ADHD Holiday Survival Guide

Dr. Hallowell’s ADHD Holiday Survival Guide. Although people with ADHD love the intensity and excitement of the holidays, I know from experience that for someone with ADHD, stress this time of year can quickly multiply and create the perfect storm. When the ADHD brain is on overload, things can become overwhelming. Between juggling work, holiday parties, tons of lists, chaos with kids and unpredictable surprises along the way, it’s enough to send even the calmest person into a panic.

The holiday season is a never ending cycle of to-do lists that never get done, juggling acts that falter and expectations that fall short. So it’s easier to become angry, frustrated and say things you don’t mean. That’s why it’s especially important for someone with ADHD to have plenty of structure this time of the year so they can take control of the chaos around them.

So I’m offering the following tips to help cross out some of those items on your holiday to do list and ease the holiday headache for adults with ADHD and anyone else trying to remain sane in this crazybusy world:


1. Shop smart and shop early.  Last minute shopping is a big no.  There’s too much pressure.  So start as early as possible.

2. Make a list of people you need to buy for. Don’t buy too many gifts for each person.  That will keep the process from becoming too daunting.

3. Create a schedule of social events and don’t over schedule.  Leave time between engagements to gather your thoughts. Transitions are difficult for ADDers. Remember it’s okay to decline an invitation and you don’t need to offer any excuses. That will help you stay on task.

4. Prioritize rather than procrastinate. When things get busy, the adult ADHD person loses perspective and can become paralyzed.  Prioritize. Take a deep breath. Put first things first. Then go on to the second and the third task. Don’t stop. Procrastination is one of he hallmarks of adult ADHD. You have to really discipline yourself to watch out for it and avoid it.

5.  Make deadlines.

6. Get enough rest.  That will help you stay focused.

7. Recharge your batteries.  Take a nap, watch TV, meditate. Something calm, restful, at ease.

7. Carve out time to exercise or have some quiet time to yourself.  Exercise helps you work off excess energy and aggression in a positive way and calms the body.  The downtime; i.e., take a nap, watch TV, meditate, will help you recharge your batteries when you’re in crunch time.

8. Keep up with your regimen during the holidays and be vigilant about it.

The holidays are not the time to try something new.  They are the time to stick with what’s tried and true.  That will help ensure that you’re at your best this holiday season and you enjoy yourself.

Remember to take time and savor the joy of the moment.

Read more about ADHD.

Get tips on How to Take Back Control of Your Crazybusy life here.

Happy Holidays!!!


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