Coping with Holiday & Seasonal Stress

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Here are some tips on how to better handle holiday and seasonal stress. They are listed in no particular order of importance.

  1. Seasonal StressInstead of focusing on what other people are doing and trying to fit in with theirlifestyles, traditions, celebration planning, focus on what works best for your family and you. For example, some people go into detailed planning, making elaborate menus of home cooked foods that could take days to shop for and prepare. Others need to wait until the absolute last minute to seek out and put to use their special decorations, treats, gifts, etc. Do what makes YOU comfortable. Do it in spurts, if you like. Plan ahead and go out when there is less traffic, less people at restaurants, in line, at stores.
  2. During late fall and (all) winter seasons with less sunlight, plan ahead. Purchase bulbs from the thrift store with higher wattage (like 75- or 100-watts) and replace them in lamps that can take higher voltage. Keep extras on hand, too. This is the time of year when bulbs decide to go out, too, because of more use than normal.
  3. Seek out help. No need to be Superman or Wonderwoman. Ask family members or roommates to chip in and help around the house a little more than normal. Check around for local helpers by posting notices on supermarket and other store bulletin boards, call and mail letters to high school and college guidance counseling departments to see about hiring students. Ask friends, neighbors, church members, etc. for referrals. Reach out!
  4. Build flex time into your schedule. In other words, try not to be rigid with ordinary, day-to-day tasks and ones that pop up unexpectedly. When possible, to allow for extra time during holiday rushes, seasonal weather messes, etc. Leave a little earlier, allow time to shop, work, play more. Have “free” spaces for doing absolutely nothing if you want!
  5. Keep an emergency “healthcare” list ready. Just in case you symptoms that could flare-up too high, have a list of “help” numbers handy on the refrigerator with a magnet. List your healthcare provider, any local health centers that might host workshops for stress management, an ADD coach, helpful ADD (and other) websites, forums and chat rooms, etc.
  6. Communicate. Let your fellow housemates know about certain stressors or other triggers that come up and ask to work out solutions. For example, say your dishwasher breaks down when guests are over for the weekend and costly repairs aren’t in the budget. Setup a schedule so that everyone pitches in daily to keep dishes caught up, so you’re not left without plates and cups one day, and your sinks are free to use.
  7. Try to stick to your normal routine, even if you’re at someone else’s home visiting. Sure, you can allow for flexibility, but remember to take any meds you may have, stick to healthy foods and don’t overdo caffeine products, get plenty of rest, have some alone time if you need it, don’t overdo it, etc.
  8. Be creative. Tap into your energy and don’t be afraid to have fun with your family, co-workers, friends and neighbors. Join in a dessert fest and bring a couple dozen cookies, make your own gifts.
  9. Save wear and tear on the car, money, patience and time driving around. Purchase gifts, food, whatever you can over the phone and online. Many places offer free shipping and online discounts, coupons and other savings programs. Plan ahead and check around.
  10. Just say, “No,” when you need to, say, “No.” Don’t let people, especially relatives, push your buttons. It’s OK if they may not know or understand what ADD is all about. YOU know. And you know your limits, at least pretty much of the time. Most people understand the meaning of “stress” so you can tell them you need to be cautious of this and take care of yourself. And do it! You are your own best friend.

Posted in: DepressionStress Management

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