Holidays are nice and all, but let’s be honest: a holiday with ADHD is rough. Shiny shopping malls, awkward interactions with relatives and our own misguided expectations can lead us off the cliff of madness. Organization methods are great, but what can we do when the train starts going off the rails? Here are three tips to help you manage your stress levels so you can deck the halls, not the people around you.

1. Mindfulness might save your mind

If you have never tried mindfulness, now might be your time. The roast is burning? The children fighting? Take a deep breath, and imagine yourself somewhere far far away, with no decorations, in-laws or loudspeakers playing carols.

The best part of mindfulness is that it actually may save your mind AND help you manage your ADHD symptoms more efficiently. Ready to give it a whirl? Go see my good friends at Mindfully ADD!

2. Perfection might be attainable, but good enough may have to do.

Roasts may burn. Relatives may fall ill. Deadlines will get missed, and someone will lose your last roll of tape. I’m a perfectionist myself, so I really don’t like it when something comes in and tries to keep me from scoring a 10/10.

Here’s the problem with perfection: if the holiday becomes more about appearance and less about experience, you are missing the whole point. The family won’t remember how beautifully the table was set, but they will remember your scolding, nagging, and screaming. So will their therapist if you don’t learn to let it go.

3. Laugh. Laugh. Laugh.

My husband is a chef. EVERY HOLIDAY where he has to cook, we both become tense as rubber bands. One, because we are chronically disorganized. Two, inevitably that has hobbled our progress in some way. Usually by the time we are sitting down to say grace we are both primarily thankful to have not strangled each other.

The solution to this? We laugh like hell at ourselves afterwards. We sit down with a glass of wine once the kids are asleep and all the guests are gone and we shriek with laughter over all of our faults and foibles. Then we move on. You can too.

I know the holidays can max you out and leave you frazzled. Some other good tips are to have a room off to the side where you can get a breather of sensory overload kicks in. Have a family member keep an eye on that aunt who manages to insult everyone and have them step in when things begin to look awkward. And most of all, remember: it’s only once per year!

Until Next Time,

René

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