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Navigating Post-Holiday Blues: A Guide for Non-ADHD Partners Supporting Their ADHD Partners





12-26-2023 Navigating Post Holiday Blues Recording

The joyous holiday season often brings emotional highs, and for many ADHD spouses, the transition from the festive season back to everyday life can be particularly challenging. According to Web MD, 30 to 50% of people with ADHD also have depression as a comorbidity. For my ADHD spouse, who has both depression and ADHD, he often experiences depression setting in once he returns from holiday breaks. The depression could last a few days, weeks, and even up to a few months. In this blog post, we'll explore practical tips to help your ADHD spouse stay positive and engaged as they transition back to their daily routine and shorten the post-holiday blues.


Tip No 1: Channeling Focus into Work


One effective strategy to combat post-holiday blues is redirecting your ADHD spouse's energy and focus toward work if possible. Establishing a structured routine and setting clear goals can help them re-engage with their professional responsibilities. For my ADHD spouse, who is self-employed, we found that scheduling client visits every weekday at 9 AM was a very helpful way to shift his attention away from the post-holiday slump.


For ADHD spouses who are in transition between jobs, this is super critical for the non-ADHD spouse to help the ADHD spouse create the necessary structure, whether it is assisting them with their job search or providing them with a home project that could keep them engaged. Remember, creating structure does not mean the non-ADHD spouse hands the ADHD spouse a to-do list. Ask your spouse to leverage AI tools like Goblin Tools' Magic To-Do to help with creating the to-do list. Once the list is created, your spouse can review the list and add his or her input. Then the non-ADHD spouse could review the to-do list and just provide relevant suggestion that could help your spouse succeed in completion.



Tip No 2: Being the Positive Light


During the post-holiday period, your role as a non-ADHD spouse becomes even more crucial. Be the beacon of positivity in your partner's life. Encourage them to reminisce about the joyful moments of the holiday season and focus on the positive aspects of their daily life. For example, if your ADHD spouse enjoys holiday gatherings, seed the ideas of having your spouse ideate activities in the next family gatherings/holidays as a way to stay positive. Encouragement and positivity will add more dopamine in their brain and disrupt them from negative thoughts. Remember, people with ADHD need 10 or even 100 times more encouragement than non-ADHD spouses. While it might seem excessive, it will pay dividends in your daily lives. Think of this encouragement as preventative care to deter depression.



Tip No 3: Curbing Negativity


Effectively managing post-holiday blues requires a deliberate effort to control verbal negativity when interacting with your ADHD spouse. This may occur when your spouse is preoccupied with negative thoughts, potentially leading to a lack of attention to the task at hand. This situation could evoke frustration or upset in the non-ADHD spouse, particularly when the ADHD spouse has successfully completed it in the past before, but now revert back to the old way, requiring the non-ADHD spouse to step in and complete the task.


Navigating this challenge necessitates a composed response from the non-ADHD spouse, often involving a moment of pause before reacting—an action that we all know, called "biting your tongue." Rather than immediately expressing frustration or dwelling on errors, take a breath or two before articulating your feelings. Strive to initiate the conversation on a positive note by providing praises first or a funny joke, offering constructive feedback and encouraging your spouse to correct the error. Remember, once spoken, words cannot be undone. If finding something positive to say proves challenging, it might be better to refrain from speaking altogether.


Consistently practicing this considerate approach can foster an environment that supports your ADHD spouse's emotional well-being during the post-holiday transition and safeguards them from descending further into a downward spiral. Keep in mind that your words carry significant weight, and adopting a mindful communication style can make a substantial difference in promoting a positive atmosphere at home.


Tip No 4: Take their ADHD Medication


If your ADHD spouse is prescribed ADHD medication, encourage them to consistently take their ADHD medication as prescribed as this could be a time where they might not want to take the medication. This can play a pivotal role in helping them stay focused and manage the challenges of daily life more effectively. Additionally, if your spouse is dealing with depression as a comorbidity, potentially, your spouse's ADHD medication might include anti-depressant, like Wellbutrin or Bupropion, which will help your spouse combat these post holiday blues. You can find out by simply googling the ADHD medication or ask your therapist.


Tip No 5: Get Professional Help


In some cases, the post-holiday blues may be indicative of deeper emotional struggles. If you notice persistent signs of depression (ex. Persistent feelings of sadness, tearfulness, sleeping insomnia or sleeping too much, etc.) that last more than a few weeks, consider getting him professional help. If he is already seeing a therapist, encourage him to talk to the therapist. Seeking the guidance of a mental health professional can provide valuable insights and strategies for both of you to navigate these challenges effectively. Remember, reaching out for professional support is a proactive step toward fostering a healthier and more fulfilling life for your partner and your relationship.


Conclusion


Helping your ADHD spouse transition from the highs of the holiday season to the routine of everyday life requires a combination of understanding, patience, and proactive support. By channeling their focus into work, being a positive light, curbing negativity, and encouraging consistent medication use, you can play a pivotal role in minimizing the post-holiday blues. In some cases, the challenges may be complex, and professional help can provide valuable insights and strategies for both of you to navigate these difficulties effectively. Remember, your support is a valuable resource in helping your partner navigate the challenges of ADHD and create a more balanced and fulfilling life.


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