The holiday season is here. This busy time of year can inflict stress on everyone, especially if you've had a stroke or are caring for a stroke survivor family member.
Here are some ideas to take the stress off and enjoy family times during the season.
Shop on Line - avoid the crowds and jostling through inclement weather. The hustle and bustle of holiday in-store shopping can produce a strain on family, especially stroke survivors that are in their first or second year post-stroke, and finances. Let stroke survivors choose what they would like, and can afford, to give during the holidays. Giving is as pleasurable as receiving so with a few clicks of a mouse the shopping can be accomplished, gift wrapped, and sent to your loved ones.
Join a Cookie Exchange - make a few dozen of your favorite sweets and trade for other home-made goodies. There are many organizations that provide this service including church groups, clubs, community organizations, and/or neighborhoods. If you have trouble finding a group call your family, neighbors, or church to begin one yourself. Get six people, let everyone know what you're bringing to avoid duplications, and you'll have a variety of fresh baked goodies to serve during the holidays.
Holiday Baking - starts with an easy recipe! Gather everything you will need to accomplish the task: ingredients, mixing bowls, etc. Make sure you have a specific time set aside so you won't feel rushed! Have a friend or family member assist you if you have had a stroke. (After a stroke we may think that we can accomplish more than our bodies allow! - Be careful!) Talk through your steps before accomplishing them. This may mean a slower pace, but the final result will be the same. Do as much as you possibly can by yourself and ask for help when necessary. Taking cookie sheets in and out of the oven can be dangerous post-stroke so practice the technique, with the oven turned off and cooled down, before proceeding. Have fun! This should be a pleasurable learning experience, not a marathon!
Holiday Cards - If you are planning to send holiday greetings to friends and family this year, order pre-printed message and name cards from an on-line source or perhaps your neighborhood photo-shop. If you haven't already done so, it may take a little time for someone to organize and computerize your mailing list. But once this is accomplished, you can print your mailing labels too! Ah, don't have the time! Instead, send cards to the people you receive cards from. As soon as you receive a card, mail one out to them by using their return address. Save the envelopes to make your list after the holidays.
Deck the Halls... - "Where did I put those holiday decorations from last year?" If you haven't used one in the past, perhaps this is the year for a small artificial tree. They're much safer, don't need constant watering, and the small ones are already assembled. Maybe it's time for new and creative ideas versus traditional themes. Whatever you decide, keep it simple! Family first!
Let me know if any of these ideas where helpful or perhaps you can think of more!
At Stroke Awareness and Recovery we are always looking for "tried and true" helpful hints. Visit www.cleohutton.com for more information about the organization.