Holidays have the potential to send an adult with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) into overload. Too many details to plan, kids to manage, and family to cope with can turn a good day into a stressful one. The following suggestion can help adults manage ADD during the holidays.
1. Know Your Own ADD and Plan Ahead to Deal with It
You know yourself better than anyone, so ask yourself "How does my ADD affect me on the holidays?" Make a list of all the things that tend to stress you out on the holidays, and make a plan to deal with them.
Do you tend to say impulsive things that you later regret? Plan to take a deep breath before answering questions, so that you can think about your words before you speak them.
Do hyper kids overwhelm? Plan to excuse yourself and take a brief walk when the kids are so noisy that you can't think straight.
Does a family member really make you mad when s/he starts nagging or becomes critical? Plan a simple response that won't fuel the fire, like "I'm sorry you feel that way. I'd rather talk about a great book I'm reading right now."
Do you get antsy after a long day? Plan to end the day early, so that you don't reach the point of irritability.
2. Don't Expect Perfection
Accept that the day won't be perfect. Nothing is! Whether you are hosting the holiday, going to a friend or family member's, or visiting a restaurant, realize that something is bound to go wrong. That's life. Don't hold it against yourself, or the people around you. Whatever it is, do your best to move on and let it go.
3. Ask For Help/Accept Help
If you're hosting the holiday, ask for help in the kitchen. This is perfectly acceptable, and most people are happy to help out where they can. If you're offered help, accept it with gratitude! You don't have to do it all on your own.
If you're a guest, offer to take over a task that you're good at or don't mind doing. That doesn't necessarily mean offering to cook or serve, it can mean keeping the kids occupied! (Or, in my family, keeping the dogs out of the kitchen!)
4. Remember That People Do The Best They Can
Long days with family members can often end in frustration and hurt feelings. Try to remember that people do the best they can with the skills and tools they have. Hurtful comments probably aren't meant to be hurtful. If someone says something to you that you find hurtful or offensive, ask yourself "What is this person's intention?" The answer will most likely be "to be helpful." Don't hold it against friends and family members who may not have the necessary skills to express themselves effectively.
Set the tone for those around you by being positive, smiling often, and enjoying yourself!
© Copyright 2004
Jennifer Koretsky is a Professional ADD Management Coach who helps adults manage their ADD and move forward in life. She offers a 90-day intensive skill-building program, workshops, and private coaching. Her work has been featured in numerous media, including The New York Times Magazine and The Times (UK). To subscribe to Jennifer’s free email newsletter, The ADD Management Guide, please visit http://www.addmanagement.com/e-newsletter.htm.