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Managing ADHD in The Festive Season


The onset of the festive season, which is such a positive experience for most, can be extremely challenging for people with ADHD. Coordinating all the different elements of Christmas is a logistical nightmare for people who struggle with organisation and changing patterns in routine. It’s not unusual for anxiety levels to rocket and sometimes behaviour traits which can normally be managed, rise to the surface.

It’s important to be aware of this and to do what we can to stay positive. Thanks to the global pandemic, this year is different. It looks as though Christmas is going to be a lot more low key for many of us. This is good news for people with ADHD. It means:

  • Fewer Christmas parties and social events. Those that do take place will either be very small or online.
  • Fewer festive family reunions to attend. This is a bonus if you’re someone who dreads these events!
  • December should feel ‘normal’ for longer.
  • New Year’s Eve is unlikely to be an elaborate and extravagant event.

We can realistically expect a much quieter and more relaxed Christmas. It might be rather nice!

If you find yourself struggling to remain positive, here are a few suggestions about what you can do to keep up your spirits.

Be prepared

Even a quieter Christmas still comes with plenty of tasks to do. If not managed well, this can lead to overwhelm for people with ADHD. To avoid feeling like you’ve failed, get yourself organised well in advance. Buy and write cards early. Locate your address book and make sure you have enough stamps. Write a list of what you need to buy and schedule in some shopping time.


Keep up your usual exercise routine as much as you can. Exercise acts as a natural treatment for people with ADHD and stimulates the mind, not just the body. If you can, try to leave the house at least once a day for a walk or a run to clear your mind.

Treat yourself

Arrange to do something special for yourself. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just something that you can look forward to doing. Examples might be getting a meal from your favourite takeaway, indulging in a home-pampering session, watching a favourite seasonal film or arranging to meet someone for a walk.

Eat well

It’s a tradition at Christmas to over-indulge in rich food and alcohol. People with ADHD need to be extra mindful of over-doing it. We’re not saying, don’t have any Christmas treats, just do it with caution and in moderation. At this time of year, shops are full of fruit, vegetables and other healthy eating choices, as well as all the usual seasonal fare. What you eat directly affects your brain and too much of certain food and drinks can make ADHD symptoms more pronounced. Keep hydrated by drinking lots of water too.


Sleep deprivation has a really negative effect on people with ADHD. Keep your night-time routine as normal as possible so that you don’t miss out on valuable rest time.

Dealing with uncertainty

This year many aspects of Christmas feel really uncertain. This is a trying time for everyone, but if you struggle with anxiety, as many people with ADHD do, it can be especially difficult. It’s important to remember that while some things are different, there are also many things that are the same. Ask yourself, what is it that you enjoy about this time of year? What or who do you particularly appreciate about the festive season? If you find yourself struggling, please talk to someone about it.

If you would like some further guidance and support on managing your ADHD over the festive season, then please contact us at the ADHD Centre on 0800 061 4276 or via
 [email protected] for an in-depth ADHD assessment to improve your understanding of the disorder and to know what treatment method is fit for you or them.

The ADHD Centre

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ADHD Centre in London
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ADHD Centre in Manchester
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We are a team of experienced Consultant Psychiatrists, Psychologists and ADHD Behavioural Coaches.

We have been diagnosing and treating people with ADHD since 2009.

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