Planning for a Happy Holiday Season When You Have ADHD

The holidays should be a time to celebrate with friends and family, but all too often they can be a time of stress and unhappiness. For those with ADHD, the holidays can be both stimulating and overwhelming. There is shopping to do, parties and events to attend, and cards to write. Taking time to solve your holiday planning problems before they crop up will help you (and your loved ones) enjoy the season and start the new year energized, refreshed, and happy.

Michelle Novotni Ph.D. has some good advice.

Prioritize what is important for you and your family – All the activities around the holidays can be as busy as a full time job. And everything is squeezed into just a couple of months. Rather than trying to do everything, figure what is most important and meaningful for you. Be selective about events, activities and commitments.

Keep a list and schedule of important holiday tasks – For many people with ADHD, there are only two times to do things: NOW and NOT NOW. Often the “not now” tasks wind up getting buried under piles of paper or otherwise forgotten. To avoid this problem, designate a box, basket, or some other container as your holiday file. Whenever you receive an invitation, or anything else that calls for a decision or an action, drop it inside for later review (but not too much later). If you have a brainstorm about something holiday-related, jot it down on a piece of paper and add it to the mix. Keep a list of important tasks and when you need to do them.

Simplify your shopping – If you find yourself getting stressed out about finding the perfect gift for everyone, simplify things. For example, use gift certificates which are easy to get and are generally appreciated by the recipient. Or stock up on gift items like wine or decorative candles to manage your shopping load.

Streamline your life – Put off doing non-essential activities until after the holidays. This could non-urgent doctor or dentist visits and car repairs. If you don’t enjoy the brick and mortar shopping experience, shop online. This will save the time and aggravation of driving and waiting in line. If you are not into holiday cooking, try  using catered or take out food option for your entertaining or family events.

You can enjoy the holidays and avoid stress by taking a few simple steps to keep you organized and focused on the most important activities for you and your family.


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