Entertaining and MS Fatigue
It's no surprise that multiple sclerosis can affect your social life. The good news is that you can still entertain with the best of them. It just takes a little more planning. That's why we're offering simple tips and healthy ideas for party planning.
Countdown to your party
One month ahead
- Pick a date.
- Make sure it's well in advance, so you have ample time to spread out your planning.
- Think about what kind of party you want.
- A themed one? Dinner? Or if you're usually too tired by the end of the day, consider an afternoon open house or brunch. Entertaining doesn't have to be an elaborate dinner party. You can opt for something that's healthier and requires less work, like a movie night at home, a monthly book club, or game night.
- Create an invite list, then send out your invitations online. Sites like Evite.com make it easy. This lets you monitor who's coming, plan appropriately and send messages to your attendees.
- Make it potluck.
- If it's a dinner party, pick one item to make and have others bring the rest. It can be helpful to give people ideas of what to bring, so you don't end up with 10 Jell-O molds.
A couple of weeks ahead
- Get help.
- You may want to bring in a friend or hire someone to help with cleaning, serving and set-up. That way, you can enjoy your party more. Designate someone to be your "sous chef" in the kitchen. In other words, delegate.
- Outline the menu.
- Start developing the recipes. (If you're doing potluck, you may only have to do one dish.) Put an order in with your local supermarket, favorite restaurant or bakery.
- Plan your grocery list.
- Enlist help, if it's a big list. Or consider a grocery home delivery service, like PeaPod Online Grocery Delivery Service.
- Visit the grocery store or a superstore like Walmart or Costco.
- Do a first round of all your non-perishable items. Grab paper plates, cups and napkins. Also, prepare any dishes that can be frozen.
- Get your music ready.
- Pull out your favorite CDs or develop an online playlist to spin. You can also enlist a friend of yours to bring the music.
- Find a punch recipe.
- Instead of dealing with multiple drinks, offer punch. A good non-alcoholic option has diet soda (like ginger ale or lemon-lime soda) and light cranberry juice.
One week ahead
- Have the house cleaned or do it yourself. This keeps you from doing it the day of the party.
- Arrange the furniture as you'll want it for the party.
- To think about the flow, put away things that will be in the way and items that might get broken. And de-clutter.
Three days ahead
- If you can't hang things, have your family or friends help you do it.
- Place clean-up stations throughout the house.
- Put trash cans in strategic locations. Also, have club soda and a couple of rags handy in case of spills.
- Finish grocery shopping.
- Make your last visit to the store so you don't have to do it on the party day. Remember that you don't need to go homemade either. So many great dishes can be store-bought at the same cost, like guacamole.
- Keep your cool.
- Put a fan in the kitchen if heat exacerbates your MS.
- Set the mood.
- Lighting plays a huge role in your party. Low-wattage bulbs or candlelight will create the right mood.
- Take a nap.
- Make sure you get plenty of rest for the party.
- Don't starve yourself before the party. That deprives you of energy, which you'll need. Eat normally throughout the day.
- Have your sous chef come early.
- Your assistant can make last-minute runs to the store or offer another set of eyes to make sure everything is set up as you had planned.
- Don't forget presentation. Healthy items — like fruit and vegetable trays — are colorful and add beauty to the table.