How to Enjoy Thanksgiving When You Have ADHD

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Thanksgiving can be a little confusing when you have ADHD. Holidays are ‘supposed’ to be fun and relaxing; and yet, many people with ADHD feel stressed, unsettled and overwhelmed during this time. Holidays can act as a reminder that you are feel different from everyone else, and that can lead to sadness and feeling disconnected. However, it is possible to enjoy Thanksgiving when you have ADHD. Here are 6 suggestions!

1.     Keep It Simple

Attention to detail, planning, organizing and decision-making are all challenging when you have ADHD. They are also skills needed during Thanksgiving. The good news is a happy Thanksgiving doesn't need to be complex. At its core, Thanksgiving is about connecting with your family and being thankful for the blessings in your life. Give yourself permission to keep your thanksgiving simple, yet meaningful. This will help remove any guilt or shame you have and allow you to enjoy the day.

2.     Have Traditions

With your family, select a few traditions (maximum of  five) that mean the most to you of all. Then, repeat them every year! This is great for you because they provide a structure and framework for the celebrations. Having traditions also removes a lot of the decision making that can feel overwhelming. Plus, your family hastraditions to look forward to and build memories around.


3.     Make Your Own Rules

When you are thinking of your family traditions, remember they don’t have to be limited to traditional Thanksgiving activities. As someone with ADHD, you are probably excellent at thinking outside the box.  For example, if you find a turkey dinner complicated to coordinate, you could cook a slow cooker meal, eat at a restaurant, or even order pizza and call it a ‘Thanksgiving pizza’.

None of these ideas are crazy if they make you feel relaxed and able to enjoy time with your family.

4.     Cleaning

Thanksgiving is a holiday that is usually spent at home. Keeping a clean, tidy and clutter-free is an ongoing challenge for most people with ADHD. As you are preparing your home for Thanksgiving, set a realistic goal of how you would like it to look. However, don’t strive for perfection. That creates unnecessary pressure on you.

5.     Planning

You might not be a fan of planning. Nevertheless, spending 20 minutes planning your Thanksgiving will help you to feel organized and prepared. Plan the food you are going to eat, travel plans, people to invite, cleaning do to, and any sectional decorating and gifts, etc. Using these plans, you can schedule time in your daytime planner do run errands, etc. This will prevent last minute panics. Planning ahead also makes it easier to delegate tasks to family members, because you know exactly what needs to be done.

6.     Self-Care

Taking good care of yourself is an important part of managing your ADHD.

 Though a holiday can mean a change in routine and your usual self-care habits might get forgotten. This Thanksgiving, make sure your self-care remains a priority. Eat breakfast, take your ADHD meds, include your family in your exercise and keep your usual sleep habits. Don’t over indulge in sugar or alcohol. It is much easier to enjoy a holiday when your ADHD is managed.

Wishing you a very happy and relaxed Thanksgiving.

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