7 Tips for Getting Through the Holidays with Parkinson’s

Nov 20, 2022

Living with Parkinson’s disease shouldn’t mean missing out on holiday family celebrations or spending time with cherished friends. Proper self-care and preparation can help you avoid stress and anxiety while truly enjoying the holiday season.

1. Value Your Needs

Old Asian Indian woman with Parkinson's Disease writing in journal during the holidays

It’s important to take care of yourself during this time and to honor your needs as someone with Parkinson’s. That might mean saying no to some invitations, delegating responsibilities, or taking a break from the hustle and bustle to rest.

Find someone you trust who you can talk to if you have any concerns about holiday plans. You don’t have to go through the holidays alone.

Work with your care partner to discuss what would make the holiday more enjoyable for you. Maybe it’s meal planning or transportation assistance. Of course, you want to join in the celebrations, but it’s important to realize and voice your needs, too.

Stay connected to the PD community at large via support groups as well. Check in on others living with PD. Sometimes a simple “how are you holding up?” question can go a long way.

The goal here is to be social but at your own pace and ability. Being around loved ones can do wonders for your mental health and spirit when done with proper care.

2. Adjust Your Mindset

Older gentlemen utilizing books and magazines during the holidays to cope with his Parkinson's Disease

Between travel, family visits, shopping, and a host of events, the holidays require a lot of energy from everyone! For those living with PD, it’s especially important to mentally prepare for elevated activity in November, December, and January.

Be mindful of the adjustments you’ll need to make to your schedule. By doing so, you won’t be blindsided by plans and get thrown off your routine, making things more difficult to deal with and recover.

Approaching the holidays with the proper mindset means you’re already a step ahead!

3. Keep Up with Medications

Man with Parkinson's taking medication before traveling

Ensure you have enough medication for holiday travels and unusually busy schedules. List and print out your medication schedule or use this fillable form. This will come in handy to share with your family, travel partner, transportation officials, and hospital personnel should an emergency happen.

4. Shop Smart

Man with Parkinson's Disease utilizing his phone to get shopping done during the holidays

Avoid the busy crowds, long lines, and physical strain of shopping for gifts in stores. By shopping online, you can avoid the crowds and the physical challenges of going to the store.

In addition, many retailers offer gift wrapping and delivery services, so you can have presents delivered right to your loved one’s door.

Likewise, purchase tickets for events in advance online. This way, you’ll avoid waiting in line and getting fatigued.

5. Keep Up Your Exercise Regimen

Middle age man with Parkinson's Disease training and stretching doing exercise at home looking at sport video on computer

Enjoying the holidays doesn’t mean you have to pause your exercise routines. If you’re having guests at your home to celebrate, make sure the whole gang knows your workout schedule. Chances are you’ll find some volunteers to join along!

If you’re traveling, think ahead of time about what part of your routine you’ll be able to do and what you’ll need to substitute.

Check out these great indoor and outdoor exercise options at home or on the road.

6. Practice Healthy Diet & Nutrition

Selection of healthy food that are great to eat for someone with Parkinson's Disease. Superfoods, various fruits and assorted berries, nuts and seeds

The temptation to indulge in rich food and drink can be hard to resist. However, it’s important to remember that what you eat can significantly impact your symptoms. A healthy diet can help to improve your energy levels, reduce fatigue, and improve your overall well-being.

As much as possible, keep to your healthy diet. Antioxidants like tree nuts pack easy for healthy snacks. Include fish for dinner or a side of brussels sprouts with the Thanksgiving turkey.

7. Get Ample Rest & Sleep

Man with Parkinson's Disease getting ample rest and sleep

Once the hustle and bustle of the holidays kick in, rest is usually the first to go by the wayside. However, ensuring your body is rested is important to your health routine.

Eating, sleeping, and taking medication revolve around our body’s rest time. Your body needs rest to repair itself, too. So include a few days of rest before your trip and avoid any activities the day before and after your arrival.

Navigate the Holidays with PCLA

If you need help getting through the holidays or learning about the resources available to you, connect with us at PCLA. You’ll meet others experienced with PD symptoms who can lend practical advice and connect you with professional care. You may also be the ray of sunshine someone else needs to meet along their journey.

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