6 Steps to Handle ADHD Holiday Stress
First, let’s look at why ADHD makes the holidays so stressful. (I always like you to know the why behind the what.) Much of the ADHD holiday stress can be boiled down to all the details.
Day-to-day life tends to keep us on the edge of overwhelm the other 11 months of the year. Then comes December full of activities and expectations. Shopping, parties, wrapping, decorating, traveling, cooking, and all the rest. And, it all gets piled on our already busy lives.
If I were your ADHD coach, I’d help you strategize ways to avoid the holiday stress altogether. But, that’s not the point of today’s ADHD Success. Today let’s talk about what to do when that ADHD holiday stress hits.
6 Steps To Control ADHD Holiday Stress
Step One. The trick is to stop stress when you first notice it. To do this I encourage you to tune into what I call your stress alarm; your early warning sign that you’re wading into ADHD holiday stress.
We each react differently to stress. You may get a headache or get cranky. When I find myself getting angry at other cars on the road, I know my stress alarm is going off and I best do something about it. If you aren’t sure what your stress alarm is ask a close friend or family member. They probably know.
Step Two. When you notice your stress alarm blaring, loudly say STOP! This gets your attention. (Do not fall for that nagging little voice saying you don’t have time to do this. That voice is not your friend! Besides, it’ll take you about 15 seconds to do steps 1 – 5.)
Step Three. Next, take two deep breaths and exhale slowly. Deep breathing calms you down. It’s nature’s way of telling us that the sabertooth tiger isn’t attacking.
Step Four. After you breathe, tune into your senses. This is one of my favorite calming, mindfulness tricks. Notice what you’re feeling, smelling, tasting, seeing, and hearing. This takes your mind off what is causing your ADHD holiday stress.
Step Five. Figure out the source of your stress. Are you hungry? Have you forgotten to take your ADHD medication? Are you over-scheduled? Perhaps you’re exhausted or you’ve said yes to one too many things. If you’ve got ADHD you need to take care of yourself!
Step Six. Okay, here’s where you may need to do some work. To reduce ADHD holiday stress you need to handle the situation. Get a bite to eat. Take a break or say no to a commitment that isn’t important to you. Simplify as much as you can. Yes, this can be hard to do, but if you’re stressing out are you really doing anyone else any favors by ignoring your own needs?
I used to hate the holidays. I felt like it was too much too fast and I couldn’t keep up. I felt like I was dancing to everyone else’s needs and ignoring my own. These six steps for controlling ADHD holiday stress have been a game changer for me.
Once I became aware of the stress and what was causing it, I realized I had choices. Now, I actively focus on making the holidays peaceful and fun. If I can do this, you can, too. Stop thinking you have to struggle. Start controlling ADHD holiday stress.