Embracing Joy with ADHD During the Holiday Season


The holiday season often means joy, laughter, and togetherness. However, for individuals with ADHD, it can also mean long task lists, impossible levels of perfectionism, and overstimulation with sights, sounds and emotions. With intention and strategies, you can enjoy the magic of the season.


Plan with Purpose

One of the strategies during the holidays is planning with intention and knowledge. Know what works best for your planning. This depends on your work flow and your energy level. You can create a detailed plan for each day or think big picture with a week dedicated to specific parts of your holiday plan. Make use of family and personal calendars, to-do lists, or digital reminders to help you stay organized. You may find that some days you need to regroup from the plan. Be realistic about what you can accomplish in the time you have. Curb staying up late to make up for your less productive times and reallocate that task to another day.


Prioritize Self-Care

Amidst the business of the holiday season, it’s crucial to prioritize self-care for energy and mood regulation. Making self-care a priority means skipping a party once in a while to get in bed on time, or skipping that last glass of champagne for a better night’s rest. Keep active with outside walks, time at the gym or pilates, or time for any kind of movement. Your  mental and physical well-being will help you better manage ADHD symptoms and reduce stress.


Embrace Simplicity

Too often we see the extravagance of the season as a necessity. We may feel that this holiday requires lots of twinkling lights and decorations.  Step back with intention to embrace simplicity. Choose those truly meaningful traditions or activities that you genuinely enjoy and spend time with family and friends.


Delegate and Collaborate

Throughout the year we need to delegate and collaborate. This is even more true during the holidays. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or delegate tasks. Family and friends want to join in the fun by bringing a favorite food during the holidays. Collaborative family events reduce the burden on you and also create opportunities for bonding and shared joy.


Practice Gratitude

Gratitude changes our perspective on everything. Pause and reflect on the abundance in your life and find those “glimmers” of joy that are a part of daily life. Perfectionism and comparison are the thieves of joy. Be realistic in getting up your calendar and task list knowing that you are grateful in the shared experiences of the holidays. Set a time each day to fully reflect on your gratitude. Many people enjoy a quiet time with prayer during this time too.


Embracing joy during the holiday season is possible through thoughtful planning, self-care, and a positive mindset. By prioritizing your well-being, simplifying your celebrations, and seeking support from loved ones, you can make the most of this special time of year. Remember that the essence of the holidays lies in the moments you share and the love you give through thoughts and deeds at this season.

5 replies
  1. Seana Turner
    Seana Turner says:

    I’m really resonating with your call to simplicity. Opulence and greatness may be pretty in a Hallmark movie, but there was an entire staff arranging those scenes. There are diminishing returns for most holiday festivities. Something as simple as singing Christmas carols together can make such wonderful memories.

    It is the event that we can enjoy and be fully present in that is likely to pay the greatest rewards!

  2. Linda Samuels
    Linda Samuels says:

    These are such excellent suggestions for making the holidays more joyful and less stressful. I don’t have ADHD, but I can easily feel overwhelmed by all the social engagements this time of year. So, I’m paying attention to what I say “yes” or “no” to, along with planning for self-care in between events. I love seeing our family and friends, but it can be a lot when the events are grouped back-to-back.

    Some things I do to help are balance the active social days with quiet ones, get enough sleep, stay hydrated, and make things as simple as possible.

  3. Seana Turner
    Seana Turner says:

    I’m really embracing the Simplicity idea more and more each year. I’ve realized that I can have a lot of wonderful traditions, but I don’t have to do each one every year. I can mix it up, or focus on the tradition that best fits the time and money I have this year.

    A few traditions with focus and intent will mean more than a bunch that I rush through and stress out about.

  4. Ellen
    Ellen says:

    It is so true that more is not always what it feels or seems to be. I love your phrase, “diminishing returns” because the more we put in does not mean the more we appreciate it.

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