5 Tips to Help a Parkinson’s Bad Day

As Parkies, we know that every day will be a guessing game as to how you will be feeling. You wake up in the morning and spin that wheel. What will it land on? Maybe rigidity, tremor, freezing… or… maybe you will hit the jackpot with slower than a geriatric slug on a salted snowed-in street. Although the guessing game can be fun, it can be a bit exhausting when you try to make plans. You never know how your Parkinson’s will behave. Furthermore, if you have a good day, you will not be able to recreate it. You could even groundhog that day by wearing the same outfit, eating the same foods and doing the same activities, but each day will still be different.

5 tips to get through a bad day

So what can you do when you’ve landed on a grueling day where everything seems to be challenging? Well you can follow my list of things you can do this very moment that can help when you have a Parkinson’s bad day.

  1. Be present with yourself: Sometimes just sitting in the moment, taking inventory of how your body feels, not to criticize, but just to be aware of how you’re feeling. Close your eyes and focus on deep breathes, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Parkinson’s can be scary, especially when it feels like you have lost control over your body. But slowing down your worrisome thoughts and focusing on breathing can help calm your body.
  2. Take your medications as directed: We have all been guilty of it. You forgot to take a dose of medication, or you can’t remember if you already took it. No judgment. It happens to the best of us… except for me, I’m perfect. Wink. Find ways to eliminate this possible issue that can worsen your symptoms. If you take your medications based on the clock… set a timer on your phone to go off each time you’re due for a dose. If you take your medications based on activities during your day, such as after breakfast, purchase a pill dispenser that you can fill once a week, so you can see if you have already devoured your meds. This will guarantee that you will stay ahead of the game and not let your Parkinson’s ruin your day.
  3. Do something that is only for you: We spend much of our lives doing things for others, whether that be household chores, grocery shopping or going to a friend’s party even though you're not feeling good. So today, I want you to do something just for you. Maybe a massage or hobbies that you enjoy, just make sure that it’s only about you. What’s my “only for me” something? I get a cup of my favorite fro-yo (frozen yogurt) and watch a movie on the couch with my dog Crash… makes my day better every time!
  4. Give yourself permission to have a bad day: It’s going to happen, you’re going to have a day that you just got out of the wrong side of bed. I don’t believe in giving up or just accepting that there is nothing you can do to change the situation. So take control and own it. Give yourself the okay dokey to not be perfect and recognize that you're just having a bad day. Maybe tomorrow will be better, but you aren’t going to beat yourself up about it… trust me, your Parkinson’s is doing enough of that, you don’t need to help.
  5. Exercise: One word that can help so many things… Exercise. I can’t emphasize this enough. Even if you’re having a bad day, find a safe, effective way to work that bad day out. You don’t have to throw on your leg warmers and head to the local gym to kill yourself in a step aerobics class. You just do what you can to move… there are ways to modify exercise to whatever level of mobility you’re at. You just have to start.

Stay positive: The sun will come out

Hopefully, these 5 things can brush the dark clouds away and help you get through a difficult day. But if that still doesn’t work, I can always put my Annie wig on and sing, “The sun will come out, Tomorrow, So ya gotta hang on, 'Til tomorrow, Come what may”…. at least you would laugh.

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