From a distance, the holiday season looks great – full of warmth, laughter, cosy family time, beautiful decorations and delicious food. However, as an adult with ADHD, you know this time of year can be highly stressful. You have to coordinate and incorporate a lot of extra things into your already busy life. Keeping a tidy, clean house (for guests), money management (lots of extra expenses), planning ahead, organizing events and travel arrangements, managing your time and keeping in check perfectionist and procrastination tendencies could be a potential nightmare. But it doesn’t have the be. The key to enjoying the holidays is to find balance. Do enough so that you enjoy and celebrate the holidays, yet not TOO much that you are frazzled, burned out and in debt.

5 adhd tips for happy holidaysHere are a 5 tips for a balanced holiday season:

1. Spend a few minutes now thinking of five things YOU would like to do this year. What makes the holidays fun and memorable for you? What would you feel sad about if it didn’t happen? Here is my list. After I have these musts, anything and everything else is a bonus.

  • Decorate a real tree (love the smell of a tree)
  • Spend time with my family (parents and siblings)
  • Send out Christmas cards (great way to keep in touch with friends I don’t see very often)
  • Wrap presents in gold and red with lots of ribbon
  • Buy a new Santa for my Santa collection

Your list might include building a snowman, drinking hot chocolate, attending midnight mass, eating a particular food, singing carols, watching a favourite Christmas movie, going to see “The Nutcracker” ballet, donating time to charity, baking cookies, the list is endless…

2. Print out a calendar of December and write down any social engagements you have already, then allocate time for your list of 5 things. Use the following list to help as a reminder of other things your holidays might include and pop them on your calendar. This will help you to not overschedule and allow time to do the things that are important to you.

Party outfits

Making sure your home looks great for visitors
Planning and preparing tasty food

Holiday preparation
Writing and sending Christmas cards
Wrapping gifts
Putting up decorations

Arranging flights and road trips

Coordinating your social calendar
Including parties, family get-togethers, drinking with friends

Managing the extra expense of these activities

3. Remember: Balance Is Key. Your goal is to embrace the holidays without going crazy. It’s okay to say no to some invitations that aren’t appealing to you. Don’t feel you need to spend too much money on each person… it really is the thought that counts. Set a budget for the holidays. That way you won’t feel guilty about spending money nor will you over spend.Repeat this mantra: Good is good enough. Whenever you feel like your perfectionist tendencies are getting in the way, remember, you aren’t Martha Stewart or Brie on “Desperate Housewives.” It is better to have shown up, baked a cake, sent out some cards, etc., than getting so hung up on perfection that you don’t do anything.

4. Make normal/boring activities into special ones. Why not take yourself to Starbucks, order a Christmas drink and sit with your address book, Christmas cards and stamps and write your cards? While wrapping presents, put on a Christmas movie or some Christmas tunes to really get you in the festive mood.

5. Whatever the holidays have in store for you this year, HAVE FUN!!!! Enjoy what you are doing and try not to worry about what you still have to do or haven’t done. Five years from now, you won’t remember the logistics. What you will remember is the time you spend with the people who are dearest to you.

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