24 Genius Ways to Beat the ADHD Afternoon Crash for Women

April 17, 2024

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Kiss ADHD afternoon crashes *goodbye*.


It’s 1:14 PM, and your eyelids are getting heavy.


You have 42 unread emails, three unread messages in your work managing app, and two meetings scheduled later in the day.


You’ve battled through your executive dysfunction so far and won.


But you’re only halfway through your workday and unsure how you’ll make it to 5:00 PM.


Suddenly, you feel it coming on, the inevitable and seemingly unavoidable ADHD afternoon crash.


If this scenario sounds familiar, you’re no stranger to afternoon slumps.


You’re not alone! Afternoon crashes are a frequent phenomenon and are all too familiar for women with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).


Do these scenarios sound familiar?


  • Rather than feeling energized midday, you have low energy and the overwhelming urge to nap.
  • Instead of being engaged in your late afternoon meetings, your mind wanders, and you struggle to focus.
  • You start your day with the intention of crushing your to-do list like neurotypical people do, but you run out of steam shortly after noon.


If you know these situations *all too well*, you should find solace in knowing that there are ways to fix them.


With the right strategies, you can overcome fatigue and blast through your afternoon, feeling as energized and focused as ever.


This article will provide a comprehensive approach that includes lifestyle changes, productivity strategies, and more. This approach will help you tackle the day with gusto as a woman with ADHD.


Start tailoring your day with these tips to kick ADHD afternoon crashes to the curb once and for all!



24 Genius Ways to Beat the ADHD Afternoon Crash for Women



protein packed breakfast for adhd afternoon crash

1. Start Strong: The Case for a Protein-Packed Breakfast

Believe it or not, the foods you eat affect your ability to focus and your energy levels.


By incorporating certain ADHD-friendly foods into your diet, you can help to stave off afternoon crashes and feel energized throughout the day. Did you know that eating protein is a great way to enhance concentration and stabilize your energy levels?


Consider starting your day with a protein-rich breakfast to set yourself up for success. Nuts, meats, eggs, seafood, and beans are excellent protein sources and would be beneficial additions to your diet to tamp down the symptoms of ADHD, like brain fog and fatigue.




2. Hydration: Your Secret Weapon for Staying Alert

It may be a broken record statement, but water is the key to everything health-related. Sorry, not sorry.


Whether you’re struggling with brain fog, fatigue, or general malaise, it’s always worth checking to see if you’ve had enough water lately. Dehydration-induced fatigue can be brutal for everyone, but it’s especially rough if you have ADHD.


Make your dehydration avoidance tactics aesthetic by investing in a cute and functional water bottle and always keeping it within view. Don’t forget to take a few sips often throughout the day to stay hydrated and clear-headed.




3. Smart Snacks to Boost Your Brainpower

Meals aren’t the only way that nutrition is vital for overcoming an ADHD afternoon crash. Eating the right snacks can be the difference between feeling energized mid-day and face-planting at your desk.


To keep your focus and energy levels high, incorporate snacks that balance carbs with proteins and healthy fats.


Think multi-part snacks like a mix of popcorn, nuts, and seeds or protein-powered avocado toast (whole grain bread with avocado and hard-boiled egg on top). As a bonus, sensory snacking can also be beneficial for ADHD.




4. Revitalize Your Day with a Quick Power Nap

Never underestimate the power of a few minutes of unplanned but warranted shut-eye. I’m not ashamed to say that you can catch me napping in a desk chair, on a couch, or even on the floor if I need the extra sleep. Give me a pillow or something soft, and I’m good to go—it’s afternoon nap time.


A 20-minute power nap can sometimes be just what you need to power through the second half of your day without drooling on your keyboard with drooping eyelids. Consider scheduling a quick nap into your afternoon routine to refresh your brain and stave off the dreaded afternoon sluggishness.




get moving for adhd afternoon crash

5. Get Moving: Simple Desk Exercises to Recharge

Sitting down for hours can be mind-numbing and contribute to feeling tired and sluggish by midday. Incorporating movement into your day is a primary key to overcoming this physical and mental fatigue.


Add dynamic exercises to your day if you often sit at a desk. Think yoga-style stretches, calisthenics, and even stepping in place to get yourself moving and your blood flowing. The increasingly popular trend of “exercise snacking” is an excellent way to get movement without spending an hour a day at the gym.




6. Take a Breath: Quick Mindfulness Exercises for Focus

Do you breathe enough? The question may sound silly, but most of us don’t take the time to stop and breathe. Enter mindful breathing exercises.


A mental health staple, breathing exercises can leave you feeling calmer with a lowered heart rate and stress levels, which can help to eliminate ADHD afternoon crashes from your life.


Pencil breathing sessions into your calendar, or add reminders to your phone to pay attention to your breathing throughout the day. If *plain* in-and-out breaths could be more exciting, consider incorporating breathing exercises like box breathing and the 5-4-3-2-1 method.




7. Simplify Your Tasks: The Art of Breaking Things Down

There’s nothing more challenging than taking on large, overwhelming tasks when you’re barely fighting an afternoon crash.


Rather than suffering through large projects and feeling unnecessarily stressed, consider breaking your tasks into chunks.


To avoid being overwhelmed and exhausted, complete tasks in small, manageable chunks rather than taking on the whole thing at once. To break a more significant task into smaller steps, take stock of what you need to complete and write down the parts.


Be sure to sequence the tasks properly and allot enough time to complete each small task. And, most importantly, take breaks throughout. Breaking things down will help you fight off the typically inevitable afternoon crash.




8. Master Your Day: How to Streamline Your To-Do List

Is your to-do list the length of your arm? If you’re like most people, it’s a never-ending record of tasks that you plan to do but never get around to. As a result, high-priority tasks often fall by the wayside or get done in a frantic rush when time is close to running out.


Do yourself and your energy levels a favor by prioritizing your to-do list. Think about a typical day for you. Are you usually bursting with energy in the morning? Do you get bursts of inspiration and stamina at night?


Consider scheduling the high-priority tasks on your to-do list to be completed during your peak energy times to ensure they get done.




Pomodoro technique for ADHD afternoon crash

9. Stay Productive with the Pomodoro Technique

You can’t beat the satisfaction of taking a break after completing something. If you set out to complete something every day and experience an epic crash by the afternoon, the Pomodoro method is worth adding to your day.


The Pomodoro method is essential to feel accomplished throughout the day, keep yourself engaged, and get stuff done. The technique works by giving you a set time to zone in on a task or project, usually 25 minutes, in which you work without distractions and only stop when the timer sounds and you take a break.


Working in these short bursts will help you avoid energy dips and keep focus levels high.




10. Why You Should Say No to Afternoon Coffee

A cup of coffee can be a delicious energy-boosting treat in the morning. The caffeine in coffee helps many people focus and feel energetic enough to start their day. However, sipping coffee close to lunchtime and after may negatively affect the rest of your day.


According to some studies, having caffeine up to six hours before you plan to sleep can make it harder for you to get a full night’s sleep. Poor sleep is a huge contributor to anxiety, fatigue, brain fog, and afternoon crashes.


Cutting out caffeine after lunchtime helps to ensure that you’ll be able to get the restorative sleep that you need to reduce stress and reduce the chances of an ADHD afternoon crash.




11. Boost Your Mood with Some Afternoon Sunshine

If you’re used to working in rooms dark enough to rival caves, it’s time to let the sunshine in! Did you know that light exposure and natural sunlight are excellent ways to regulate your sleep-wake cycle and increase your alertness?


If you can, sneak outside to get some sunlight on your skin. The sunshine will help you overcome your typical afternoon crash, improve your mood, avoid an energy dip, and stave off any sleepiness you may be experiencing.


If you can’t get outside, standing at a window is the next best thing, offering some of the same benefits.




12. Creative Breaks: Unleash Your Inner Artist

Have you ever noticed how doing something creative engages your brain more than mundane activities ever will? You can harness this power by incorporating a creative activity into your afternoon to avoid an afternoon crash more easily.


Whether you enjoy drawing, reading, writing, knitting, or any other creative hobby, incorporating it into your day will help refresh your body, engage your brain, and help stave off a slump.




RELATED: Feeling Sluggish? You Need These 6 Steps For A Reliable Afternoon Routine




Lean on friends for good ideas

13. Lean on Your Circle: How Friends Can Propel You

You might be surprised by how much guidance and experience your social circle has with overcoming afternoon slumps. To gain some of their precious knowledge, try asking your friends and family to share tips for fighting the power down mid-day.


You might be surprised by the unique (or conventional) suggestions people in your social circle may provide. Additionally, your social circle may offer to buddy up with you and help you overcome an afternoon crash by inviting you on a short walk or out for lunch. You never know what gems you might uncover.




14. Celebrate Every Little Victory: Why It Matters

Did you make it through a cavalcade of meetings, emails, appointments, or other essential tasks for the first part of your day? If so, you deserve to celebrate yourself and your accomplishments! Just because you’ve completed things you planned to do doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to pat yourself on the back for achieving them.


Rather than waiting for the big moments, celebrate your small wins and reward yourself as you see fit. By rewarding yourself, you will keep your energy levels and motivation high, build up your self-esteem, and motivate yourself to keep collecting small achievements throughout the day.




15. Plan Your Chill Time: Structured Ways to Relax

Do you find yourself falling into an exhausted heap on your couch or in your bed at the end of every day? If so, you need structured relaxation time scheduled into your day. Having designated downtime in your daily life is an excellent way to relax, recharge, and reduce high-stress levels that often contribute to afternoon crashes.


To start creating structured relaxation time for yourself, take out your planner or phone and look at your current schedule. Whether you plan your life to a tee or there are tumbleweeds in your physical (or digital) planner, survey your typical waking hours and think about the best and most realistic time to plan 30 minutes or more of nothing but relaxation. Schedule the time and make it immovable and non-negotiable.




16. Evening Rituals to Help You Unwind and Reflect

Transitioning from “hustle and bustle” to sleep is nearly impossible without an effective evening wind-down routine. Without winding down and getting good sleep, an ADHD afternoon crash is all the more likely. An evening wind-down will help you get cozy and ready for some good old-fashioned shut-eye, similar to structured relaxation time.


Your evening wind-down could consist of a nighttime shower, a skincare routine, and a brief calming meditation session in dimmed lighting at the end of the day before heading to dreamland.


No matter how intricate or simple you make your pre-sleep wind-down routine, the goal is to set yourself up for success, help you achieve good sleep hygiene, and reduce your chances of an afternoon slump the next day. For bonus points and rest, upgrading to having sleep routines is even better.




Consistent Bedtime for energy

17. Consistent Bedtimes: A Must for Peak Performance

If you haven’t noticed, good quality sleep is crucial in regulating your body clock, managing your energy levels, and preventing afternoon crashes. Sleep deprivation is no bueno for countless reasons. To help keep your body running smoothly, try implementing a regular sleep schedule (even on Saturdays and Sundays).


Having sleep schedule consistency means your wake and sleep times should be rock solid no matter the day of the week. Set wake-up and sleep bedtimes to help your body know what to expect, make getting enough sleep more effortless, and reduce the chances of face-planting at 1:00 PM due to tiredness. If your sleep schedule is *not* currently consistent, consider changing your wake time in increments to ease yourself into the change.




18. Create a Tech-Free Sanctuary for Better Sleep

Raise your hand if you take your phone to bed at night. I see you raising your hand! Most of us fall asleep with technology and immediately wake up with it, which, needless to say, does us no favors with sleep quality.


According to research, the blue light from our phones and computers significantly contributes to keeping our brains wired and preventing restorative sleep.


Consider keeping your bedroom tech-free to combat the adverse effects of blue light. Try leaving your phone in another room at night and buying an actual alarm clock if you usually use your phone as one. Make your bed a “no laptop zone.” Banish tablets and other devices to other parts of your living area. As tough as it may be to eliminate electronic distractions, your body will thank you in the afternoon and the long run.




19. Reflect and Grow: The Benefits of Journaling

Do racing thoughts keep you up at night? The nagging feeling that you’re forgetting something on your to-do list can be a major culprit for why your sleep suffers. If your sleep quality is being affected by repetitive thoughts, journaling at night is an excellent tool.


Consider keeping a blank notebook or journal near your bed at night and do a brain dump. And the best part is that the journaling or brain dumping that you doesn’t have to be fancy. Writing freely before bed can help you clear your mind of anything that may negatively affect your sleep and keep you from getting the rest you deserve.




20. Stay Hydrated with Smart App Reminders

When you’re in the zone, getting things done, and completing tasks, it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself and drink water. Technology can help, though. You can use a water reminder app to prevent yourself from forgetting to stay hydrated.


Whether your water intake is low due to forgetfulness or lack of planning, dehydration may be a significant contributing factor to your afternoon crashes. These helpful water reminder apps can help you take a sip (or gulp) frequently. The added hydration can give you a much-needed energy boost and keep your focus high. If you like cute apps, consider Plant Nanny. If you want more straightforward trackers, check out the Waterminder app.




Good ergonomics can help beat the afternoon slumps

21. Comfort Meets Productivity: Why Good Ergonomics Matter

Did you know that poor posture and general physical discomfort can contribute to afternoon fatigue and feeling like you need a nap by midday? An optimized desk setup can set you up for success.


Utilizing an ergonomic desk setup is a great way to ensure you maintain the proper posture and seating position, which can help you manage your energy levels. Having the right chair, desk, keyboard, and monitor can help keep you alert and focused. Investing in ergonomics doesn’t have to stop with your office. You can also incorporate ergonomic furniture into other parts of your home, like your living room.




22. Enhance Your Workspace to Maintain Focus

An effective way to stay engaged is to change your environment as needed throughout the day. You can change the position of your body as one form of stimulation.


For example, if you spend most of your day sitting, try standing frequently. You can take this up a notch by using a standing desk. You can also try changing your physical location. If you typically spend most of your day indoors, see if you can spend part of your morning or afternoon outside to refresh yourself and get a change of scenery. If you usually work from home in your office, move to the kitchen to work for part of the day.


The goal is to keep yourself interested and stimulate your mind by enhancing your workspace and changing your environment. The monotony of staying in the same position and location can make it easy to get bored and subsequently tired. Varying your environment will help reduce the chances of an afternoon slump.




23. Navigating ADHD Medication: When to Seek Expert Medical Advice

Sometimes, no matter how many life and behavioral changes you make, you may need a more substantial helping hand. Enter medication. If you find yourself having afternoon crashes frequently due to your ADHD, and they’re not improving no matter what lifestyle changes you make, consider seeking guidance from a medical professional regarding the possible benefits of ADHD medication.


There’s no shame in utilizing well-established and proven helpful stimulant or non-stimulant medications if you need them. A doctor can discuss your best treatment options, potential side effects, and other pertinent information about ADHD drugs. Don’t hesitate to contact a healthcare provider, like a psychiatrist or primary care physician, to get the ball rolling.




24. Understanding Medication’s Role in Managing ADHD

If you’re on medication or plan to be, remember that your medication can be a significant factor in keeping your brain clear, maintaining your focus, and managing your energy levels. Make sure that you’re taking your medication as prescribed to manage your ADHD symptoms best.


Remember that medication, in conjunction with lifestyle changes like the ones recommended in this article, you may be able to fashion the optimal ADHD management strategy to keep yourself in peak working order.




The Takeaway

Feeling exhausted only halfway through your day can be a real struggle, and it’s incredibly frustrating when you want to stay focused and get things done.


The good news is that several techniques can help you overcome the ADHD afternoon crash struggle, reduce energy dips, and remain engaged the entire day.


Effectively managing ADHD and combating afternoon crashes requires a personalized approach. To find the *ideal* ADHD management strategies, try out some of these tips in increments and note what works best.


Additionally, consulting with healthcare professionals can help steer you in the right direction if you’re interested in adding medication to your ADHD management strategy.


However you choose to tackle it, please know there are several ways to overcome afternoon crashes and power through your afternoon feeling alert, strong, and accomplished. You’ve got this!




Do you have experience with afternoon crashes as a woman with ADHD? Do you have any tips or strategies that help you beat them? Please share in the comments!

women having an adhd afternoon crash

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Founder. Creative. Innovator. Artist. Writer. I'm here to take you along with me as we explore personal development, lifestyle, wellness, and self-care... together.




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