ADD and Holiday Stress: 5 Tips for a Stress Free-(ish) Season

| December 4, 2015 | 11 Comments
ADD and Holiday Stress

Okay… So it's official. I have become my mother.

I caught myself saying the other day, "it's already December! Where is the year gone?" I suppose it is inevitable. It happens to the best of us. Just like aging.

That got me thinking. Of course, with December comes the flurry of activity that the holidays always bring. Office parties, family gatherings, buying presents, crowds, cleaning the house for guests, overwhelm, procrastination, panic… Are you feeling the stress yet? God knows, my stomach is in knots just writing these words.

For those of us who actually have ADHD (or those of us who just feel sort of ADD-ish), if it is even harder. We already feel scattered and unproductive much of the time. Then we add on all this extra pressure and BAM we are a nervous wreck.

I remember attending the conference years ago and they were talking about the holidays and stress. I remember the speaker drawing an analogy to nature. In the winter, nature begins to go inward. The flowers and the trees go dormant, animals hibernate and everything begins to just slow down. We, on the other hand, are thrown into the busiest social time of the year. We are forced out of our natural body rhythm and into the fray. No wonder stress is high!

With that in mind, I decided to put down in this blog a reminder… to myself as much as any of you folks… of the few ways that I have found over the years to navigate this stressful time of year.

Breathe.  Okay, I get it. "Corny… I've heard it before." But hear me out. There is something magical about taking just a minute to breathe deeply and consciously and put our attention on the air coming in and out of our lungs. I have found that this simple act of taking the time to pause and breathe can help give me a new perspective, reduces the stress (sometimes instantly) and lets me connect to myself and what's important. Let's face it, there isn't much that's more important than actually breathing.

Exercise. I can already hear some of you saying, "well, DUH!!" That's probably those of you that exercise every day anyway. But for real people, in a busy time exercise becomes negotiable for us. It just takes too much time. So I propose find some kind of motion that you can incorporate into your daily routine. Park in the back of the parking lot and walk way the hell far. Walk the dog an extra 15 minutes. Do something even if it's just walking around the block for a respite. The stress relief benefits a little extra exercise can reap are huge. (Check with your doctor before starting any exercise program… Legal disclaimer my lawyers made me put here.)

Ask for Support. One of the biggest reasons that we feel overwhelmed is that we look at everything all at once and consequently look at nothing specifically. Everything seems to have equal importance. The horizon is flat. We have to do everything yesterday. "I don't even know what to do next I have so much to do"… And so on and so on. This is so common. I hear this from my clients all the time. Many of us have a difficult time distinguishing what's important to do and what's "a should." I should clean out the closet is as important as going to the market to buy dinner.You see, in overwhelm, many of us have challenges putting things in order. 'What is the next step' sounds so simple butIf everything is of equal importance will then… Everything should be next, right? NO!!! When you find yourself in that sort of situation, ask for help. Get someone else who is not directly involved to help you sort through things and put them in order. Ask them to help you articulate what is a "must do and what is a "nice to do if I have time." It can really help! (and while you're at it, get some of those lazy bastards in your family to help with some of the chores!)

Count Your Blessings. You know that Christmas song with the lyrics that go, "when I'm worried and I can't sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep, then I fall asleep counting my blessings." (I'm sure I messed that up a little bit but… Whatever… this is a free article… stop judging me. But I digress…) The truth is, whatever we look for, we will find. It's how our brains work. What we pay attention to will get bigger in our life. If you're looking for things to go wrong then you will find them. Conversely, if you want positive feeling to grow, focus on what's going well. Count your blessings and it will ground you in what's important. You will start noticing the good instead of impending doom. This one practice has changed lives. I mean, Oprah does it so it's got to be good, right?

Have Fun. Seems obvious because in theory, this should be the most joyous time of the year for many of us. There are lots of opportunities to have fun.   Parties, family getting gatherings, presents, great food, eggnog… Wait, that's what was making a stress in the first place, right?  The truth is, all of those things are opportunities for us to connect with others and enjoy but if we're so stressed out and rushing through everything to get to the next thing, we will miss it. Our life lives us rather than us living our life.  I mean, if you have to do it anyway you might as well enjoy it. Take some time to consciously have fun. It is fuel for your soul and energy for your brain.

So, this is my first foray back into blog writing in quite a while. It's imperfect but I wanted to get it out as quickly as I could. I wanted to stop the procrastination before it even started.

I welcome your comments and I also welcome your input on the kind of information and topics you'd like me to cover. In the new year, I'm going to be teaching classes of my own making. I have a lot of stuff in my head that needs to be taught. So, please reach out to me and let me know what kind of classes (in person, by phone and webinar) you'd like me to teach.  You can put it in the comments below or you can send me a note on Facebook or via the contact form on the site. I look forward to your thoughts.

Have a fantastic holiday season!

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  1. Lynn Shumaker says:

    great job! I loved the humor. I really liked just a couple points that a memorable like a sermon! 🙂 Look forward to more.

  2. Vera Anderson says:

    Roger! Lovely to hear from you! Thanks for taking time to share these particular thoughts. For me, they came at the perfect time. What jumped out at me was “all of those THINGS are opportunities for us to connect with others.” I’m enjoying planning for my Grandma-Rama holiday visit and as I loaded up on pipe cleaners and glitter I didn’t notice my focus had shifted to the projects themselves and away from the dear little person I’m doing them with. It was so easy to get carried away. Thanks for arresting that with your reminder. Those things are opportunities for us to connect. We’re not making projects, we’re making memories. Best wishes to you!

  3. Great blog. You have inspired me to get my blog going again.

  4. Dale Davison says:

    Congrats on your blog! Was helpful!

  5. Kamran says:

    Great advice and very good writing. Thanks. I took the time to consider and practice each point while reading your blog.

  6. CoachRudy says:

    Congratulations Roger! Nice blog article on timely subject. Good helpful suggestions and reminder for ALL of us. I will post my holiday article in the next few days.

    Good job!

  7. Sherri Dolheimer says:

    I want to relaunch my business and learn more about how to effectively market to teach people in my community. I would also like to start writing and telling my story,

    I would like to get the next level of certification and possibly run group coaching and support groups while partnering with a coach in my community who is also a student of ADDCA.

    • Roger says:

      Sherri, lets work on that together.  Either 1-1 or Barbara and I are doing a class on just this topic.  Reach out when you have a chance

  8. Great Blog post! I loved that you shared your process. Some very helpful things for me to hear, as I endeavor to get out of my own way and do marketing. Thank you!

  9. Dan says:

    Thanks for sharing and getting past procrastination, something I am being hindered by now. This phrase here really stood out at me “Our life lives us rather than us living our life.” I’ll be rolling this around my brain for a bit. I hope I can borrow it, and will give credit where it’s due.

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