Whether you celebrate an upcoming winter holiday or not you will likely feel their impact as you go about your professional and personal business.
And, while the holiday season may look different for everyone, it is likely you will share some of the same challenges with other adults with ADHD, such as:
- dealing with the transitions brought on by the different work schedules of you and your colleagues.
- planning for the holidays.
- making decisions related to the holidays.
- regulating your emotions in various holiday gatherings.
- sustaining effort in your important work when there are so many competing stimuli.
- managing impulsiveness around spending.
You may have different challenges, I’m sure.
But you get it.
It is a time of year that can be more difficult than other times in terms of managing your ADHD symptoms. Being aware of this is the first step in addressing these challenges.
The next step is deciding how to navigate the various contexts in which you will find yourself in the upcoming months.
Work and the Holidays
The one place the holidays will likely impact you, whether you celebrate them or not, is your work. Anticipating and planning for the inevitable disruptions ahead will help you avoid potential pitfalls.
1.First, update your calendar through January so you can see what the hard landscape of the next few months will look like for you.
Be sure to mark the days you will be off so you can see the actual amount of time you have available to work.
2.Then, if you are relying on colleagues, vendors, employees, bosses etc. in order to accomplish any part of your work, check in with them to see what their availability is through the holidays.
3. Next, taking the above information into consideration, plan as much as necessary for your upcoming projects through January. Be sure your plans reflect the changes brought about by the holidays.
Remember, it is not business as usual.
In addition to the general suggestions above, what are some specifics you need to plan for in order to work effectively through the holiday season?
Self – Care and the Holidays
Juggling the push and pull of the needs and demands outside of work can obviously also contribute to the overwhelm brought on by the holidays.
But, with everything else you need to do, you may not give much thought to planning your actual holiday experience.
Yet, making decisions in advance can help you enjoy the holidays when they roll around.
Ready to start pondering?
Begin by considering some basic self-care questions.
How will I…
- get enough sleep?
- carve out the downtime I need?
- not eat or drink to excess?
Then, as much as possible, make decisions in advance about what you want each day to look like. Here are a few questions to get you started thinking about this.
- Where will I/we be each day?
- How much time do I/we want to spend there?
- What can I/we do to break up the day – get away?
Sure, you can’t control everything that will happen during the holidays. And you want to be flexible.
But deciding in advance what you want each day to look like will help maximize your chances of having the kind of holiday you want, rather than leaving it totally to chance.
Part of taking care of yourself over the holidays is setting boundaries when necessary.
But, when emotions are running high for adults with ADHD, it is hard to process a lot of information and decide in the moment how best to react.
Deciding a game plan in advance can help you feel more confident that you will have a better chance of having positive interactions with people.
Here are a few fictitious examples to help you think about your own plan.
- “Uncle Alvin always makes comments about my clothes. This year I’m going to make a joke about it and offer to take him to my favorite clothing stores. He is a good guy, really. And it is just not worth getting worked up about!”
- “I usually get really irritated when Cousin Theodore talks my ear off. I always feel trapped. But he really likes me and likes to talk to me. So, I will talk to him for a bit, and then graciously excuse myself when I have had enough.”
- “My sister, Simone, manages to do something outrageous at every gathering. Though I am not fond of her antics, I still love her. But this year I’m not going to engage with her and make it my problem. You will find me searching for more of those yummy stuffed mushrooms.”
- “Then there is my dad, Dave… Our political views are polar opposites! But I’m not going to allow him to bait me this year. If he starts in about some issue, I’ll just tell him that I am not up for discussing it. I might just bundle up, and go for a walk.”
How are you going to respond to the people you find challenging this holiday season?
For some gift giving is a big part of the holidays. And it can entail a lot of planning! Maybe not your strong suit…
But lack of planning can also lead to impulsive spending, debt, stress and overwhelm. Sound familiar?
Here are some steps you can take to counter this:
1.If you are concerned about overspending, decide on your budget first. This can help minimize the chances of spending impulsively.
2. Then create a list of people you are buying gifts for and decide how much you want to spend on each person. This will help you keep to your budget.
3. Next decide on the gift you want to give each person. This can be the hardest part!
“Well I could give him “X” or maybe… Then again…”
This decision paralysis can go on and on until at the last minute you end up getting him the $200 sweater. Because you need to get something!
If you need help, ask someone to go through your list with you so you can make a decision now.
4. Have a shopping plan. It may include:
- blocking out time on your calendar to shop to ensure you will follow through in time, whether it is going to a local store or shopping online.
- starting to shop first for the gift you think may be the hardest to get because of considerations such as shipping, size, popularity etc.
- grouping stores together based on geography.
5. Bring your list with you when you shop, and remind yourself, I’m getting this and not that or that or that!” 😉
Shopping can be a frustrating experience for adults with ADHD. Planning can hopefully make it a little bit easier for you…
Question For You
When can you carve out time this week to think about holiday planning?