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Five Habits for Highly Festive Holidays for ADHDers

yahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaHolidays make us all crazy; travel, gifts, coworkers, kids, parents, cards, trees, decorating…  the list goes on and on.  Imagine being someone that has a hard time keeping track of just how to get through the week – let alone the holidays!  Welcome to how us ADHDers feel.

I’ve decided that in order to make it through the holidays, I’m going to have to prioritize doing some things that I know help me make it through my regular days – but religiously!  We use holidays as an excuse to slack off on certain good habits – but for people with attention span issues these things we innocently slack off on could be our undoing.

So here are my Five Habits for the holiday season:

  1. Keep lists. I suggest checking them more than twice – think twice daily!  Use Sundays to plan.  Don’t make the list on the go, but sit down, and focus solely on what you need to do to make your holidays enjoyable and memorable.  Write it all out.  You will then enter your weeks energized, and ready to conquer!  Just don’t forgot to keep your list with you at all times so you can check, modify, update, and congratulate.
  2. Consciously exercise daily. This is one of the first things to get thrown out the door during the holiday season for people, because there is no time!  What we often forget is that we waste way more time when we feel sluggish and cranky, the feeling we get when we stop exercising and start eating a lot of stuff.  We need to be in our best mood, and what better mood booster than the endorphins released during and after exercise?!  I try to do at least a brisk walk for 30 minutes every day.  It also helps release the guilt from eating those extra few cookies.
  3. Meditate for ten minutes a day. You can call it whatever you want- meditate, relax, pray, sit, lie, bathe, etc.  The concept is to stop the world for ten minutes each day, and just breathe.  Let your thoughts simply go through you.  Focus on the feelings we should associate with holidays – thanks for the blessings we have.  Make a conscious effort to feel that warm, generous feeling of gratitude in every inch of your body.  Let it wander through your fingertips, arms, neck, and travel all around until your whole being is at peace.
  4. Focus on giving thanks. Every Day.  All Day.  Sure, move on your lists, but don’t do it like a bull in a china shop.  We often forget what the holidays are all about because of the to do’s, and it is easy for those with ADHD to get caught up in them and lose sight of the real meaning.  We live in a time of economic hardship, where a lot of people in the U.S. can’t even put food on their tables.  We need to consciously remember to be thankful to ourselves and to others throughout the season – as that is what it truly is all about.
  5. Forgive yourself and others. I remind myself of this all the time, but it is especially true during the holidays.  I may have the best of intentions, but ultimately forget to thank this person, don’t send a card, buy a wrong size, etc. etc.  My company may not run perfectly and I may be late more often than usual.  I’m not ‘off the hook’ – but I need to realize that the holidays are an especially harried time for my brain.  Every day I will intend to do the best I can, and work to let the rest go.

I’m certainly not saying that if I do all of these my (our your) holidays will be perfect.  But I can guess they are going to be a lot better because these things are top of mind.  We often make a mad dash into the season, and breathe a sign of relief when it is over, instead of working to create habits that allow you to enjoy it.

I would love to hear some tips you all have on making your holidays easier?

Please share your advice and Good Luck!!!

Creative Commons License photo credit: oooh.oooh

Five Habits for Highly Festive Holidays for ADHDers

Kathryn Goetzke

I own a company called the Mood-factory (, a company that creates products based on how sensory experiences effect moods. I also run a nonprofit for depressio, iFred (, we are working to change the brand of depression. And yes, I have ADHD, along with PTSD, major depressive disorder, and a host of other challenges, opportunities, and gifts.

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APA Reference
Goetzke, K. (2010). Five Habits for Highly Festive Holidays for ADHDers. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 13 Dec 2010
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