It's the Most Wonderful??? Time of the Year

The holidays are just around the corner. This time of year can be a wonderful time when families and friends join together in an atmosphere of love and sharing. It can also be a time when loneliness can be exasperated and stress significantly increased. This reality is true for all people, but for someone with a chronic illness like Parkinson’s, the impact can be much more pronounced.

The holidays have always been a favorite time of the year for me. Gathering with family, decorating my house, cooking delicious food; I loved it all. And I loved being able to create a magical time for my family. My house was decked out inside and out. Holidays treats were plentiful. Attending local holiday events was a must. Then PD entered my life. I held on for a number of years creating the holiday I had always so enjoyed, but slowly, it became more and more difficult to do. One of the first times I really started to notice the impact of deteriorating executive functioning skills was while trying to cook a holiday meal. I just couldn’t seem to get it together. What had always been a relatively easy activity and something I had done numerous times, became difficult and frustrating. The holidays were becoming something I dreaded. I simply could not maintain it all. But then something magical happened, I learned I didn’t need to. I realized that a stressed out, exhausted, unhappy wife, mother, grandmother, etc. was not what my family wanted or needed. They needed me to be happy and have fun with them. They cared far less about the house being decked out than I did. Holidays didn’t need to be elaborate, and really that’s not what the season was ever meant to be. It was supposed to be about being more loving, forgiving, charitable. Last year we put up a tree. That’s all. My grandkids decorated the tree with us at Thanksgiving. This meant that the bottom of the tree looked great, the top of the tree was bare. And it was wonderful, they had so much fun. I left it that way until Christmas Eve, it was a daily reminder of my grandkids and the fun time we had together.

It’s important to recognize what we can and cannot do. We do not do anyone any favors, including ourselves, if we are overly stressed. Stress and PD do not mix, we all know that. So what can we do to maintain the holiday traditions that are important to us and our families without creating additional stress and frustration? I believe that is something that will differ for everyone, but the article belong has some great suggestions. Happy Holidays!

Written by Cidney Donahoo

Parkinson's Place