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Don't shop til you drop: Tips for shopping smart

Most every Saturday, beginning in sixth grade, my friends and I would spend the day bonding at the mall. We pooled our babysitting income (25 cents an hour) to eat lunch at the counter in the 5 and 10 store, and buy paperback books to share. We shopped when we were happy, and we shopped when we were sad. If our lives were a play, the mall was the scenery. I took for granted that it would always be this way, until I was diagnosed with Parkinson's at age 44.

Now, 13 years later, stamina and gait issues have transformed me from a marathon shopper to a sprinter. Whereas I used to look for any excuse to spend a few hours in the mall, I now "run" into the one or two stores where I have to make my purchases and then head home.

The sound of the first bell ringers of the holiday season is enough to send me into a tailspin. While many people find the holidays stressful, this feeling is exacerbated by the symptoms and side effects of chronic illness. Here are some tips that can make holiday shopping easier for you:

  • Before you leave home, make a list of everyone you plan to buy gifts for and your gift ideas. Group items so you don't have to go to the same store twice.
  • Invite a friend or relative to shop with you. These should be people you know will come to your aid, offering to carry heavy packages, wait in long lines while you rest in a chair, and get the car while you wait.


  • Jot down where you park (aisle number, store and which door or department) so you can find your car when you are ready to leave the mall.
  • Pace yourself. Don't try to do all your shopping in one trip. Ask yourself what must be done that day and what can wait.
  • Shop when you are least tired and your medications working best.
  • Shop off-peak hours to avoid crowds and long checkout lines.
  • If you don't know where to find a particular item, ask a salesperson rather than squander your energy wandering aimlessly about.
  • Build rest periods into your schedule.
  • Opt for small, outdoor specialty shopping areas rather than large indoor malls.
  • When possible, shop from the comfort of your home using catalogs and the internet. This will save you time, money, and energy. Sheryl

email us directly at: Sheryl@pdplan4life.com

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Without express written consent, this material may only be used for your own personal and noncommercial uses which do not harm the reputation of PDPlan LLC, provided that you do not remove any copyright. To request permission to reproduce, please contact PDPlan LLC at Sheryl@pdplan4life.com

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