As Black Friday approaches, eager shoppers will be lining up hours before stores open to score this year’s hottest deals. But perhaps the real quest will be to stay healthy, energized and awake on the day Americans are expected to spend at least $602 billion.
Below are tips to prepare your mind and body for the big day:
1. Don’t forget to eat
Even if you’re bundled up in your sleeping bag and lawn chair outside of Best Buy while last night’s turkey has yet to enter its second stage of digestion in your stomach, don’t forget to stay hydrated and fed before you maneuver through the crowds. If you can’t have a full meal, pack a snack, Samantha Cassetty, M.S., R.D., who is Good Housekeeping's nutrition director, told MSN. She pointed to a small 125-calorie serving of nuts or granola bars as good options.
"It's always a good hunger-busting strategy to combine protein and fiber," Cassetty said. "I'm always a fan of nonfat plain Greek yogurt because it has a lot of protein, so you get a lot of bang for your calorie buck."
2. Wear comfortable shoes
While this may seem obvious, it’s important to remember how crucial your feet are to giving you the support you need while trying to snag those doorbusters. Inappropriate footwear can lead to arch and heel pain or blisters, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association. “Choose shoes that have a lot of support and can keep you comfortably on your feet for as long as needed,” Keri Gans, a nutritionist from New York City, told U.S. News and World Report.
3. Layer up
Besides preparing for hours spent waiting outside, shoppers often forget the fluctuating temperatures as they hop from store to store, Dr. Lawrence Dell of Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital in Michigan told LiveScience. Some stores will pump up their air conditioning to compensate for the hordes of people cramming for deals. While this may prevent the spread of infectious diseases, it can get uncomfortable for Black Friday consumers.
4. Plan your route
Know which store you plan on tackling and factor in food court time, including what you’re going to order in case the healthy snacks don’t tide you over. "Know ahead of time what's in the mall and have a plan and visualize that plan so you actually follow through with it," Cassetty says. Gans suggests a slice of plain pizza, grilled chicken or turkey sandwiches and salads are your best bets to remain healthy during your shopping spree. She adds that picking a faraway parking spot (which may happen from necessity anyway) will also help maximize how many calories you burn after indulging in last night’s meal.
5. Make a budget
Shopping may be a physical workout, but Black Friday takes an emotional toll as well. To keep your stress at bay, it may be best to discuss how much you are willing to spend before you hit the stores.
"Openly discuss any financial limitations that may be occurring and how you might approach the holidays with this in mind," Scott Bea, a psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, told LiveScience, adding that Cyber Monday may be a better option for those who want to avoid large crowds.