The holidays are fast approaching, which, for many, means an already overloaded schedule is about to take on even more complexity. For those living with ADHD, the extra stress can have a cascading effect. Even more things to do often leads to even more things left undone. It becomes an ever increasing feedback loop.
What are some things a person with ADHD can do to help alleviate these circumstances?
First, write things down, or make an electronic note of some sort. Those with ADHD lack the internal structure necessary to organize daily tasks. Hence, creating and implementing external structures, such as written notes or setting reminders on their phone, helps to compensate for the losses. These act as both records and reminders, aiding in memory related issues.
Second, prioritize. Writing things down helps. But there needs to be a specific order of action. Often times, the complexity we face is due to neglecting more important things. If we can keep the most important things in the forefront of our efforts, then the lesser things often resolve themselves. This can help to alleviate the overall stress.
Finally, act as soon as you have the first opportunity. Many people who have ADHD struggle with procrastination. Putting things off until later, however, multiplies the amount of things to do in the future. And, of course, this can create anticipatory anxiety, such that it reinforces the procrastination. This can become another feedback loop, keeping us from ever doing what needs to be done. But if we can begin immediately, even doing a small portion, it can be a catalyst for more action.
The holidays don’t have to be more hectic than they already are. Keeping these few steps in mind as you go through the season can make things more manageable.