Planning for the Festivities Longhand
Whether it be getting ready for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Boxing Day, or New Year’s we will need to use the same tools.
If you can organize one event, you can transfer many of the details and data you have used to another one.
Planning inevitably calls for thinking ahead, and this requires that we ask ourselves questions so that we have a place to start and avoid problems with initiation or getting started.
Thinking of what questions to ask ourselves can be horrendously difficult with cognitive and executive dysfunction.
My belief is that along with issues caused by damage to our frontal lobes, memory problems, i.e. remembering how to do things, can be very problematic.
Try to start with the basics – for example:
- Will I be hosting an event?
- Will I be a guest at an event?
- If I am a guest, can I contribute?
- How many events will I be attending?
- Where will the events be held?
- Who do I have to rely on for support?
Make a note of the answers to your questions on your calendar. For example, you may be hosting Thanksgiving, and your sibling may be hosting Christmas.
- Where you will be on what day.
- What time you need to be somewhere, where this is, your expected time of arrival, and work out what time you need to leave. Also, think about how long it will take you to get ready.
- If you are at home, take time to work out how long it will take you to prepare, including your up/wash/dress time, add in rest breaks and work out what time you would like your guests to arrive.
You will need to know:
- What gifts you need to buy and who for; it can be helpful to know who will be at events you are attending so that you don’t miss anyone.
- Sundries shopping list – gift wrap, cards, sellotape, gift labels, etc.
- Grocery shopping list – think through what will be home-made and make sure you have all the ingredients and put any that you don’t on your shopping list. What is on your menu? How many courses will you provide? Think through the table, condiments, napkins, Christmas cracks, and so on.
- Guest-list – what can you cope with – how many people? Consider your budget, can anyone else contribute? How can they contribute – perhaps by bringing the dessert? Speak to your family and discuss your abilities or known limitations.
- To-do lists – think about how you can either break things down or how you can improve efficiency by collating tasks for different events. Think about tasks you need to do in advance and write down the steps you need to take to achieve them.
Think about everything you struggle with before it becomes a problem. For example:
- Do you get headaches when you are stressed? How can you avoid this?
- What activities do I do daily, and which are the best days for me to fit in extra tasks?
- If you are sensitive to noise/light/crowds, what are the best days and times of day to go out that will be quieter?
- Plan well ahead so that you have the time for including rest days.
- Think about managing unavoidable changes such as, the weather interfering with your plans, feeling unwell or taking care of someone else who is sick, changes in COVID restrictions, and so on. How flexible are you and how will you cope if external forces mean you can’t stick with your plans?
- Consider other things you can do to support yourself such as paying better attention to your sleep routine, improving your diet, or making sure you still have time for fresh air and exercise every day.
A Quick Review
Whichever strategies we choose to use, and however we decide we are going to manage them, I hope setting things out as I have helped you to realize that there are no short-cuts other than to get someone else to do everything for you.
In closing, and thinking about how I will fit all the extra chores into my routine, I will use the BEST Suite this year because I know that the app will not only encourage me to think, but I will also feel rewarded when I have done things well and as I planned.