Parkinson's and the Quarantine: Making the Most of Your Time at Home

If you are quarantined at home and cannot go out, that can be very frustrating and a huge disruption to daily living! If you have Parkinson’s disease and are home quarantined, you have even more hurdles, roadblocks, and inconveniences to deal with, as life has become more complicated.

9 ways to make the most of your time

The following is a list of challenges and suggestions for how we might deal with our time at home:

1. See opportunity

Don’t look at this time at home as drudgery or inconvenience but as an opportunity to improve your speech, read or listen to books, watch TED Talks, to exercise, and to strengthen our relationships with friends and family.

2. Discover new talents

Learning a new language, discovering how to draw, or taking up an instrument, are just a few creative, entertaining, and useful talents that can be helpful for cognition to boot.

3. Stay active

The couch is one of my favorite spots, but I force myself to stay active with online Rock Steady Boxing workouts, taking daily walks, trying to attend weekday online speech therapy with Samantha Elandary at Parkinson Voice Project (Facebook Live at 10 AM Central Time), and occasional Zoom gatherings with my friends from Rock Steady NOVA Boxing. All these activities either build up my body, my mind, my voice, or my demeanor.

4. Tackle a project

Parkinson’s disease can make organizing and prioritization a big challenge for those of us with this illness. Try taking this extra time, if you are able and willing, to restart, complete, or organize that project that you’ve been meaning to finish. Don’t be too hard on yourself! Be consistent. Try making a schedule that you think that you can stick to.

5. Laugh

Laugh at the smallest details that popup in your day. Laughter makes everything better! Laugh every day! Take the time to watch a funny video, listen to an old audio recording (WC Fields, Burns and Allen, Abbott & Costello, or one of your favorite comedians) or read something funny. Try to separate yourself from daily stress and let the comedy be a calming tool.

6. Express yourself

Share your thoughts and feelings with friends and family if you feel comfortable expressing yourself. Keeping a journal or just a voice recording may suffice to release your thoughts or frustrations.

7. Play games

Learn a new card game, try a new word game, discover a new dice game, or develop your own game that nobody else has thought up. Challenge yourself!

8. Doodle

I found that by practicing my handwriting and doodling on large sheets of paper, I have improved the legibility of my writing. With practice, I have been able to maintain steady control of a pen or pencil so that I can continue my love of doodling. The creativity of doodling and drawing has been a calming and pleasurable activity that I really treasure!

9. Be patient, focused, and kind to yourself!

This time together with our loved ones is precious and should be looked at as an opportunity! While we wash our hands, practice social distancing, stay vigilant about cleanliness, and wear coverage in public, we can reduce the chances for exposure to COVID-19. Keep your perspective and strength in these trying times. We’ll get through this! Staying active will help to make the most of this time and make it more enjoyable.

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