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Thriving and Living Well With Parkinson's During These Stressful Times

Précis: Likely, your boss, manager, neighbor, or loved ones have sent you a list of things to do or survive better during the pandemic we all know well as COVID-19.

Writing this list is simple; People are angry, frustrated, and worried. A word that is percolating around the world of advice columns is "thrive," that is, in the presence of this heightened emotional state. How do we thrive in the current worldwide situation of COVID-19?

Yes, living through this pandemic is difficult, annoying, frightening, but most genuine. Likely, due to COVID-19 anxiety, you have experienced or witnessed this sort of human behavior over the past few months. So let's call it being rude or overly negative.

So why not someone with Parkinson's give a few suggestions about thriving and living well with Parkinson's during the pandemic? I am neither an expert on Parkinson's nor the topic of thriving under stressful conditions; however, I can offer a few things that might drown out the ever-present noise in today's world. Well, at least I can try. But first, what does thrive mean?

What does it mean?

Thrive: Psychologists who studied the science behind thrive discussed it as follows, "What it takes to thrive, rather than merely survive, could be as simple as feeling good about life and yourself and being good at something."1

Psychologists define thriving in the workplace as: "...a positive psychological state characterized by a joint sense of vitality and learning."2

A group of psychologists studied and reported on many aspects of what it takes to thrive in the workplace. Oxford Languages defines thrive as to prosper; flourish.2

Coping with negativity

These 10 suggestions help you deflect all of the negativity we hear today and rebound from the abundance of rudeness.

This pandemic affects every human on the planet; my offering here cannot begin to replace the tremendous losses of the past 2 years. But, hopefully, it can make people with Parkinson's, their care partners, and families regain strength in their wellness and be able to thrive with Parkinson's in the forefront along with the everpresent COVID-19.

Ultimately, this might help provide you with some sunshine (positive and healthful intentions) to blot away the dark gray clouds (pessimistic and gloomy feelings) fueled by the anxiety from the pandemic.

Stay positive

When you say something positive, your body hears those words and perks up. When you think about something positive, the brain reassures the body to grow stronger with that thought. Staying positive in mind and action provides the path to improved well-being.

Remain grateful

Be thankful for what you have, not what you need; be grateful for everyone you already know, not those on your hope-to-meet-one day-list.

Being grateful now replaces the bitterness from certain aspects of the current world; be happy for this moment, and your gratitude will strengthen everyone around you.

Be hopeful

The foundation for all these suggestions to thrive and live well is to remain hopeful. We will reverse the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of course, some things will revert to 2019, and we will re-start the world with time. But, by remaining hopeful, you begin to comfort some innate inner fear of illness, and you promote a healing process brought on by this fear.

Exercise helps

You already know about the benefits of exercise to reduce stress and, over time to slow progression in Parkinson's. In addition, we recently published a review article that suggested exercise can boost the protective effect of the immune system.

Therefore, do not stop exercising because you are helping defend yourself against Parkinson's, and it may help one resist COVID-19.3

Sleep enough for you

Sleep replenishes the brain. Regardless of the pandemic, get as much sleep as your Parkinson's allows.

Use your sheet and bed covering as a protective zone only to allow reassuring and healthy thoughts, hopefully improving your sleep time.

Stay connected

Care for those that matter. Remind those you care about the most that you are still thinking about them constantly, even in the absence of not being able to see everyone in person as often as you could.

Zoom cannot replace personal 1-on-1 interaction, but it works well to contact friends, loved ones, and distant family members.

A good diet helps

Keep eating a healthy and balanced diet. Do not overdo it, but a little chocolate boosts your immune system.4

Know what's happening

Keep informed by reading the newspaper, scanning the internet, or watching the news on television.

Stay up-to-date about local, state, national, and international travel guidelines because they are changing almost daily.

However, just not before you go to bed - no need to fan the anxiety switch then. It will be there in the morning when everything is a little better with that first cup of coffee, tea, or diet coke.

Prevent infection

Know your COVID-19 status. I believe it is important to keep yourself healthy by getting vaccinated with the booster. (I am a scientist. I believe in science; however, it has different levels of interpretations, which means it is rarely absolutely correct). Get tested; it matters.

Practice good COVID-19 avoidance. I plan to do this by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, washing my hands frequently with the appropriate anti-viral solution, and using good judgment when assessing interactions with people in public places and family members for gatherings.

Vitamin D3 may help. Vitamin D3 strengthens the immune system, and many people with Parkinson's are deficient in vitamin D3. We recently published a review article that suggested a small daily portion of vitamin D3 may positively influence one's response to Parkinson's and help prevent COVID-19 infection.5

Resilience will be an ally

Likely, we all know someone who has either been sick from COVID-19 or sadly died from it. The reality of the pandemic is startling. The isolation effect and lack of social contact alone have had a widespread negative impact on many Parkinson's communities.

Using your resilience to stay the course is an essential source of internal strength. Hopefully, each wave of COVID-19 will bring us closer to a new horizon of well-being where we all can thrive again.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The ParkinsonsDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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