3 New ADHD-Friendly Ways to Navigate a Sense of Calm this Holiday Season

Dec 17, 2021

3 New ADHD-Friendly Ways to Navigate a Sense of Calm this Holiday Season

As it is for so many people, the holiday season is always a busy time for me. To navigate it with a bit more ease, I have collected many tips and tools that have helped me over the years and am sharing a few of them here in the hopes that they might be helpful to you, too!

FIRST: I have to get “out of the weeds” to identify my priorities

 Being in “the weeds” is what I call going through my day from one task to the next- dealing with things as they come up- without a sense of the bigger picture. I feel busy and productive- but I also feel stressed because I am not connected to my “why,”- as in, “Why am I doing this?” “Why is it important to me?” etc. With my ADHD brain wiring, I often find myself in the weeds, especially during the holidays. To get out of the weeds I need to step back from my to-do list and ask myself some grounding questions.

These are a few of the questions I ask myself, along with my answers:

  1. What do I most want this holiday season?

A: A sense of space or, in other words, time to be fully present.

  1. What will it look like when I have it?
  2. I will not be running around checking things off my list. I will have done the things I prioritized and will have time to do the things that are most important to me this time of year, such as baking, reading, knitting, watching Christmas movies and shows, visiting with family members, and giving back in time and/or resources.
  3. What do I need to have or do to succeed?
  4. A clear sense of what needs to happen and when it needs to happen in order to create a sense of space- time to be fully present. Having this clarity will support me in identifying what I need to let go of.
  5. What’s the first step?
  6. Make a list of all the things I currently think need to be part of this holiday season. Review that list, and let go of everything I can that does not align with my goal of creating a sense of space- time to be fully present.

Second: I need to use visual AND concrete planning tools!


I am a big fan of whiteboards, especially when I’m working with long lists. I also use sketchbooks and blank 8.5×11 paper. These tools allow me to do a brain dump, putting all my thoughts out where I can see them. I can work with the information much more easily when I can externalize it.

Once I had a list of the things I thought I wanted to do this holiday season, I used the criteria I defined above to determine which items would help me achieve more space and which would get in the way.

Below are a few items from my list:

Task                                        Creates Space?

Baking                                     Yes

Set up Christmas Village      No- haven’t used in years

Cookie Exchange                   No- stressful last year

Holiday Newsletter                Yes (but on regular paper!)

Volunteer with Family           Yes

Some items were removed from my list entirely, such as setting up the Christmas village

  • Others remained on my list, but were modified. For example, the annual newsletter stayed, but instead of expecting myself to find holiday paper to print it on, I decided to print it on regular paper so I could check it off with more ease.
  • I even added a couple of things that I realized were missing after I went through this process.

What are your holiday priorities, and what do you need to let go of in order to have the space or time to enjoy them during this holiday season?


If you want to hear or see more about this process and the visual tools I used to support myself, check out last week’s episode of the ADHD Friendly Podcast!


Written by Patty Blinderman

To create content focused on leveling the playing field for individuals impacted by ADHD. Patty shares research as well as tried-and-true practices and her own experiences in the hopes that it makes your life a bit more ADHD-friendly!

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