This time of year can be most challenging for those of us who, along with our ADHD, experience tremendous difficulties with sensory overwhelm. And it makes sense.

We’re shopping at malls filled with people racing here and there while music is screaming at us, kids are racing, perfume is being sprayed on us, and more. Every ounce of our senses is being slaughtered.

We’re being invited to holiday parties, generally wearing special clothes that don’t feel so special to our skin. Panty hose are leaving permanent impressions on our waists. Hair spray is making our scalps itch. Nail polish feels like 10 -pound weights.

People are all talking at once; it’s hard to filter out other conversations, so we end up doing the ADD “nod”- mmhmm. Yes! Mmhmm! Uh huh. Smile smile. All while gritting our teeth and watching the perspiration crawl down to our sleeves because we’ve forgotten the name of our colleague or next-door neighbor.

Our kids are in high gear, excited about holiday gifts coming their way, yet overwhelmed as much as we are due to their change in daily routines and lack of structure, now that school is out.

Ok, ok, so you get my point. But what’s a person to do?

Terry’s Top 7 Tips for Surviving the Holidays when Your Nerves are Already Shot

1. It’s only a few days until Christmas. Don’t fight the crowds anymore- shop online! Here are my top picks for kids and adults with ADHD. Running late? Choose things like instant gift cards (iTunes); Amazon Gift CardsDigital Magazine Subscriptions, and more- all things you can send out this week.
You can find more last minute holiday gifts HERE .

2. See it coming and have a plan:
If you know your child will have a meltdown at the holiday party, brainstorm together and come up with strategies to keep him calm, ie bring an iPod with big headphones which will also serve to block OUT noises. Have a bag of quiet activities for your daughter and find an area of the house where she can retreat.

3.  Stop yourself when you feel overwhelmed and identify the problem. Is the noise level too high for you? Are you wearing uncomfortable clothes? Are you feeling angry at someone? Once you identify the stressor, take appropriate steps to solve the problem.

4. Delegate! Stop feeling like you have to do it all yourself. Find shortcuts in preparing your special meal. Perhaps just make the main course, but carry out the sides.

5. If someone offers to help, by all means, accept his or her gracious offer! Stop feeling like you have to or should do it all.

6. Remind yourself the real reason for the holiday. Whether it’s religious or enjoying the company of close friends and family, make that your focus instead of how the roast duck is coming out.

7. Laugh at the moment. They say that if you laugh, you can’t feel panic. So try and find the humor of the moment.

Now that you’re completely calm and ready to take on the holidays, remember to take your emotional temperature throughout the day(s) and utilize the strategies above to bring yourself down to a calm state.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!