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It’s okay not to be OK this season.

Fast approaching is the time of year that brings many celebrations and festivities. The festive season is sure to be filled with family gatherings and gifts. Many people find the holiday season a time of joy, a chance to renew relationships or spend with their loved ones. Some people are not fond of social events and don’t know how to deal with the holidays and all that goes with them, no matter what they are.

Some people with ADHD may feel stressed during the holidays. We can ruin a great time by planning well or remembering essential tasks. When there are many things to do, we feel overwhelmed and may need more time to complete. We are often too busy to sleep because we’re overthinking everything.

Stress or overwhelm is not exclusive to those with ADHD. Our neurodivergent family members may have difficulty managing their emotions despite the possible worsening of symptoms. Spread love and kindness to all, including those who don’t like celebrating. Do essential activities with your family.

You don’t have to be festive.

Some of us may struggle to maintain mental health throughout the holidays. These social gatherings can leave us feeling drained. We see others always smiling and laughing, but we cannot seem to emulate them. Even attending a holiday gathering will not make us feel festive. I don’t blame anyone for this, but it is okay not to be happy and positive during the holiday season.

It’s impossible that I would miss my family during the holidays. I want to be with my family, even though I have internal struggles. They might be elsewhere, even if I am present at our family gathering. These suppressed emotions can cause a breakdown. It was even possible for me to cry in front of others when I couldn’t control my feelings. It wasn’t very comfortable but also liberating. My family was understanding when I told them how I felt. They allowed me some space during the holidays.

Celebrating “the best time of the Year” is not compulsory. You do not have to pretend to be happy if you aren’t. Relaxing at home is perfectly okay if you feel stressed due to frequent events and gatherings. It would be best if you had realistic expectations for the holidays. It’s okay not to be there and miss events if you’re sad.

Gift Giving: The pressure and struggle

The holidays are the ideal time to exchange gifts with family members. These events are usually held on Christmas Eve or after Thanksgiving. This is usually when everyone gathers and exchanges pleasantries while giving gifts to everyone on your list. It’s nice to see people in a festive mood and smiling. Sometimes, however, the preparations and the work behind the scenes are only sometimes as pleasant. Gift-giving pressure can be overwhelming for people with ADHD.

Some people with ADHD experience anxiety when giving gifts, in addition to the planning challenges and financial stress. What if my gift recipient has unrealistic expectations? What if they don’t like the gift I give them? These small questions can make me anxious. What if I don’t have the perfect gift? It can be exhausting to overthink the process.

It can be not easy to find the right gifts during the holidays. Most people are busy getting ready for the holidays and going to the supermarkets, which can lead to long lines. I wouldn’t say I like to wait and so end up shopping online. I must decide if the present I give will be good enough.

Do you want to spend the holidays alone?

Mental health is essential at any time of the calendar year. Putting on a show and pretending everything is fine during the holiday season is not okay. It is not a good idea to ignore feelings of loneliness or sadness just to be able to chat with everyone. Give yourself a break if you want to spend time alone to avoid stress and anxiety. We must take care of ourselves first and foremost.

Holiday blues can sometimes worsen our condition, and it’s hard to cope with everything happening. We must prioritize our mental health and spend time alone during the holidays.

After the embarrassing holiday, I decided not to spend the entire season with my family. In addition to the anxiety I deal with, my work schedule is usually hectic. Instead of adding to my burden, I took a break and spent a few days away from them during the holiday season. It was refreshing and enjoyable, and I am glad I did it myself.

Remembering Our Loved ones

The holiday season can be difficult for people who are still grieving. Some people may find the happy atmosphere overwhelming if they still suffer for a loved one or close friend. You may feel sad seeing others celebrating while you are still in pain. It’s okay to take a minute and think about your loved ones that are no longer here.

Adults with ADHD may have difficulty regulating their emotions. They might need more than just deep breathing to calm themselves down. Mental health can be conflicting as we accept our loss and celebrate with those still present. Try to remember the happy memories that you share with your family. This can make the holidays a bit more bearable.

When we celebrate while mourning for someone else, the holiday stress can be even more intense. Feelings of sadness and regret can be overwhelming, making the holidays challenging. We should breathe and take a deep breath in times like this.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), some mental illnesses are more severe during the late fall and winter holidays. One example is Major Depressive disorder with a Seasonal pattern (formerly known as Seasonal Affective Dysfunction).

Neurodivergent individuals may be more likely to experience stress or depression during the holidays. Seasonal Affective Disorder is also possible, as we can’t enjoy the usual holiday activities.

Experts are currently looking into three possible causes for SAD: disruption of our internal time due to a decrease in sunlight, lower serotonin levels, and changes in melatonin levels.

Major Depressive disorder with a seasonal pattern can be a condition that is comorbid with ADHD. You should seek help if you feel depressed or down in a particular season.

Take Care of Yourself During the Holidays

Maintaining healthy habits throughout this festive month is essential, whether you sleep all day long or follow a different routine. Even though stress and negative emotions may sometimes cloud your mind, focus on what is positive in your life. Be kind to yourself.

Take a break when the holiday preparations become too stressful. Do something that you enjoy. Self-care is important. Don’t stress yourself out trying to live up to other people’s standards. You can spend your holidays with a small group of family or friends. It’s essential to enjoy the holidays and make happy memories you can cherish in the future.

Holiday & Mental health: FAQs

Adults with ADHD have difficulty celebrating the holidays.

Get the Right ADHD Planner to Unlock Your Productivity

ADHD struggles with material and short-term organization. Children’s organizational issues can be seen in the classroom, such as when they forget to do their homework. Adults with ADHD may experience administrative problems due to procrastination or missed deadlines.


The diagnosis or treatment of ADHD can only reduce the symptoms such as hyperactivity, inattentiveness and impulsivity. It will not help you with other skills like time management, organizational skills, work and home management, planning, etc. How do we deal with this problem? You can teach them ADHD mind systems to help them navigate life and improve their skills.

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