The best shopping defense is a good shopping offense.

Holidays have crept up and in seemingly out of nowhere, which is ironic for something that happens at the same time literally every year. And with the encroaching festivities comes a load of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday shopping stresses that you definitely want to guard yourself against!

So what are you going to need to gift yourself before you go "stimulate the economy"?

Premium music streaming

A black woman in multicolored braids sings along to the tune in her headphones


If you're going to be shopping somewhere with a good wifi connection this season, you're going to want some background noise that isn't the same Christmas songs over and over. Services like Spotify, Pandora, and even the Vevo channels on YouTube offer ad-free listening now, and as someone that can't deal with interruptions when I'm in the groove, my paid streaming has been EVERYTHING. I suggest listening to PC gaming soundtracks that are engineered to keep folks focused on a screen, or tuning into a genre you like sung in a language you don't speak! Not only will you expand your horizons, your brain will stay activated in a pleasant way without being distracting. I can't be the only one that's shipped to the wrong address because I was too busy screeching my way through 'Let it Burn', right? Right?

Anti-glare products

Thankfully, you're probably not reading this on a screen that constantly flashes like the old-school box monitors did, but that doesn't mean we're meant to stare into light sources for hours at a time with no protection. If you're a Velma Dinkley type like me, there are anti-glare finishes for glasses that are worth the upcharge in the long run. But if you're not working with an auto-blur filter like I am, there are special appliques available for your screen that are really going to help you out. Bonus: some of these double as privacy screens, so you won't have to worry about anyone getting a sideways glance at their gifts!

Silky hair accessories

A golden-skinned model shows off the Ruby Sampson silk-lined rosette turban in plum

Hey, this one's right in our wheelhouse! There's nothing like the satisfaction you can get out of throwing your hair in a wrap, messy bun, or a headband when you don't want to do anything with it and still looking chic. Besides, when you look effortlessly good, you feel effortlessly good, and that's all the more energy you have to memorize everyone's sizes and allergies before you hit up the stores. But you do need to make sure your hair's still protected under there, and for that there's nothing better than satin and silk. Cotton and poly blends can catch on your hair shafts and soak up the moisture from your strands! Keep things smooth with properly lined offerings, and you'll be good to go.

Ergonomic essentials

People collapse for the same reason buildings collapse: lack of support. If you're not sitting properly for Cyber Monday, walking properly on Black Friday, and mousing properly on the weekend in between, you're setting yourself up for a world of pain. Fun fact: I have flat feet and scoliosis myself, and I actually used to work in an ergonomics store that I was able to get a lot of good insights as far as what I needed in tented keyboards and shoe inserts. And even though they stopped keeping the massage chair directly in the showroom, JOHN, The Human Solution still gets the April's extended family help legitimize the fact that I never stopped coming by headquarters after work to raid their snacks.

Sleep aids

Fresh chamomile flowers and two cups of chamomile tea

iStock/Constantinos Z

Here's a shocker: stress, especially spending and scheduling related stress, makes it hard to sleep. I don't advocate getting into the "hard stuff" unless you've spoken to a doctor, but when it comes to OTC remedies like a cup of chamomile tea, a Unisom style capsule, or "hippy-dippy" solutions like passionflower tinctures and valerian/melatonin blends, I can't say enough about part-time sleepy time assistance when it comes to helping you be your best beast-mode shopping self. Yes, even if valerian DOES smell like what you'd pick up after your dog if you fed her nothing but old cheese and feet. As long as you're doing your research before putting anything into your body, a good night's sleep is well worth it!

Hydration stations

Far be from me to say Caribbean parents are anything but gifts from heaven, but I swear I could be hit by a car (again, ugh) and Mommy's first reaction would be 'It's because you weren't drinking your water'. But as much as it might not be a direct cure for EVERYTHING, keeping hydrated IS a big boost for most conditions, especially temporary shopping induced fatigue. For me personally, living in central Texas, the chance of things freezing is considerably lower than other places, so I just keep a few coconut water packs, or some of my favorite maple nonsense in my shopping bags and my truck. For our curlies in places that get actual winter, keep a well sealed quality thermos on hand and sip sip sip!

"So April", you're saying, "how does it feel to be part of the corporate machine telling us to buy even BEFORE we buy?"

First of all, it doesn't feel as good as someone trying to criticize what I choose to write about paying my bills themselves, hint hint. But more importantly, I know that when you're high on holiday stimuli and low on building yourself up, it's easier to forget that the people behind the phone lines, chat screens, bazaar tables, and registers you're shopping and shipping with are just that. People. You need to be sure you're doing everything you can to ensure you're treating your fellow human beings kindly this season—especially if they're working in customer service. And that starts with treating yourself the right way.

What say you, Curlies? Do you have any other must-haves for shopping preparedness? Share your tips below—'tis the season!