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8 Tips for Shopping with Multiple Sclerosis

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Like it or not, the holiday season is among us. If we are lucky, it’s filled with family and friends, joy and good tidings. All good things, but many of us succumb to the pressure of finding the perfect gift for our loved ones. Multiple sclerosis throws a curve ball into my shopping plans. Here are some tips for shopping with MS:

1. If the store has a cart, use it. Forget any other assistive device if you can and just go with the buggy. It provides excellent support. Seriously, always use the cart, even if you are only getting what you think you can carry.

2. Plan ahead. Don’t go willy nilly shopping. Know where you are going before you leave. Know your rest stops and bathroom locations and pack a snack if you get hangry like me. Know what you are buying beforehand if you can. You can’t over-plan this.

3. Go at the least busy time possible – like Target at 8 a.m. on a Monday. It has been shockingly calm, even at this time of year.

4. If you have a parking permit, use it. You have it because you qualify for it. If you need it, use it.

5. Have an escape plan. If you’re done, you’re done. It’s OK if you can’t take it any longer. It’s OK even if you aren’t finished shopping. Sensory overload is a very real thing with MS. Do what you can to avoid it.

6. Let someone else be in charge of transportation if you can. No sense in adding that stress to the mix.

7. Let people help if they offer, in any way – carrying your bags to the car, bringing them inside, anything that’s offered.

8. Shop online. You don’t even have to leave home – you can shop in your pajamas. Of course, there’s no law that says you can’t go to the mall in your jammies either… but there are some amazing online deals this time of year.

Let me know your tips for shopping with chronic illness. We’re all in this together. Enjoy your holiday season!

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