Transitions and ADHD: Going to Vacation Island

by | Aug 12, 2021 | ADHD Success Skills and Tools | 0 comments

transitions and ADHD

It’s official. I want to go back to Vacation Island. A place where I could sleep in late, float on the lake, and basically do whatever I wanted. 

The relaxation I felt on my trip has abated as I return to Real World Land where work, early mornings, meal prep and planning prevail. There’s just too much adulting that I have to do on a daily basis.

Have you noticed how it’s more challenging for you, an ADHD Adult, to transition to and from vacation mode than for people without Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder?

That’s because mixing a vacation with ADHD can be a recipe for stress and exhaustion.

Many people with ADHD find managing the details of daily living difficult as is. Switching over into a new way of being and adding in the extra tasks of preparing for and returning home from a vacation can push them over the edge.

So, should a person with ADHD stop taking vacations altogether? Of course not! Instead, there are steps you can take to ease your vacation stress . 

Preparing for the Vacation with ADHD

First, let’s talk about how vacation prep can leave you frazzled and on edge (and connect you with other resources to help with whichever part has you stressed out).

Transitioning TO and AFTER the Vacation with ADHD

Transitions are a challenge for people with ADHD. Changing from one task or situation to another are times when we’re vulnerable to wasting time and getting distracted. It can inflame symptoms and cause havoc in our lives which leaves us frustrated, ineffective and robs our self-confidence. 

When it comes to vacation, it’s often hard to switch from Real World Land to Vacation Island and back again.  We find it hard to destress and let go of all the thoughts racing in our heads. To adjust to different sleep and wake schedules. Or give up routines that kept us functioning at a successful level. 

Then just when we unwind and begin to enjoy ourselves, it’s time to go home. We have to get back on a good sleep schedule, remember how to be productive and find the motivation to do all the adulting things we escaped from.

All that switching up is exhausting. 

But vacations are essential. That downtime is extremely important for your brain. So instead of skipping them, you just have to build a bridge to make the transitions between the two worlds easier to navigate. 

Here are 4 steps to take to make that bridge easy to navigate:

  1. Increase awareness. Know how transitions feel to you and what ones are hard for you. What are things you do to waste time during a transition? Learn how long it takes you to adjust from life to vacation to life again.
  2. Plan for transitions. Stand back and look at your life through the transition lens. Make a list to remind you what you need to do when you return. Schedule those first few days with light activities. Don’t go back to work within hours of arriving home with a full calendar.
  3. Accept how you’re feeling. Stop beating yourself up. Be realistic about what you can and can’t do in a transition and give yourself the leeway and time to adjust. Don’t get so hung up on operating like the non-ADHD people in your world who don’t struggle with these things. 
  4. Use tools to make bridging transitions and ADHD easier to do. Tools need to become your mainstay in bridging the small transitions you face every day. 

For me and vacations, I know it takes about 4 days before I’m at normal productivity so I plan a lighter schedule my first few days back. I know I can jump on client calls right away when I get back, but working on projects (like this blog post) is trickier. 

I’ve learned how to build and navigate the bridge and plan to travel across it again later this month! Vacation Land – here I come!

In the ADHD Success Club, I teach about 7 tools to help you navigate transitions. Click here to learn how you can sign up and use the code SUCCESS to receive $10 off/month! 


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