My very first boss as a Dietitian (this is 1982, now, so you may have heard this one before) had a favorite saying, “Proper Prior Planning Prevents Positively Poor Performance” and she used it every day. If the kitchen ran out of milk or eggs or anything else, we would hear about it. If the charts were not done, we did not manage our time effectively. If the office was a mess, it was not hers to clean up.
As we enter this holiday period, I want to talk about planning for the next ninety days. I am also reminded that it is so very important that we focus on what we really want and need, and that we cherish the relationships.
Sit down with your calendar for the next ninety days and plan out what needs to happen and what is important to you. Except for your list of drug foods and addictive behaviors, what else makes you happy? What are the holiday traditions that make you most happy? Who are the people you love to be with? Start with the people and things that make you most happy at the holidays. Put them into the calendar first and highlight them. This way, you can look forward to them when times get difficult this holiday season.
What my very first boss as a Dietitian missed with her saying, was the value of the time we spent with our patients, and the value of the time it took for a more experienced dietitian to teach me what I needed to know to be effective. The time to build relationships.
At holidays, we sometimes see people we don’t enjoy. You have my permission to avoid them this year and avoid jeopardizing your food recovery by seeing them. You can use the virus as your excuse.
For people that you really do enjoy and will not be able to see this year, October 28th is “National I love you day”. Are there some notes or phone calls you could make to say thank you and I love you, and I am grateful to have you in my life?
Now for the food. Consider a trip to your favorite grocery or big box store to stock up on all the nonperishable things you will need for the next three months.
Think about what you don’t want to run out of – pet food, baby food, laundry detergent, dish detergent, paper towels and the infamous toilet paper. Buy enough this week that you won’t need to worry about it till January!
Choose shelf stable canned and frozen foods – canned applesauce, pineapple, brown rice, beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas. Use the freezer for meat, fruit, and vegetables.
Try some vacuum packed or frozen protein sources and remember the right mayonnaise, margarine, and salad dressing. And eggs and oatmeal! (Have you ever toasted your oatmeal in the oven with some seasonings?!!!) Did you ever freeze eggs? (You need to separate yolk from white and whisk them first, but it can be done!)
And tea bags, and shelf stable milk if you use it, or yogurt or even coffee!
In other simpler words, think about what you will want and need over this period. Buy the essentials, the ones that make you feel safe and supported so you don’t reach the point of having to choose between going hungry or eating food that is not good for you. But please don’t buy candles, body lotions, shampoo or even toothpaste that smells like food! These are guaranteed triggers!
And are there doctors or dentist appointments that need to be made? Make the appointments now, while you can schedule times that are convenient for you.
And please be sure to make time to vote!
And the ways we celebrate may need to change. Now is a really good time to look at your usual holiday traditions and schedule and decide what parts you want to keep and what parts you want to change, add, subtract, or evolve. What is important to you? What really matters? What gives you joy? Use the virus as the excuse to make these changes – “for this year only”. But who knows, you and others may really like the changes and want to keep them in the future.
Some people who have special foods at holidays are making them ahead and shipping them to those they love. Or leaving them on the porch for contact free pickup. Then they schedule the virtual family meal on Zoom and enjoy seeing each other. Because of the virus, it’s important to be careful, especially with the elderly and people with underlying conditions. It’s hard and hurts, I know. Find a way to make someone smile.
Improvise. Rethink the program.
Over the last thirty-four years, I have regularly been impressed with my clients’ ability to supply themselves with the wrong foods and to make that inconspicuous. This year, use that creativity to build a holiday most satisfying and safe for you and your family. Find the YouTube channel that brings your family the most laughter. Send the grandparents directions to programs they will enjoy and watch them together from your own homes. Then make a Zoom call to share what you enjoyed. Take lots of pictures and share them with the ones you love.
Your intentions, coupled with the season, can elevate it beyond the ordinary, limited, or expected. Make plans for this holiday season to be more special than ever before. Plan to enjoy. Create what can be enjoyed. Then be happy. Ninety days and it will be over. May they be precious for you.
Please comment on this post. Tell me what you need and what will help you. I want your feedback, concerns, questions, and suggestions.