Tips for Dealing with Holiday Stress
Sometimes, when living with a chronic illness like Parkinson’s, little things that used to bring us joy can cause distress as our disease advances. Oftentimes we silence that deep voice that tells us we have too much stress and need to slow down.
Why do we allow ourselves to get this way?
If you are like me you don’t want to let anyone down or perhaps you feel that if you don’t participate or take charge things might not get done. But, you just might be pleasantly surprised to find out that, if you let people know ahead of time what your capabilities are they might be willing to take over and let you rest. This was the case for me in preparing the Thanksgiving meal. My husband, daughter, and nephew prepared everything. It was delicious and after eating I went back to resting until I felt well again. Then I could join in the night’s activities, and I even had energy to play games.
Ways to treat stress
- Make time for yourself. You are no good to yourself or anyone else if you are anxious, irritable, cranky, moody, or energy-less. I like to sit in a quiet dark cool room with eyes shut and quiet my breathing and heart rate until I feel relaxed and serene. You can do it laying down, as I do, or siting. Do stretching exercises daily or simply go for a walk, as I like to do. When all else fails, a long nap does the trick. I find that sleep is as good as or better than medicine at restoring my energy, decreasing my mental fog, and improving my stiffness, and pain. If you have company or are traveling make time to rest and take care of yourself first. This includes taking your medicines on schedule, and eating properly at the right time. Get a facial massage or use a lemon to rub your head and neck to relieve stress to help with rigidity while the citrus smell will help sooth you as well.
- Don’t isolate yourself. Spend time with friends and family especially when you feel like being alone. Have at least one person to spend time with who will enrich your life during the holidays. Watch movies, bake and decorate cookies with a friend as I often do, or simply grab a cup of java with a friend.
- Move about. Find ways to release natural endorphins - when I am feeling blah and extra slow the best way to get going and lift my mood is singing. Even if I don’t feel like it I usually blast an upbeat song. Play something that makes you want to move even if you don’t feel like moving. Before you know it you are on your way to feeling much better. My song lately is Despacito (by Luis Fonsi and D.J) I can sing, dance, and get a work out all at once. Afterwards, I am a much better person to be around.
Happy Holidays everyone!
What do you do to relieve stress during the holidays?
Do you participate in a support group for PD?