats, lunges could give a boost of dopamine and burn calories at the same time.

2. Engage in Creative Arts and Crafts

Unleash your inner artist by diving into a creative project. Whether it’s painting, knitting, or scrapbooking, engaging in hands-on activities can provide a much-needed escape from the digital world and stimulate your brain in new and exciting ways. With ADHD, its always better to keep the arts and crafts at a manageable level. A complicated puzzle, intricately detailed adult colouring books and crafts which require 150 different bits and bobs, would only make cleaning up overwhelming. Here’s a list of stress free crafting ideas for ADHD mamas.

3. Practice Mindfulness and Meditation

Take a moment to pause and reconnect with yourself through mindfulness and meditation practices. By focusing on your breath and being present in the moment, you can calm your mind and reduce feelings of overwhelm.

4. Explore the World of Books

Get lost in a good book and let your imagination run wild. Whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, or poetry, reading can transport you to new worlds and provide a welcome break from screen time. Here’s a list of recommended reading for ADHD minds.

A woman reading a book on the sofa

5. Cook Up a Storm in the Kitchen

Experiment with new recipes and unleash your culinary creativity in the kitchen. Cooking not only provides a delicious end result but also engages your senses and promotes mindfulness. If you are kind who never enjoyed cooking but need to cook for the sake of feeding the family, try a different recipe. I was a fairly bad cook, and thanks to ADHD, every week there was burnt pan soaking in the sink for days. I learnt many tips along the way which helped me get a knack for cooking.

6. Get Your Hands Dirty with Gardening

Digging in the dirt and tending to plants can be incredibly therapeutic. Whether you have a sprawling garden or just a few pots on your balcony, gardening can provide a sense of accomplishment and connection to nature. ADHD and gardening may not feel like going hand-in-hand in the beginning. I had my fair share of dead plants, where my impulsively purchased plants end up dead the next week. But then there are so many forgiving plants, cacti, aloes, money plants, sansevierias are a few. Stay tuned for my plant therapy guide for ADHD moms.

7. Connect with Loved Ones

Reach out to friends and family members for some quality face-to-face time. Whether it’s hosting a dinner party, going out for coffee, or simply having a heartfelt conversation, nurturing your relationships can provide a powerful dose of dopamine. If you are an inattentive type like me, maybe you have a very difficult time connecting with people. Just start small—a text message to show you care, or even a reply to that text that you forgot to reply to. Stay tuned for my ultimate guide on low effort family activities.

8. Volunteer in Your Community

Give back to others and make a positive impact in your community by volunteering your time and talents. Being a mom might make you feel like you have no time for helping out the community. But helping out at a local shelter, participating in a beach cleanup, or mentoring a child, can contribute to something bigger than yourself and can be incredibly rewarding. If you can’t seem to find time at all, just checkout tip 14 below.

9. Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

Put on your favourite tunes and dance like nobody’s watching! Moving your body to the rhythm of the music can release feel-good endorphins and boost your mood instantly. Plus, you get a great workout too.

Mother dancing with child at her home

10. Practice Gratitude Daily

Take a few moments each day to reflect on the things you’re grateful for. Whether it’s writing in a gratitude journal or simply mentally acknowledging the blessings in your life, practicing gratitude can shift your perspective and increase feelings of happiness. If you simply don’t have time to get out a fancy journal and the pretty pens, even a few minutes to close your eyes and being thankful for everything you have would do the trick.

11. Attend a Live Performance or Event

Immerse yourself in the magic of live entertainment by attending a concert, play, or sporting event. Experiencing the energy of a live performance can be exhilarating and provide a welcome break from screen time.

12. Get Crafty with DIY Home Projects

Channel your inner HGTV star and tackle some DIY home projects. Whether it’s repainting a room, upcycling old furniture, or redecorating on a budget, getting creative with your living space can be both satisfying and fulfilling. Start with something small, such as putting on stick-on tiles that brighten up the kitchen or changing knobs on a cabinet to match your personality.

13. Take Up a New Hobby

Challenge yourself to try something new and exciting. Whether it’s learning a musical instrument, taking up photography, or mastering a new language, diving into a hobby can provide a sense of accomplishment and boost your self-esteem. Get out that musical instrument which is gathering dust in a corner or use an app like duolingo to learn a new language without scrolling mindlessly through the phone.

14. Practice Random Acts of Kindness

Spread joy and kindness wherever you go by performing random acts of kindness. Whether it’s paying for someone’s coffee, complimenting a stranger, or leaving positive notes around your community, small gestures can make a big difference in someone’s day.

15. Unplug and Disconnect Regularly

Set aside dedicated time each day to unplug and disconnect from screens. Whether it’s implementing a digital detox hour before bed or designating screen-free zones in your home, creating boundaries with technology can help restore balance and reduce feelings of overwhelm.

16. Spend Time in Nature

Escape the hustle and bustle of daily life by spending time in nature. Whether it’s going for a hike, camping under the stars, or simply taking a leisurely stroll in the woods, immersing yourself in the natural world can be incredibly rejuvenating for both body and mind.

Mom with two children sitting in nature

17. Practice Yoga or Tai Chi

Connect with your body and spirit through the practice of yoga or Tai Chi. These gentle forms of exercise not only promote physical health but also encourage mindfulness and stress reduction.

18. Host a Game Night with Family

Gather your family for a night of fun and laughter with a game night. Whether it’s board games, card games, or charades, engaging in friendly competition can provide a welcome distraction from screen time and strengthen your family bonds.

19. Attend a Workshop or Class

Feed your curiosity and expand your knowledge by attending a workshop or class in your area of interest. Whether it’s cooking, painting, photography, or mindfulness, learning something new can stimulate your brain and reignite your passion for life. Don’t have time for classes, may be an online learning platform such as Udemy

20. Practice Self-Care Rituals

Prioritise your mental and emotional well-being by practicing self-care rituals regularly. Whether it’s taking a long bath, indulging in a spa day, or simply curling up with a good book, taking time to nurture yourself is essential for managing ADHD symptoms and boosting dopamine levels.

21. Listen to Music or Podcasts

Immerse yourself in the world of sound by listening to your favorite music or podcasts. Whether it’s upbeat tunes to get you moving or thought-provoking conversations to stimulate your mind, auditory stimulation can be a powerful way to boost your mood and focus.

22. Explore Your Creative Side with Journaling

Express yourself through the art of journaling. Whether it’s writing poetry, jotting down your thoughts and feelings, or keeping a gratitude journal, journaling can be a cathartic outlet for processing emotions and finding clarity.

23. Practice Deep Breathing Exercises

Take a moment to center yourself and calm your mind with deep breathing exercises. Whether it’s the 4-7-8 technique, diaphragmatic breathing, or simply taking slow, deep breaths, focusing on your breath can help reduce stress and improve focus.

woman practicing deep breathing on a sofa

24. Schedule Regular Breaks Throughout the Day

Avoid burnout and maintain your focus by scheduling regular breaks throughout the day. Whether it’s a quick walk around the block, a stretch break, or a power nap, taking short breaks can help refresh your mind and prevent mental fatigue.

In conclusion, managing ADHD as a mom can be challenging, but it’s important to prioritize your well-being and find joy in the little moments. By incorporating these screen-free ideas into your daily routine, you can boost your dopamine levels, improve your focus, and reclaim your zest for life. Remember to be kind to yourself and take things one step at a time. You’ve got this!

So, what are you waiting for? Pick a few ideas from the list above and start incorporating them into your daily life today. Whether it’s dancing like nobody’s watching, hosting a game night with friends, or simply spending time in nature, there’s something for everyone on this list. Get ready to kick those screen-time blues to the curb and embrace a happier, more fulfilling life!

Now, go ahead and share this article with your fellow ADHD moms who could use a little dopamine boost. Together, we can support each other on this journey and thrive despite the challenges ADHD may bring. Here’s to living life to the fullest, one screen-free moment at a time!

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