Holiday & Travel Planning

Holiday Stress Relief Begins Here

Budgeting gifts, planning meals, and coordinating travel all require executive function skills that falter in many adults with ADHD. Is it any wonder, then, that the holiday season is so stressful and exhausting? Reclaim the season’s joy by following these 10 rules this year.

Children baking cookies during the holidays to promote stress relief
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Replay Your Greatest Hits

To get started on holiday stress relief, make a list of all the activities your family did last year — everything from attending a religious service to seeing local light displays. Have each family member rate them on a scale from 1 (very important) to 3 (unimportant). Do your best to fit in the 1s and some 2s, and forget about the 3s.

Woman looking up stress relief strategies during the holidays
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Save the Earth — And Your Wallet

Set a date on your calendar to send out cards, and make the job fun and easy by using your computer to send cute, interactive e-mail cards.

Person holding holidays gifts and wondering about stress relief
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Streamline Gift-Giving

Keep shopping to a minimum by buying everyone varieties of the same thing, such as books, gift certificates, or clothing from the same catalog or website. Stock up on decorative candles or bottles of wine to give out as hostess gifts, too.

Food packed in different Tupperware containers to relieve stress during the holidays
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Simplify Your Life

Find a few precious hours by deferring nonessential activities — like an oil change — until after the holidays. Another time-saving strategy is to spend fewer hours in the kitchen by buying prepared dinners at your grocery store or cooking, then freezing, double recipes when you have time.

Person taking out trash to promote stress relief during the holidays
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1, 2, 3...Declutter!

One day in November — and perhaps again in December — set a goal to declutter your house in an hour. Supply everyone in the family with large garbage bags, and have them deposit unwanted or unneeded things into them. Label the bags with masking tape, so that you know which room the items came from, and place them in your basement or garage until the holidays are over.

Man walking his dog during the holidays as a form of stress relief
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Get Moving

Exercise produces endorphins, brain chemicals that help you better handle stress and increase your sense of well-being. When you don't have time for a workout, write down your worries on paper — getting them out of your head will enable you to move on with what you need to do.

Doing laundry during the holidays to promote stress relief
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Break it Up!

Expecting company? Divide preparations into daily chores you can accomplish in a week.

7 Days to Go: Gather and wash formal dishes.
6 Days to Go: Clear out the fridge for big dishes.
5 Days to Go: Wash sheets and towels for guests.
4 Days to Go: Vacuum and dust.
3 Days to Go: Clean all bathrooms.
2 Days to Go: Clean kitchen.
1 Day to Go: Do a quick decluttering trip.

A young girl helps with household chores during the holidays to help her parents with stress relief
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Delegate

It can be difficult for people with ADHD to ask for help — they feel like it's an admission that they're not in control. But there are too many tasks during the holidays for one person to handle, so don't feel bad about asking others to pitch in.

Parent playing game with a child to relieve stress during the holidays
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Take Care of Yourself

Carve out time to go for walks, take hot baths, meditate, pray, visit friends, take naps, or relax with your children or spouse.

Family sitting around the tree during the holidays and talking about stress relief
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Let Perfection Go

Do you need to throw a five-course feast, or would a potluck dinner do the trick? Relax your attitude — and you will enjoy the season.