The first of November has sort of always been the mental marker for me to “up my game” for the Holiday Season. Pumpkin lattes and all things Gourd related are being shoved down our throats. I used to like Pumpkin Spice but now I think it’s safe to say the Pumpkin Craze has gone a bit overboard. Nevertheless I still have love for those that get suckered into the few months of insane commercialism and Seasonal Trends.
HOLIDAY SEASON WHEN YOU HAVE A CHRONIC ILLNESS IS LIKE A CHESS GAME...A BIG GLITTER COVERED, CANDY COATED, REINDEER SPIT ON CHESS GAME.
You have to know what pieces to move when and really plot out the best strategy or you willwind up getting eaten by Santa himself and die. Just kidding. You’re not going to die but the level of hell you will put yourself through if you don’t plan things out will probably appear more hell-ish than what you planned on in the first place.
1. PLAN EARLY
Start to think about gift ideas in August and start preparing to purchase in Oct/Nov. Gift cards are always a safe bet or gift certificates to local restaurants, travel vouchers or even spa days. Wine club memberships are also a great gift that requires little planning. The better we can plan in the earlier months, the smoother our attack will be. I like to purchase most gifts in Oct and stash them somewhere in my house.
2. MEAL PLAN
I’m sure you’ve started to maybe iron out who is doing what Holiday. Maybe your in-laws handle Thanksgiving so you will be taking over Christmas. But either way start to think about what meal you want to make, serve or purchase ahead of time. A lot of businesses offer premade dinners for the Holidays so you don’t have to do the work but require a reservation way in advance. Maybe you want to go out instead. Call around and find out who is offering a holiday meal and get on the reservation list. Things book up fast. Making a game plan for what you want to make allows for less cognitive confusion and meltdowns in the grocery store when the time comes to buy. You already have a list of what to get because you wrote it down ahead of time! Figure out if you need help cooking and make a cooking day of it with family and friends! This is a fantastic way to go “all hands on deck” and make it an enjoyable afternoon.
3. SCHEDULE IN ADVANCE
Scheduling around the Holidays can be really overwhelming. Our lives don’t stop because the Holidays show up. We are still managing Dr appnts, Physical Therapy, MRIs, Scans, Bloodwork etc. So plan well in advance to make sure you’re not scheduling your MRI’s a few days before a major Holiday. The kids will be on vacation also so planning ahead can be a great way to manage your time wisely, get everything in you want to accomplish without causing yourself to go into a flare or relapse. Pick and choose which invitations are priority to get those scheduled first. You don’t have to RVSP ”Yes” to every invitation.
4. CLEAN & ORGANIZE
The holiday season meaning you are probably running around like a chicken with your head cut off so get some extra help. I just recently hired some help with cleaning our home because of the sq feet of our home, it’s become way too much for my body to handle and winds up taking days to get it all done. We moved from a 1400 sq ft condo to a 2200 sq ft house. It’s A LOT for any single person not to mention a disabled person. But the ease of knowing all the deep and hard work is done for me allows the weekly maintenance to be so much easier. It’s not lingering and haunting me at night knowing the house is a mess and I don’t have the energy to fix it. If hiring someone is out of your budget then opt for a “all hands on deck” cleaning day! Ask family and even your kiddos for some help! Throw some tunes on and make a day of it! Go through your home and don’t be afraid to give it an enema of things you haven’t touched in years. Donate it, gift it or get rid of it! Organization is key to keeping a tidy and clean home.
5. WRAP IT
I hear this constantly around Christmas Time that people are wrapping down to the wire. Like, wrapping Christmas Eve or even Christmas Day. This has to be stressful. I get all of my wrapping done in November believe it or not. I plan a day when I’m home alone, lay everything out on the dining table, put on music and have a ball doing it. Make sure to make a list of gifts you bought and list who they are for. It can be confusing shopping so early and then forgetting what you bought. You don’t want to overbuy. This allows you keep track of everything. But back to wrapping. Wrapping in advance makes less work when the Holidays are actually here. Meaning you get to ENJOY it more and WORK LESS! I like to wrap everything in just my paper first But save the bows and ribbons for the weeks leading up to the Holiday. That way I can stack and store them without bows getting rumpled. But all the hard work is done. Ribbons and Bows after are easy! Then everything goes under your tree. Boom. You’re welcome.
6. STOCK UP
Holiday shopping literally makes me want to cry. Even just to get toilet paper at the store is a difficult task because I’m fighting through the crowds that want to get the best price on the newest flat screen. I just need TP to wipe my peach folks. Get to the stores EARLY and stock up on essential home items like, laundry detergent, coffee, toilet paper, paper goods, cases of water or even meats. We have an extra fridge in our garage so stocking up on meats is easy! Getting everything you need in bulk means you’re going out LESS. So less traffic, less fighting for a parking spot and less anxiety attacks. Yup, those happen. A LOT.
7. STRATEGY IS VITAL
These are just a few tips I can offer to allow you to feel less “I want to jump into oncoming traffic” during the Holidays. I’m sure I will think of some more when the holes in my brain decide to stop influencing the way I produce a thought. But for now, you have a place to start!