Holiday shopping can take a toll on your body, mind and spirit. Going shopping when you're in a flare-up of your inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can leave you exhausted and frustrated. Use these tips to manage your holiday shopping experience.
1. Plan Your Trip
Malls, large department stores and many discount stores have restrooms open to the public. Strip malls and downtown areas often do not, so you might want to steer clear of those areas. If you are shopping where there are no public restrooms, look for a restaurant, which may have public facilities. You can also try a bathroom app that will help you find available facilities.
2. Make a List
Instead of heading to the store with no idea of what gifts you need, think about it ahead of time and make a list. This way you won't forget anything, you won't overspend, and you won't waste time going into every store in the mall.
3. Get An Early Start
Many shopping malls and department stores have extended hours during the holidays. The malls tend to get busiest starting at noon. So get to the mall when it opens to beat the crowds (and to get a better parking space).
4. Bring Along a Friend
Or a parent, sibling, neighbor -- whomever you can get to go with you. This person can help you scout out restrooms and hold your place in the checkout line if you've got to "go."
5. Be Prepared
You never know what you might (and might not) find in public restrooms. Remember to bring some tissues with you in case there is no toilet paper, and antibacterial hand gel in case there is no soap or hand towels.
6. Remember Your Meds
If you're spending the day at the mall, don't forget to bring your medications with you. Nothing will send you into a flare-up faster than skipping doses of medication.
7. Ask For Help
Instead of wandering the store trying to find a particular item, grab the nearest salesperson and ask him or her for help. You will save time and energy.
8. Take a Load Off
Don't forget to take a breather. Use the seating areas and food courts to rest.