The countdown to Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season is on. And although this can be one of the most exciting times of the year, it can also be one of the most stressful. Shopping for all of those holiday goodies can be especially tiring and frustrating, especially if you are experiencing fatigue, chemo brain, nausea, or other side effects of cancer treatment. However, here are a few tips to help make holiday grocery shopping a little less of a chore.
1. Plan your holiday meal. If you know exactly what you’ll be serving, it will be easier to plan what to buy at the grocery store. Think about which foods appeal to you, as well as holiday favorites.
2. Make a list. At the holidays it’s easy to remember the turkey, cranberries, and sweet potatoes, but what about the butter, flour, sugar, and milk? Don’t assume you have the basics. Make a list of all of the ingredients you’ll need from each recipe and check your refrigerator and cupboards to make sure you have everything you’ll need in the quantities you’ll need it.
3. Be organized. Once you’ve put together a shopping list, put it in order according to which items are in the same aisle. This seemingly small step will keep you from walking from one end of the store to the other and helps make sure you'll remember everything on your first trip.
4. Have a plan. Grocery shopping during the holidays often requires the strategic planning of a three-star general, so give yourself home-field advantage. Shop at your usual store so you are already familiar with the store’s layout. This will reduce the amount of energy you spend walking around looking for items. If you need to use a different store, ask the customer service desk if they have an aisle-by-aisle floor plan or directory you can use or photocopy. Some grocery stores now offer computer kiosks around the store to help you locate items during your visit.
5. Pick a time that works for you. Shopping at less busy times, like during the afternoon, and staying away from the store the day before Thanksgiving can help you avoid standing in long lines. Also, plan shopping around your treatment schedule. You know how your body feels in the days leading up to or following a treatment session, so pick a time that you are likely to have the most energy and the least amount of nausea or other side effects.
6. Ask a friend, family member, or neighbor to go with you. This person may be able to drive you there, help you find items, and carry the bags.
7. Save your energy. Park close to the store and use a cart rather than carrying a basket. Motorized carts with built-in seats are also available at many grocery stores.
8. Take a break if you get tired. Many stores have chairs in the pharmacy department or near the entrance.
9. Let someone else do the heavy lifting. At the checkout, ask to have your bags packed lightly, and ask for help putting your bags into the car. Ask for help at home getting the bags into the house.
10. Shop online and have items delivered. Many grocery chains offer online grocery shopping. Customers create, save, and update an online grocery list on the store’s website. Groceries are then delivered for a fee based on the amount you purchased. Talk with the customer service desk at your favorite store or check the store’s website to see if it offers this service.