Little Ways to Make a Big Difference During the Holidays


The holidays are here! Gift shopping, cooking, cleaning, hosting friends and family, or traveling to see loved ones can feel overwhelming — especially when also navigating life with Parkinson’s disease (PD). And while many people are feeling fun and festive, others find it hard to feel cheerful during the holidays. No matter what this time of year looks like for you, please remember that APDA is here for you and we’ve got some tips that might help over the next couple of weeks when schedules are busy and things are a bit out of sorts.

  • Take care of yourself! Although it may seem obvious, an important thing to focus on is taking care of yourself. It is easy to get distracted, but this is not the time to miss medication doses, skimp on your exercise, or not get the rest you need.  
  • Keep moving. Exercise and movement can help you feel better. There are many online fitness classes you can join from anywhere, which is perfect for those who will be traveling for the holidays, or if wintery weather is keeping you inside. Many in-person exercise classes take a break this time of year, so virtual classes are a great way to keep moving if your local class is not meeting. If weather permits, try getting outside for a walk a few times.
  • Stick to the plan. When things get busy, it is easy to cancel or postpone doctor appointments, but you should stay on track with your medical follow-up and keep as many appointments as possible. Also, when your daily routine is different than usual, it has the potential to throw your medication schedule off track. Set reminders on your phone so you don’t miss a dose. You can also ask you’re your family/spouse to help you remember.
  • Keep better track. It can be hard to keep track of your symptoms when your regular routine is disrupted by holiday travel, guests, and stress. The APDA Symptom Tracker app can help you keep better track of tremors, rigidity, balance and other symptoms, and create an easy report you can give to your doctor! It also features a helpful interactive medication tracker. (Available in Spanish and English.)
  • Travel tips. When traveling by plane or train, be sure to keep medicine, contact information for your healthcare team, and even a cane in your carry-on bag or backpack. Checked luggage can get lost, and no one wants to be separated from their essentials in an unfamiliar place.
  • Take time for yourself. Whether you’re filled with cheer or feeling the holidays blues, the holiday season is a great time for a phone call to an old friend. Or if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, try to find some quiet alone time to read a book. It is important to find a little time for YOU.
  • Accept help. Sometimes it takes a village. And that’s ok. If friends or family offer help, say “yes” and give them something specific to do.
  • Find support. You don’t have to go it alone. APDA can help you find a support group near you, or if your local support group is on a holiday break, you can tap into an online community like Smart Patients — a discussion forum for people with PD and their loved ones where you can share advice and information.

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