When you are living with a chronic illness, even every day tasks require pre-planning and thought…and just that thought ALONE can send one running back under the covers.
Here are 5 ways to make managing the holidays a bit easier and hopefully more enjoyable.
DIVIDE AND CONQUER
After having a bickering weekend recently, fueled only by my OWN issues with worrying about getting housework done, I started defining small weekly tasks on my calendar, like laundry, ordering groceries (see SHOP SMARTER below), dusting and vacuuming, and bathrooms. Each night is designated for ONE task so that my weekend isn’t consumed by cleaning. Tuesdays I’m not home until 7 pm, so that night I give myself a break from a chore, but the rest of the week is planned out. AND FOR ME, IT ACTUALLY WORKED! Sunday was indeed a day of rest, so I am sticking to my pre-planning habit through the holidays.
I like to be in control of things in my home, but found that I need to get better at doling out tasks for my family members to do to help around the house so I’m not feeling like the sole worker bee. My husband is great with cooking for me–he’s the grill master, for sure, so he will grill up meat for me over the weekend for my lunches for the upcoming week. And he’s learned how to make my tea, so he’ll put a pot on for me if he sees the kettle out. And my ten-year old can easily vacuum the stairs with a hand vac and organize the couch pillows if I let her know.
There’s nothing wrong with asking for help and sharing the load–many hands make light work, right?
SHOP SMARTER, NOT HARDER
I discovered that I could order my groceries online several years ago, and this has been quite the weekly lifesaver! I can either have them delivered or pick them up, depending on which store I shop at. I mostly order non-perishables and things like milk and eggs; meat and veggies we get elsewhere. But truly, this is the BEST WAY to get my grocery shopping done without having to fight aisle antics, crying children, and blinking lights that signal coupon issues at the checkout.
I also shop for many of my holiday gifts online and have them delivered to me at work. It’s wonderful since I can get my goodies without having to worry about them being left on the front porch in the bad weather. I can also squirrel things away from my husband and daughter.
Shopping smarter can really pay off in terms of your sanity. Two years ago, I went out on Black Friday to a local chain store near my home. The line to pay literally went down to the back of the store, and as much as I wanted the few items I selected, they didn’t warrant me standing in line for hours. So, I snapped a few photos of the items and their UPC codes on my phone, then went home and ordered them online. I received the same deals –and with free shipping–without having to wait in line!
That was a magical moment!
SANTA’S LIST ISN’T JUST FOR HIM
We have a very large extended family, and add in the kindly neighbor, the classroom teacher, the dance teacher, the bus driver… it’s plain to see, the holidays can become very expensive very quickly!
I create a holiday table in Word on my computer each year, and I don’t necessarily delineate dollar amounts per person–that seems a little too Scrooge for me– but I do itemize who I’m giving to and try to get some shopping done early prior to December so I’m not scrambling for money or gifts.
Since I do this each year, I can look back to see what I’ve given and not repeat the same gift. I also try to avoid the same candle/mug/tie gift.
Truly, who really needs another Santa mug or holiday tie?
SHOP OUTSIDE OF THE BOX
This year, if I do venture out of my home to shop, I’m going local to shop to support ‘the little guy or gal’. I’ve got plans to go to a local book sale at a library near the town I grew up in over the Thanksgiving weekend. They held a similar event over the summer, and I found some wonderful reading treasures there for myself. I’m going to try it out and see how many family members I can surprise with a literary gift this year. It shouldn’t break the bank, and I’m glad to be supporting library events instead of a CEO’s wallet.
I’m also going to gift the gift of my time this year. My sisters and I are planning on getting together with our kids over the winter break and do something together instead of the usual present in a box that never gets seen again. I’d rather create some memories that will leave a lasting impression.
Isn’t that what the holidays are about anyway?
Yours in HOLIDAY Lyme Adventures,