Buying gifts, planning events (in-person or now online), making cards, organising international postage and decorating the house. You just set up a weekly routine and now you're supposed to add in all of this!?
As I've mentioned before, ADHD is largely a struggle with executive functioning, including working memory and task switching (Boonstra et al., 2005; Cepeda et al., 2000; Safren et al., 2017). This means that December can be a very stressful time with ADHD. To help support your ADHD this month, I've outlined five tips to organise your December below.
Also, if you need more support with managing your December in a stress-free way, this is one of the things I cover in ADHD Coaching. You can book a free 20-minute consultation with me here to find out more.
1. Look At Which Holiday Tasks You Can Delegate And Which You Can Remove
Before you get started with gift buying, decorating, or writing cards, take a minute to note down all the goals you've set yourself. Could any of these tasks be given to another member of your family or friends? Are any of these tasks no longer relevant or something you don't enjoy doing? Work through your list, delegating and removing tasks as needed until you're left with only what you enjoy or feel is important.
2. Treat Holiday Tasks Like Any Other Task
To support ADHD, it helps to approach these festive tasks like any other. Break them into sub-steps and assign times to do them in the same way you might do with chores or workplace jobs.
3. Focus On Good-Enough Rather Than Perfect
One of the ways holiday tasks can differ from others is they come with extra pressure to be perfect. Find the perfect gift, decorate the perfect tree or write the perfectly thoughtful note in a card. To help you work through this often unrealistic idea of perfectionism, focus on completing tasks to a good-enough standard. For example, try getting a good gift rather than a perfect one.
4. Chunk Tasks
Similar to our discussion of task switching, you can group similar holiday tasks to make transitions easier. For example, if you need to book events, do it all in the same 2-hour block of time. Similarly, if you're buying gifts, try choosing one or two shops you like and buying all of your gifts from there, rather than spreading your attention across many options.
5. The Holidays Can Be Emotional, Take Time To Care For Yourself
For a whole number of reasons, the holidays can be an emotional time. Keep this in mind when tackling your tasks. It may be that writing a card is more taxing than you first realised. Take time for yourself throughout and reward yourself for completing emotionally draining or complex tasks (you can find reward idea's here and here).
Despite the focus on cheer, Christmas isn't always easy, especially with ADHD. Hopefully, these tips will help you throughout December and make things a bit simpler and more festive.
Talk to you next week,
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Boonstra, M., Oosterlaan, J., Sergeant, J., & Buitelaar, J. (2005). Executive Functioning in Adult ADHD: A Meta-Analytic Review. Psychological Medicine. https://repub.eur.nl/pub/10172/
Cepeda, N. J., Cepeda, M. L., & Kramer, A. F. (2000). Task Switching and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 28(3), 213–226. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1005143419092
Safren, S. A., Sprich, S. E., Perlman, C. A., & Otto, M. W. (2017). Mastering Your Adult ADHD: A Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment Program, Therapist Guide. Oxford University Press.