How much preparation is needed depends on how far away from clean, stocked, and up-for-fun you are when they call to say they are coming. It can be a challenge for people with busy schedules. It can be a challenge for people with arthritis, too. Living with chronic pain can make usual activities of daily living a challenge. Adding more to your already full plate can be overwhelming, unless you tackle the preparations without ignoring your own needs. I know what you're thinking. Easy to say, but hard to do. Here are 10 tips to help you get ready and still enjoy your company.
1 - Be Reasonable With What You Expect of Yourself
It is so easy to shift into overdrive when you hear company is coming. Your mind becomes consumed with what needs to be done and you tend to forget about your physical limitations. You must be realistic with what you expect of yourself. Although you would like for everything to be perfect when your company arrives, expect and accept that it may not be perfect.
2 - Prioritize What Needs to Be Done
Since your physical limitations may keep you from accomplishing everything you would like to before company arrives, make a to-do list and prioritize. By starting with what is most important, you will begin to relax as essential tasks are completed.
3 - Focus on Visible Areas and Rooms That Will Be Used
Your company will most likely use some rooms of your house and not others. They will socialize in the living area, use the guest bathroom, and if sleeping over, the guest bedroom. They likely will go into the kitchen and the play area, if there are kids playing. Make sure their areas are clean first (bedroom and bathroom), as well as common areas. Leave your bedroom and office areas until last because they likely won't go into your personal space.
4 - Pace Yourself and Limit the Time You Spend Cleaning
I assure you, if you don't set limits from the start, you will end up overdoing and having to deal with the consequences of overdoing. You must pace the time you will spend cleaning and getting ready, and have an absolute time chosen when you will stop each day. Know your limits and respect those limits. If setting a timer will help or having someone in your household remind you to stop -- make a plan and stick with it.
5 - Think About It -- Would Company Want You to Be Overwhelmed?
When you created your to-do list, did you keep it real and focus on essential tasks or did you plan to clean as though you were preparing for a white-glove inspection? If your to-do list sounds overwhelming as you read it -- it likely is overwhelming. Your company would not want you to feel overwhelmed.
6 - Preserve Enough of Yourself So You Can Enjoy the Visit
You may be tempted to push through the pain as you prepare for your company. You may be thinking that you haven't seen them for a long time and you can rest after they leave. But, if you overdo, you will not be able to enjoy the visit. You will be in pain, exhausted, and not feeling sociable when they arrive. Remember, your company wants to visit with you more than they want to see new shelf paper in your pantry.
7 - Don't Apologize
Have you accepted that your house won't be in A+ condition when your company arrives? Refrain from apologizing or feeling guilty. You have nothing that you need to explain. You know that you invested as much of yourself as possible into getting ready for your company. It's enough for you to realize that. An apology makes it seem as though you failed. Doing all that you can do is not failure.
8 - Going Forward Keep Your House Close to "Company-Ready"
Your visit with your company will be over at some point and they will leave. Whether you followed these tips or chose to ignore them, there will be a next time. It would be immensely helpful, going forward, if you kept your house somewhat close to company-ready. If your front living area is always kept tidy, the bathrooms are clean, hallways are free of clutter, and guest sheets are ready to be used -- you're halfway there and need little notice. In other words, live in ready-mode, as though someone may be coming at any given time.
9 - Go With the FlowLast minute plans -- whether it be "I'm coming" or "I'm cancelling" -- can throw you off track if you let it. Fact is, you really can't control what others do. You can only control your reaction. You will save yourself from a great deal of stress, if you decide to go with the flow. Even when you are given short notice, stick with your realistic expectations for yourself. That doesn't change, just because something changed for someone else.
10 - Learn to Say "No"
The preparations are done, your company has arrived, and it's time to plan some fun. Remember that you, and you alone, must look out for yourself. If you have to say out loud that you can't do something -- say it! As much as you would like to participate in everything that is being planned, there may be things you can't or shouldn't do. Say that you can't, and stand your ground with those who try to convince you otherwise. I remember going on an outing many years ago and being coaxed to get into a low row boat. I knew right away it was too low for me, considering my physical limitations from arthritis. But, I hadn't yet learned to say "no", when necessary. I tried it and had a very difficult time getting in and out, actually risking injury.
The Bottom Line
When you have company coming, don't lose sight of your own needs as you prepare to make your guests comfortable. The price you will pay for neglecting yourself is steep.