Holiday time can be exciting (spending time with loved ones), overwhelming (forced to spend time with family) and challenging (a break in routine). This is especially true for people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), who have to deal with the added pressure of the holidays and free time, causing anxiety and stress, that can trigger their ADHD symptoms.
What is ADHD?
ADHD is a chronic brain disorder. The main symptoms of ADHD can affect a person’s behaviour and includes:
- Hyperactive, and
In children, ADHD symptoms are observed as a distraction, unable to complete tasks and often interrupting others. In adults, the symptoms show up as anxiety, mood swings, procrastination, depression and relationship problems.
Medication is recommended to manage ADHD symptoms, so are coping techniques that can make a difference, especially over the holidays. If you’re considering taking a ‘drug holiday’, talk to your doctor who will advise you based on your symptoms.
Enjoy a stress-free holiday period with these helpful tips
Holiday travelling can be stressful, as people spend more time on the road because of traffic, queues at rest stops, and getting stuck with delayed flights. Plan ahead to make sure travel disruptions don’t impact regular meal times, or when treatment should be taken.
Delicious desserts often rule over the holidays, but increased sugar in your diet can impact ADHD symptoms. Plan healthy balanced meals and snacks. Be sure to include fruit and vegetables, and drink lots of water. All this will maintain a consistent energy level.
Keep to sleep routine
It’s easy to lose track of time and stay up all night, especially when there’s no reason to wake up early. But, a lack of sleep can mean a person is less focused the next day. Try as much as possible to keep to a good sleep routine, which includes no screen time before bed.
Structure activities for children
Holidays mean a lot of free time, but for children living with ADHD, this time should be used productively. Plan lots of fun activities so children don’t get bored, and so that they stay out of trouble. Ask your children what they’d like to do. Activities of their choice will keep them engaged and guarantee a fun and relaxing time for the family.
Don’t stop treatment
Holiday time doesn’t mean taking a break from ADHD treatment. Stick to the regular treatment schedule recommended by your doctor, and avoid symptoms returning or worsening. That way you’ll be ready to hit the ground running and have a successful 2021.
These tips for managing ADHD symptoms are a great way to plan for a relaxing holiday. Everything won’t always go according to plan, and it’s important not to stress.
For additional resources, advice and support, like and follow the Our Mental Health Facebook page. SANOFI in partnership with Janssen continues to offer practical resources for parents, guardians and support systems of people living with ADHD.