Welcome to the twenty-seventh day of the National Health Blog Post Month Challenge hosted by WEGO Health. Every day during the month of November I will be writing a new blog post related to health and living with a chronic illness based on given prompts provided by WEGO Health.
Today’s prompt reads:
Black Friday and Holiday Shopping: In preparation for Black Friday holiday shopping, give some advice on how to survive the long lines and packed stores. How do you find the best bathrooms? How do you stay comfortable on your feet? Give us some tips before heading to the stores.
Living with a neurological condition, and the symptoms that go along with it, such as the constant dizziness, weakness in legs and the fatigue, can make Christmas shopping a complete nightmare! Shops are incredibly busy, crowds of shoppers swarm around like flies, and the queues are exceptionally long. So, how can other people living with a neurological condition like myself survive Christmas shopping? Here are some tips to survive this time of year:
Take lots of breaks when out shopping
As Christmas shopping, and generally being at shops during this time of year, can be very stressful and demanding, it is important therefore that a person living with a neurological condition paces themselves. Instead of visiting shops during the busiest times, such as on a Saturday, perhaps it is best therefore to consider doing your Christmas shopping on a weekday instead. In addition, as Christmas often means a lot of presents to buy, it is important to take regular breaks so that it doesn’t all become too much. Find benches or seats to sit down on, or treat yourself to a hot drink at your favourite coffee shop every so often. By taking breaks, and going to the shops when it’s quieter will be firstly less stressful, and is a sure way of conserving much-needed energy,especially if fatigue is an issue for you. Also, you will be less likely to burn out and become unwell, which certainly would spoil your Christmas Day.
Wrap up warm…
Many people with neurological conditions, such as mine, or other conditions such as MS, for example, can exhibit symptoms such as neuropathic pain in various parts of the body. Additionally, many people report that their neuropathic pain, worsens during the cold weather. Therefore, if this sounds like you, I would advise that you wrap up warm when Christmas shopping as it can be very cold walking around all of the shops, and wearing thermals and other warm clothing such as scarves, hats and gloves will help not to worsen the pain.
Consider hiring a wheelchair or mobility scooter, or take your own to help you get around…
With the neurological condition that I live with, I experience severe weakness in the legs, and as a result of this my legs can suddenly give way, causing bad falls. In addition, to the weakness; fatigue can also be an issue for me and other people living with neurological conditions. To prevent yourself from becoming too tired or you find that you are unable to walk far because of pain, weakness or fatigue, it may therefore be worthwhile in taking your wheelchair during trips Christmas shopping so that you can stay out for longer, and not become as exhausted as you would normally. If, however, you do not have your own wheelchair, you may instead consider hiring a wheelchair or mobility scooter from a branch of Shopmobility. Shopmobility is a scheme which lends manual wheelchairs, powered wheelchairs and powered scooters to members of the public with limited mobility to enable them to still visit leisure and commercial facilities within local towns, cities or shopping centres. Furthermore, the scheme is for anyone – from the young to old; from temporary to permanently disabled.
To find out more and find where your local Shopmobility scheme is; you can visit their website at http://www.shopmobilityuk.org or by phoning 0844 41 41 850.
If memory issues are as a result of a neurological condition, it may be advisable to make a list of all those you have to buy for, and perhaps even ideas for gifts to buy them for Christmas. This not only ensures that you don’t gorget anyone you have to buy a present for, but can also save time whilst out at the shops. For example, if you already know what you want to buy them, then when you go to the shops you just have to find the items and then pay at the till – saving you time and much needed energy. If you do not know what to buy them, but already know what shops they like, then you can even use the internet to research for gifts before heading to the shops. By thinking ahead, you also reduce the amount of pressure and stress placed upon you during the season.
If the stress of Christmas particularly gets to you, then perhaps one of the best pieces of advice for anyone with a chronic illness is to start as early as possible. Perhaps even starting your shopping for the next year in January when there are massive savings to be had during the sales. By doing this and buying little things during the year, means there is much less to do when Christmas season does start.
If all else fails…turn to the internet…
If however, heading to the shops, with all the crowds makes you tired and stressed, or if your mobility problems are so severe that you cannot walk far, you may want to avoid the high street altogether. If you have the internet at home, then why don’t you log-on and browse all your favourite stores whenever you want and at your own leisure? Enjoy looking at the product and gift ideas for Christmas whilst snuggled under a blanket, with a mug of your favourite hot drink and chocolates. Alternatively, you can browse mail order catalogues, and are another home shopping option that will help save energy – look out for special offers, free delivery and online-only deals that could also save you money, as well as conserving your energy levels. The internet, is also a great opportunity to find gifts that are unusual and may be hard to find on the high street. For example, I have just discovered a gorgeous online retailer, that sells some unusual and beautiful gifts for every member of the family (even well-loved pets!) and which suits all budgets. Find out more by logging on to ‘Not On The High Street‘.
Alternatively, you can also use a ‘Click and Collect’ service that many online high street stores now offer; and then ask a loved one if they wouldn’t mind heading to the shops and picking your shopping up for you!
So, those are my tops tips for surviving Christmas Shopping with a neurological condition! Do you have any other tips that could help people survive shopping during the season holidays whilst living with a chronic illness? As ever please feel free to add any comments and suggestions below…