When things get chaotic and we are inundated with priorities, created by and surrounding others, it can be difficult to remember the things that allow us to enjoy anything. If we abandon the things that support us to function, the holiday season will be at best less enjoyable and at worst, downright miserable.
Here are 6 things to keep in mind when facing a holiday season with our ADHD in tow:
A lot of the things on this list are basic, but those are the most boring and therefore often the first to go out the window when we are harried. Taking the medication prescribed by our doctors can make sure that at least the playing field is level for everything we try to do, from shopping, to keeping our tempers, to juggling multiple schedules finding a time to decorate the tree.
You know what they say, Santa won’t come until you’re asleep. Every ADHD symptom becomes worse when we don’t get proper sleep. Ensuring you get the z’s you need will make everything easier and more enjoyable.
3. Social breaks
The extroverts in the crowd can skip this one. Except not really. The thing is, even those of us who get energy from being around people can still get burnt out. Those of us who get drained by social interaction might feel like getting burnt out is an inevitability around the holidays. Keeping our limits in mind when planning and accepting invitations is vital for surviving and enjoying the holiday season.
4. Moderate consumption
You could almost call it the “temptation season”. So many of us know that certain things make us feel awful, and yet they are available in abundance during the holidays. Involving others in out goals of either avoiding altogether or simply avoiding overindulgence in things like allergens, alcohol, or even just volume of food can help us resist the temptation to give into the instant gratification that can cause us suffering later.
Tom Magliozzi said, “Happiness is reality minus expectations.” I believe this is never truer than during the holidays. A perfectly enjoyable get together might turn to ashes because we are constantly comparing it in our heads to the magic of when we were 7 years old. Checking our expectations at the door is one way to help ourselves enjoy what is rather than what we wish was happening.
6. Coping mechanisms for seeing family
At the end of the day, a family is a collection of people with whom we have a permanent connection. When we have an emotional bond and trust with them as well, it’s wonderful. When we do not, we often vaguely have the feeling that it is somehow our fault, because they are family, after all, with all the baggage and social expectation that carries and implies.
Maybe we have an aunt who seems bent on discussing a political view we find grating or a grandparent who makes no secret of their disapproval of an aspect of our lives or a grandchild who is on their devices much more than we’d prefer. These things happen and it is vitally important to remember to employ any coping mechanisms we can to get through situations with sanity and relationships as intact as possible. Things like breathing exercises, taking a break from the group, changing the topic, actively connecting to people with whom we do wish to converse can make a huge difference.
What aspects of the holiday season do you find most taxing?