Surviving Holiday Anxiety with Hyperactive Children

Surviving Holiday Anxiety with Hyperactive Children

"Finding a healthy balance is the best way to keep your child’s symptoms under control and your stress at bay while still diving into the season head first."

Holiday Anxiety & Hyperactive Kids

As the holiday season approaches, most people start to feel a sense of excitement and anticipation. But the time from Thanksgiving until New Years can also feel hectic and frenzied, especially if you or your child struggles with hyperactivity or anxiety.

Read on to find out how you can help your child manage their holiday anxiety and hyperactivity while maximizing family time and cheer. 

How the Holidays Impact Kids with ADHD

There are a number of reasons why the holidays can trigger anxiety for a child with ADHD (and their parents). Here a few of the big ones:

  • Changes in routine: Most kids rely on routines to stay organized and stress-free. But routines are especially important for kids with ADHD, who may struggle more with transitions and unpredictability. Changes in routine can also mean later bedtimes, which can shift your child’s circadian rhythm and worsen their symptoms.
  • Excess sugar: The holidays can be an indulgent time of year with sugary cookies, ciders, and other festive sweets, which can exacerbate hyperactivity and send your child into a sugar crash.
  • Social events: It is not unusual for kids with ADHD to have a co-occurring anxiety condition, including social anxiety. The holidays bring a variety of events with friends and family that can feel triggering to your child. Social events can also be overstimulating for a child who is sensitive to sensory overload.

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Striking a Healthy Balance: General Holiday Tips

The holiday season is a magical time of year and you and your child should enjoy time off school or work, the excitement of gift-giving, holiday treats and more. But it’s important not to overdo it. Finding a healthy balance is the best way to keep your child’s symptoms under control and your stress at bay while still diving into the season head first.  

For instance, when holiday treats start getting passed around at school (and at home), consider sprinkling in a few alternatives to your usual sugar-filled holiday snacks.  

And remember that you don’t have to attend every holiday event you’re invited to. Too much socialization can be overstimulating for an anxious or hyperactive child. There might be certain activities that you can’t avoid, like family dinners, but you can consider skipping some community events or neighborhood gatherings. Here are a few more specific holiday stress tips to consider:

  • Thanksgiving: Implementing a Thanksgiving tradition that allows your child to help out and take an active role in the festivities can channel their excitement and help both you and your guests enjoy the feast. Maybe they can help with decorating, or you can even involve your child in easy cooking tasks like mashing potatoes or rinsing off vegetables. Whatever method best suits you, keeping your hyperactive child in motion can help disperse some of that extra energy. Then, when it’s time to gather to eat, your child will feel relaxed and ready to more calmly interact with your guests.
  • Hanukkah: The eight-day festival of lights should be a special and commemorative time enjoyed with family and loved ones, but making it through eight nights of celebration can be disruptive to your little one’s routine. Ask your child to chip in and help clean the house (such as vacuuming) as you prepare for the first night of the holiday. This can help them stay active and release anxiety while giving you a helping hand. You can also work together to make your own dreidels, which is  another fun activity the whole family can enjoy. 
  • Christmas: While the anticipation of gifts and the arrival of guests can cause your child to feel increased stress and anxiety, you can help soothe them by involving them in Christmas planning. Let them help decorate by making  homemade placements or ask your child if there’s a special dish they might like you to make for the holiday meal. Helping others in need during the Christmas season is a way to teach your child what it means to give to those who are less fortunate. It can also help reduce their anxiety by shifting their thoughts and focus outward. Lastly, always have a fidget toy on hand to release pent up energy once the initial excitement of gifts is over. 
  • New Year’s Eve: You might think it’s fun for everyone to stay up until midnight and ring in the New Year, but staying up late can disrupt your child’s bedtime routine. Instead, try to stick to the usual bedtime and celebrate by having a special dinner, an earlier countdown (who says you can’t countdown a little earlier?) and a toast with sparkling apple cider. Or consider having a slumber party with friends who also have children. You can put the kids to bed by 9 or 10 PM without missing out on your own celebration.

Prepare Your Kids for Change 

Many changes take place during the holidays that affect your child’s routine and diet, which can be disruptive and lead to increased hyperactivity and anxiety. Talk about these changes with your child in advance, explaining, for example, when and where guests will be arriving and staying. Set up a schedule so that everyone knows what to expect; write it down on a whiteboard and hang it up in the kitchen or another place where everyone can easily see it.

Stick to Routines

Although you are likely to feel busier and more wound up as well, it’s also important to adhere to your child’s regular routine as much as possible to provide a sense of structure and help your child relax. Make sure your child gets enough sleep and sticks to their usual sleep schedule.

Take Time for Yourself: Remember to Breathe 

Mindfulness and relaxation are part of Brillia’s five pillars (which also includes proper nutrition, adequate sleep, controlled screen time and taking non-prescription Brillia). If your child feels overwhelmed or stressed out, show them how to engage in relaxation techniques, such as mindful breathing or simple relaxing yoga stretches. Implement and rehearse the “stop, relax and think” routine, which involves stopping what they are doing when they feel hyper or anxious, taking a few deep breaths and figuring out what’s bothering them at the moment. Better yet, practice these relaxation techniques with them to make sure your own stress levels don’t get out of hand while you’re looking after everyone else.

Play Family-Friendly Games 

Even when the weather isn't on your side, it's essential to keep the family engaged and active. Look for activities that everyone in the family can participate in and enjoy. Consider organizing an indoor dance party, a competitive game of Jenga®, or another family-friendly game that will keep your spirits up while you bond.

Carve Out Downtime 

Downtime is also critical to reduce holiday stress and overwhelm during the fast-paced winter season. Practicing mindfulness is great, but so is doing nothing at all. Plan a holiday movie at home in lieu of another big outing. Give your kids some time to zone out with their headphones on and listen to their favorite music or spend some time alone in their room away from the noise and busyness. Even a short break from the action can help children relax and recharge. 

Try Homeopathic Anxiety Medications

Suitable for children and adults, Brillia is a homeopathic medication that provides a gentle yet effective approach to alleviating anxiety and hyperactivity, all without the use of harsh synthetic chemicals or the risk of adverse side effects. Because of its ability to target a variety of symptoms, including restlessness, irritability, stress, and impulsivity, it is possible for your child to take Brillia to help regulate their ADHD symptoms while you use it to manage any anxiety or stress that arises around the holidays. 

Brillia’s active ingredient consists of antibodies to the S100B protein, a crucial regulator in various intracellular and extracellular brain processes, including communication between neurons. Brillia helps to reduce both anxiety and hyperactivity at their root cause without impacting any other bodily systems or altering the personality in any way. By regulating the S100B protein, Brillia also normalizes other monoamines in the brain (dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine), which are the same chemicals targeted by prescription ADHD and some anxiety drugs. But unlike prescription anxiety medications, Brillia doesn't require an official diagnosis, and it won’t cause uncomfortable side effects like nausea or dry mouth.

It’s important to note that Brillia is not a quick fix. The best way to use it to help with holiday stress, anxiety, and hyperactivity, is to take it before the season begins. Once you find the right dose, it’s important that you and/or your child takes Brillia consistently to fully benefit. The body relies on a steady trickle of the active ingredient to build up in the system, which may take 2-3 weeks for some users, and longer for others. To support Brillia’s success, be sure to follow the healthy lifestyle practices outlined in our 5-Pillar methodology, which are science-backed methods proven to control symptoms of anxiety and hyperactivity long-term. 

It’s Okay if Things Aren’t Perfect 

Lastly, give yourself and your child permission to embrace the mess. The holidays can be chaotic and no matter how positive your intentions are, things don’t always go according to plan. All you can do is keep marching on, straight into the New Year.

Find more tips on how to manage anxiety and ADHD at the Brillia(nce) Resource Center.

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References: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
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