De-Stressing Mission ShoppingPreparing for a mission is stressful, and I mean big-time stress. You go back and forth between studying Preach My Gospel (where do you even start? does it ever end?) and getting your paperwork together to trying to buy everything you could possibly need for an eighteen month period of time.
Like I said: big-time, major league, gargantuan stress.
The blessings far outweigh the pains, I can testify of that, and some days that's the only thing that can keep you going between trips to the store and picking the perfect profile picture to represent you for the next eighteen months of Facebook blackout.
Probably the most stressful of any preparation, at least for us sisters, is clothes shopping. So, from a fellow stressed-out ex-preparations expert and full-time stressed-out missionary, here are some tips on how to de-stress your clothes shopping adventures.
1. Research, research, research.
Before you shop, research! Take it from me, it's pretty hard to shop when you don't know if the weather's going to be a Russian winter or a California summer. Once you have your call, start researching. What's the average temperature? How much does it rain? Will people have air conditioning? Is it humid? In every call packet there should be information on what to pack that is mission-specific, and that's a great place to start. Check out blogs, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest boards, anything you can get your hands on. Even email people currently serving in your mission, if you can!
2. Fashion vs. Function
I know, I know. Those grandma clogs may be ugly as sin, but your mom keeps telling you over and over that you need to have comfortable clothes. Finding the perfect blend of fashion and function is nigh-impossible, but I promise that it can be done. Once you've done your research (and once you know your mode of transportation) you can get to work. If you're driving in southern California, you probably won't need those grandma clogs. If you're walking in the Himalayas, though, your body will be so grateful if you give your feet support.
What I will say is that you want to feel your best in the clothes that you wear. Stay within the guidelines the church has established, of course, but don't feel like you need to wear baggy sweatshirts and clogs every day. If you don't feel good about yourself, it will affect the work that you do and the way people feel about you. You need to do everything you can to have a positive day, and feeling good in your clothes is important to that.
Pinterest is a big deal. I still daydream about going on Pinterest and finding the perfect hairstyle inspiration or the cutest cardigan that I just have to have, but unfortunately Pinterest will be a thing of the past once you're a missionary. So, from sister to sister, print out those Pinspirations. Seriously. Hairstyles, ways to tie a scarf, cute outfits, anything that you think you might want around in three months when you're desperate for some fashion inspiration. And trust me, you will get desperate.
- no-show socks are the bread and butter of sister missionary fashion. Stock up.
- Bring more outfits than you are told to. 5-6 skirts and shirts get pretty old, pretty fast. I have double that and I still get bored!
- Accessorize! When you're a missionary, you get pretty keen on finding new ways to do old outfits. Necklaces and scarves are a big deal; so are cardigans (Sister Missionary Fashion has a ton that you should look into). Don't be afraid to bring more jewelry than you think you'll need. I've been more into jewelry than ever before in my life since I've become a missionary.
- Don't forget the basics, either. A black or white tee can go a long way when you mix and match with scarves, cardigans, necklaces, or belts.
- Check before you buy anything that it is machine washable. You won't have the time or money to get things dry-cleaned. P-day can be spent in better ways than picking things up from the dry cleaner's (or trying to figure out a way to dry-clean your clothes in the jungles of Brazil).
Most of all, don't stress! The clothes are important, yes, but not the most important part of being a missionary. You have the most wonderful opportunity to share the joy of the Gospel with individuals and families in a very special part of the world; focus on them, and everything else will fall into place. You will be blessed for your work!