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7 Holiday Survival Tips for Those With Parkinson's

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I used to dread Christmas — all the food, the drink, the festivities, the visiting, the visitors. The over-consumption and that feeling when you have to admit you couldn’t finish the delicious roast turkey your mother cooked because you’d demolished a rather large bar of chocolate before your meal. Why? Because you could! It was the holidays. All of this on top of Parkinson’s meant for a very uncomfortable holiday period. 

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Since I underwent deep brain stimulation surgery over 13 years ago, I can eat whenever I like without unwanted periods of feeling totally overwhelmed and unable to move, which is not good when it’s your turn to play charades!

My top tips for this holiday period are:

1. Be a guru of slow. Don’t feel obliged to eat and drink at the same speed as the rest of the guests. They will understand! 

2. Take time for yourself. The holiday period is hectic, so make sure you schedule your own downtime.

3. If you know you will be out drinking and partying for long periods, make sure you know how you are getting home. If need be, order a cab with a reputable firm who understand Parkinson’s and don’t think because you are unsteady or swaying that you’re drunk. If you can, prepay, so you will not be scrabbling about for change and trying to get out of the cab at the same time, which can end in disaster. 

4. Try not be grumpy or upset if you cannot do everything your friends are doing, as this will make your symptoms worse. For people with Parkinson’s this is extremely frustrating, but completely normal.

5. Strive to be happy. You will find if you smile when you are struggling people will empathize with you more and volunteer to help. The more approachable you can be the better your enjoyment will be, and this will have a positive effect on your wellness.

6. Be mindful that although you may have Parkinson’s, others may be uncomfortable too.

7. Above all, enjoy the holidays!  

Photo by Paola Chaaya on Unsplash

Originally published: December 19, 2019
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